To Be Black, American, Female and ‘Un-Invisible’: A Brief Paris Memoir


As I prepare to hit the road again (hopefully not literally, should I get punked into taking those ski lessons on Le Massif), my thoughts turn to a travel memoir that I penned while unreeling memories of my first trip to France. For now I’m a bit smitten with the vestiges of New France. Besides, I desire to put the finishing touches on my novella “The Counterfeit Princesse,” so Old France will have to wait.

[An aside: People really need to stop referring to Quebec province as “France in America” — especially labeling Quebec City and le Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal) as Aix-en-Provence and Paris, respectively. French Canadian language and culture are uniquely *douce*. Well, not always sweet. Don’t think that with Quebecers dousing everything in maple syrup (sucre–accent on the “e”–not douce), they can’t go off the deep end. Piss off a Quebecois driver, and his road rage might be laden with blasphemy in the form of Catholic saints rather than effin’-dees and -daat.]

So here’s my effin’ travel essay, first published in 2010: “To Be Black, American, Female and ‘Un-Invisible’: A Brief Paris Memoir.” Yeah, ya *see* me now?

Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah Blog

Eiffel Tower and Sky

I could’ve titled this essay “The Dark Side of Paris,” but I’m no Jackie Collins, and despite my penchant for black eyeliner, I’m not a whore.  This isn’t meant to be any kind of travelogue.  The tone of this memoir starts off on a bitter note because I decided impulsively to see Paris after the life of someone close to me ended.  And, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, spiteful colleagues sent me on my way, not with a “Bon voyage!” but with mean-spirited comments about how nervous and lonely I would be, how I “should’ve waited until you landed a boyfriend first,” and with questions concerning why I would “want to go there anyway.”

These colleagues, all of them White and female, had just returned from leisurely vacations in various European countries.  Those misguidedly envious women couldn’t have been more off-target because not one of them could ever know what it was, and…

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