Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


Alysa Salzberg's Links

JANUARY 31, 2013 9:21AM

She comes to me

At times like this, she comes to me,

the woman I could have been.

Somehow I know her only big question

would be about loneliness. 

While I have so many,

like belongings in a cheap, messy bag

I know she wouldn’t have,

like longish hairs onRead full post »

JANUARY 20, 2013 3:47PM

Left behind


When my brother Jason* left for film school, the usual things stayed back home: knick-knacks, books, papers, and photos accumulated over eighteen years of life.  Action figures and the occasional stuffed animal sat staring out windows, watching the year change for the first time without mRead full post »

JANUARY 17, 2013 9:07AM

Anti-gay Paris?


“So, I guess you weren’t at the protest this weekend,” my mother says over the phone.  “I couldn’t believe it,” she goes on.  “One of the people I work with told me there was a big protest march against gay marriage in Paris, and I thought, PRead full post »

JANUARY 14, 2013 4:40PM

Traveling with my family

It seems inevitable: Before any trip I take -- usually a few weeks or a few months before -– I have a moment where I suddenly get a panicked feeling.  “How am I going to do this?” I ask myself. 

How am I going to do this?, I thought when IRead full post »

JANUARY 9, 2013 6:35PM

A rabbit no more


Six and a half years ago, after a horrendous break-up and several obligatory months back in the US (for unrelated reasons), I returned to Paris.  Although I’d had time to think, it wasn’t enough.  I kept wondering what had happened to cause the end of that passionate relaRead full post »

DECEMBER 31, 2012 10:10AM

Thank you

I was going to do what I've been doing these recent turbulent weeks, and cross-post something here that I also published on Our Salon.  But I don't want to.

Something's really been bothering me lately. I've never been good at balancing things in my life. When one part takes my concentration,… Read full post »

DECEMBER 24, 2012 5:33PM

Lost: Two Magic Boxes


For the first ten years of my childhood, a vast treasure was stored in two boxes in the unfinished part of our basement. 

Though they were only made of cardboard with pretty motifs in red and white, the boxes seemed immense and imposing.  Even when I was in third grade,… Read full post »

DECEMBER 19, 2012 6:02PM

Life in the kingdom of the sky

There are many differences between the furnished vacation rental we’re staying in while our home is being renovated, and our own apartment.  One of the most striking is that this rental place is on the top floor.

Most buildings in Paris have only six or seven floors at most, and many… Read full post »

Hello out there....

I don't know who will read this, but I know that there are some people still coming to OS, despite the boycott by a majority of its regular contributors and the general problems with accessing the site.  I, myself, have always intended to continue blogging here, but I've… Read full post »

DECEMBER 3, 2012 9:10AM

This new place



La grande roue (image source

From our window in this new place, we can see the top half of the Grande Roue in the Jardin des Tuileries.  Far off, lit white every night, shining like an archway of diamonds or stars. 

I remember riding it with you, one nightRead full post »

NOVEMBER 22, 2012 11:46AM

My turkey trouble

I’m just going to put it out there: I hate Thanksgiving.

I don’t hate togetherness and giving thanks.  I just hate the food.

Unlike holidays like Halloween or Easter, where candy plays an important role, or Christmas, with its abundance of delicious meal possibilities, Thanksgiv… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 18, 2012 11:28AM

Last quiet night on the boulevard


Lying down, I wonder, Where is the usual stream of cars?  No trucks pause below the window, their hydraulics puffing and groaning at the stoplight.  There’s no misbegotten youth outside, yelling to each other, laughing, sometimes fighting.  It’s as if, tonight, they&Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 11, 2012 3:45PM

One Oser's vision

OSer Ingrid Ricks’ new memoir FOCUS starts out like a nightmare:  During a routine eye exam, she’s told the slight vision problems she’s been having might be more than just a side effect of getting older.  Another examination reveals that she has retinitis pigmentosaRead full post »

NOVEMBER 9, 2012 3:54PM

Please bear with me, OS pals!

Hi guys, I'm writing in a quick moment, just to apologize for not being on OS more, and reading and commenting on your posts.  Things in real life have gotten pretty much incessantly busy, in good and bad ways.  
Ali perfectly captures my exhaustion. 
Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 7, 2012 3:23AM

Obama made me cry

In general, I'm not a very political person.  No matter how important a subject it might be, politics usually doesn't interest me. Maybe if politicians dressed like Lady Gaga, or there were talking animals involved.
I think the main reason is, for many of the issues politicians speak abo… Read full post »
Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 1, 2012 2:19PM

A lively, lovely necropolis



People are often surprised when I suggest a cemetery as one of the things they should see in Paris.

Of course, Père Lachaise isn’t like most cemeteries.  Named for a Jesuit priest and confessor of Louis XIV who once owned the land, Père Lachaise opened i… Read full post »


They say if you love someone, set them free.  Growing up with two loving but controlling parents, often, to be set free was all I wanted.  I wanted out of obligations, I wanted to be able to go out of state for college, and out of the country to explore. Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 17, 2012 10:10AM

A time of wonder

My friend Ellen had a dollhouse that had been constructed for her by a family member.  Made of thin pine boards.  The carpets of the tiny rooms, I realize now, were mere green felt.  But what a thing it was, an elaborate maze of stairways and small spaces.  Even the dollsRead full post »

OCTOBER 12, 2012 11:30AM

Avenue Feuillant


- I’m coming to Paris!   I’ll stay with you, like we planned!  What's your address? 

My place is problematic. 

 - It doesn’t matter. I love you.  You don’t feel the same? 

 - I do. Okay: Avenue Feuillant. Read full post »

OCTOBER 9, 2012 11:58AM

Kicked while I'm down...and pantless


As you can imagine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome makes a lot of things difficult, from food choices and eating in restaurants, to getting to and from work, or, in extreme cases, even getting up the courage to leave the house.   But there are also so many little things that become… Read full post »

OCTOBER 7, 2012 9:09AM

My last meal (Firechick's OC)

The "last meal" is the kind of thing most of us have probably thought about at one time or another, perhaps while watching some prison drama or cooking show – or while enjoying some bliss-inducing, excellent food.

The thing is, I personally find myself getting too caught up in theRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2012 8:35AM

New Acquisitions

The people lingering in the garish hallways of the Drouot auction house seem suddenly to move faster as the time arrives. Middle-aged men in plaid shirts and sagging khakis, old women falling into ruin, stand -- or, if they can, sit -- just outside the door of Salle 14.

I… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 5:28AM

Names and Faces


This weekend, I tried to end something that’s been nagging at me for a while.  A small worry, a lingering regret.  A few years ago, I bought a 1920's-era photograph from an old woman at a neighborhood-wide garage sale.  The woman told me that the person in the picture was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 7:56AM

Tiger Moms


One day many years ago, my mother took my sister and me to the veterinary clinic where she was working.  Though she often let us visit her workplace (cats with tiny anesthesia masks on, kenneled dogs crazily barking, and the odor of benedyne pepper my childhood memories), this time was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 9:39AM

Closet fatigue

Over the past few days, the boyfriend has single-handedly built a wall-to-wall sliding-door storage closet in our living room. Banned from the construction site because of my clumsiness (and rightly so; yesterday, for example, while carrying my computer, I somehow slipped on our non-slippery floor, cRead full post »