Janet Sumner Johnson
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France

Lost in the Louvre

May

27, 2011 |

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You simply cannot visit Paris without stopping at the Louvre. That would be a travesty!


So of course we did. And being the world’s most famous museum (so say the French) with claims to being the largest there is a lot to see. So much, that it’s impossible to do it all in one day.

You can follow the crowds to go see its most famous painting.

Yes, that is the Mona Lisa back there . . . if you look hard enough past the crowds.

You can see crown jewels and fun swords (though the plaques say the jewels aren’t real on many of them anymore).

You can see rows upon rows of mummies.

And Sphinxes . . .

But if you aren’t careful, you can easily get lost.

Which is what happened to us. And those exit signs? They really weren’t very helpful. (I have to wonder if someone wasn’t having some fun when they posted them because we walked the same Egyptian circle at least three times. For real.)

Anywho . . . I think that the blogosphere can be a lot like the Louvre. So many great sites out there.

You can follow the crowds and find some very useful and fun ones (Adventures in Children’s Publishing, Elana Johnson’s, Jen Daiker at Unedited).

If you search a little harder, you can find some real jewels (Lenny’s World, Seeing Creative, Whole Latte Life).

Then there are those crazy bloggers that hold our fascination like the mummies (Carrie Harris, Chris Philips, Creepy Query Girl, Rambles and Randomness).

And in the crazy-big world that is the blogosphere, it’s easy to get a little lost.

But with a little luck, you’ll have made some great bloggy friends along the way. And somehow, getting lost isn’t so bad when you’ve got them for company (NTM, aka Leigh from That’s Write, Amy at The Green Bathtub, and so many others I can’t list you all. Sorry! Don’t hate me.)

So what blog and/or blogger would you want to get lost with? Share your favorites!

P.S. With Memorial Day, I won’t be around on Monday. Have a great weekend!

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Perseverence Pays Off

May

04, 2011 |

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The Arc de Triomphe is another signature site of Paris.

This monument was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to honor his great victories as a general. He had proclaimed himself Emperor in 1804, and he was revered by the people for basically bringing greatness back to France after the horrors of the Revolution.

Construction began in 1809, and before it was finished, Napoleon was forced to abdicate (1814) by the French generals, and was banished from France not once, but twice (first to Elba, then to St. Helena after attempting a comeback).

Now you would think that given the circumstances, the French might have decided not to finish the monument, or at the very least dedicate it to someone else, but no. When construction was completed 19 years (19 years!!!) after Napoleon’s death, they had his body exhumed from his grave in St. Helena and paraded under the Arc on the way to its final resting place in the chapel of the Hotel des Invalides.

Turns out that many French people still saw him as a hero, despite his downfall. And in fact, the epitaph on his tombstone simply says “Here lies . . . ” because they couldn’t agree with the British about what to call him: hero vs. tyrant?

So, if you aren’t yet bored to tears over another history lesson, here is my writing analogy . . . so many to choose from with Napoleon.

But I choose to focus on perseverence.The French saw the building of the Arc de Triomphe to the end despite the obstacles they faced. Surely there must have been a moment where they questioned whether or not the monument to a leader fallen from grace was worth the resources it was taking. But they moved forward, and their work is beautiful. It is universally admired.

As writers, we too will face obstacles. We will find numerous reasons to quit and wash our hands of this tyrant that binds us down. But if we quit, we’ll never know the works we might have produced. The influence we might have had over countless others. I imagine that other European nations mocked the French for their folly, but not anymore.

So finish those Arcs! Fight the good fight! And never give up! (And I do believe that this was basically Napoleon’s philosophy, too.) 😉

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Extreme Parallel Parking

May

02, 2011 |

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You knew it had to come up . . . but darned if I didn’t see even one personalized plate in France. Yeah, I think that’s just not done there. Probably because the French spend all their energy learning to park in impossible places:

Why bother thinking up a creative 8-letter (or whatever it is in France) commentary about yourself when no one will be able to see the plate half the time anyway?

Actually, I’m wondering if personalized plates are an exclusively American thing. I’d love it if all of you who live in other countries would confirm or correct my opinion. (Please!)

Anywho . . . since there are more than enough creative plates here in Virginia to make up for it, I’ve decided on a compromise. Here’s how it will work:

Good, yes? Because I have to say that I’m sacrificing a lot by sharing my limited supply of Lion bars with you. You can’t get these in the U.S., and they are SUPER yummy!

So on to the important stuff. I saw this car parked at the grocery story, and I was grinning the whole time I was there. You may laugh, but as a children’s writer, I’m trying to take lessons from my audience. We should all let something so simple make us happy.

And, the license plate du jour:

REDZMZM

On your mark. Get set. Guess!

P.S. If you haven’t voted in the latest This vs. That, please head on over before I tally the results. 🙂

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