As can be gleaned from the title, this book is designed as a guide to writers with Paris as the creative inspiration. Why Paris you might ask? As Maisel points out, Paris has long served as the symbolic home for creative people everywhere, serving as inspiration to countless artists and writers.
This is not however a cheesy self help guide, instead it is a practical and encouraging guide to anyone who’s ever dreamt of being a writer. It is written in the form of 50 essays with witty sayings and interspersed with clever vignettes and anecdotes. It is designed to be an inspirational guide to writers, and is written with a deft and affirmative hand. Maisel doesn’t bludgeon his readers over the head with his lessons, but instead leads, or should I say write by example. Inspirational writing aside however, he has included practical details in planning a trip to Paris. It is all very well and good to dream about writing in Paris, but without the practical details like finding tickets and lodging, a trip to Paris wouldn’t be possible.
Aside from the art of writing itself, Paris is very much in the spotlight (as the title suggests). There are beautiful little chapters on Place des Vosges and the Musee d’Orsay and even the little church of St. Julien le Pauvre, all with the end view of making these places inspire the creative spirit. Who after all, wouldn’t be inspired when you are sitting there and absorbing the ambiance of these wonderful places? And if these places are not enough, Maisel suggests learning the art of the strolling about while soaking up everything. For this reason alone, Paris is the perfect place to stroll as every street corner and building is enough to inspire creativity.
A consistent theme of this book is that every writer must put in the necessary work inorder for the writing to succeed. More than being inspired to write, the would be writer must be prepared for long hours of sitting alone and writing. Just like with every other endeavor, consistency is key to writing, especially if it is not going well. This is a worthy message that sadly doesn’t get emphasized often enough in our culture of immediate gratification.
For anybody with writing aspirations or lovers of the City of Lights, this is the perfect little book to read.