1. I passed a milestone today on my book project – printing a draft
that is ready for others to read and give me feedback. It’s 266 pages long.
Bound copies just like mine will go next week from Chicago to several “beta
readers”, who will have three weeks to read it and then provide notes on
where it needs work. Many thanks to Jean for being my first reader and
giving me such useful notes and suggestions. Thanks now to the next
readers, for volunteering to do the same. And huge thanks to Debra Snider
for all her advice, as an experienced author who has been through this
before. My goal is to have it to my publisher by the time I leave Paris in
late June, having used readers’ input to make it better.
2. In addition to writing five mornings a week and doing strategic
thinking while Jean was reading my earlier drafts, we’ve been having some
fun in the afternoons, evenings and on weekends. We took the “Chunnel”
train to London for a long weekend. Then we went to Strasbourg, France to
meet up for a day with my post-college roommate from Germany, Wolfgang
Guggenberger, who has become quite a well-known trumpet teacher in Germany.
In Paris, we’ve continued to find new delights. We finally made it out to
La Defense to see all the tall corporate headquarters and the giant modern
arch there. Balzac said, “Paris is an ocean. Explore it, and you still
won’t know its depths.” So true.
3. Our good friends Shelley and David were here for a week, which
included a 3-day train and car trip out to the moving Normandy beaches and
the magical Mont Saint Michel. We had a terrific time all week (after
mornings of writing and thinking, of course, for me). Other visitors lately
have included two 20-something-year-old friends of friends, who were fun to
have around for a few days. Such energy, to stay out until 4:00 a.m. and
then leave for the airport at 6:00 a.m. Ah, youth!
4. Our son Joe and his fiancé, Jessica, are coming tomorrow for a week.
We are really looking forward to their stay and sharing some of Paris with
them. From here until we fly home in late June, we have nearly non-stop
visitors. It will be fun to see Paris through others’ varied eyes again. As
Jean says, “We learn something new about Paris from each visitor we host.”
5. Strategy thinking here has included doing some research around
external factors that may influence Reading In Motion’s future. These
include: the new Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, and what her past
might tell us about her future actions in her powerful new national
position; digital developments in education; new competitors or potential
partners in student learning and teacher professional development; and
growth rates of the Spanish-speaking population in the US. I may write a
blog or two about some of these topics later, to congeal my thoughts
6. I’ve also been reading an interesting book Wolfgang recommended,
called Doing Good Better, about effective philanthropy. It includes the
concept of “Well-being Adjusted Life Years”, or WALYs, as a way to answer a
key question when considering where to focus one’s time and resources, if
we are trying to improve the world. That question is, “How many people
benefit, and by how much?” I may need to write a future blog on this, also.
7. Jean and I have found ourselves drifting into thoughts and
coffeeshop conversations together about our coming re-entry into our “real
lives” back home. Two more months suddenly feels like two more days. We are
excited to think about home and seeing all our friends and family again,
but wistful about leaving our beloved Paris and the lifestyle we have
enjoyed here. I’m sure I’ll have more to write about that as the day
That’s “all the news that fits” for the moment. Looks like I’ve got future
blog topics galore, so I’ll leave you with the promise to be back in blog
On sabbatical in Paris!