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

JUNE 2, 2012 6:47PM

Set Design

There I was, in my blue dress printed with white flowers, the short flowing sleeves a bit reminiscent of fairy wings, the cinched waist that perhaps evoked a corset.  I hadn’t been sure about the length of the skirt, but it fell just right with the twenties-style black… Read full post »
donny montell
Lithuania's candidate, Donny Montell, sings "Love is Blind"...blindfolded.
When I first heard about the Eurovision Song Contest, an amicable competition in which each European country sends a musical act to represent it, I imagined an evening o… Read full post »
MAY 25, 2012 11:24AM


I had no students today, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been working.  On days like this, my company allows you to ask for one-time sessions with any clients who want to do extra hours or intensive courses. There aren’t always these kinds of teaching slots available,… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
MAY 23, 2012 7:06AM

ASH - All (kinds of) Stories Here

collected short stories vol 2
Last Friday, I wrote about the one-year blogoversary of the OS Weekend Fiction Club.  A few days later, I finished reading a book by one of its regulars.

Allen “Skipper” Howlett, known here on OS as ASH…, is a hard w… Read full post »
MAY 18, 2012 9:07AM

How long has this been going on?

I’m having a hard time believing it, but it’s been a year since I posted the first weekly writing prompt on the OS Weekend Fiction Club blog.

I’m not the person who came up with the idea of creating weekly fiction writing prompts here on OS. I have no idea… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
MAY 16, 2012 7:43AM

Should "bully" be in our vocabulary?

I’ve always found it intriguing that the French have no word for “bully” or “to bully”.  Not “bully” in the Teddy Roosevelt sense, 

but the ubiquitous &ld… Read full post »
MAY 11, 2012 11:05AM

Before Mother's Day

I didn’t think about the date when our friends Juliette and Arthur called to see if we wanted to get together. We met them in Montmartre last Sunday, a week from Mother’s Day, to stroll around and have a drink.

For most of the six years I’ve known… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
MAY 8, 2012 1:05PM

Out on a limb: An OS meet-up in Paris!

It’s always nice to read a post or get a PM from OSer Out on a limb, but the message I received from him a few months ago was especially cool: He and his family would be coming to Paris in early May, and he wanted to know if we… Read full post »
MAY 6, 2012 2:51PM

France has a new President!

f cool
François Hollande casting his (pretty important, considering how close the race was) vote. (image source
There are times when all of France fairly hums with enthusiasm, speculation, and hope.  Today was one of those days.

The seco… Read full post »
MAY 5, 2012 7:00AM


"Listen carefully," he said, "this won't be easy for you to hear".

“What is it, Dad?” 

“Your mother’s being held hostage.”

Most people might gasp or react in some alarmed way to this, but knowing my mother like I did, I wasn’t overly surprised, although I… Read full post »
APRIL 29, 2012 5:38PM

Open Call: Your ultimate love story



The other night, the boyfriend and I came upon a documentary about a group of French high schoolers who were selected to put on a performance of "Romeo and Juliet" in one of Paris' most prestigious theaters.

Hearing the play performed in French, I realized once again how much… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 26, 2012 1:40PM

Jay-Z, Kanye West, and the French Presidential Campaign

“So,” the boyfriend said, when the results were announced last Sunday night, “are you going to write about the first round of the elections on your blog?”

I told him I wouldn’t.  For one thing, politics really isn’t a subject that interes… Read full post »
APRIL 25, 2012 7:38PM

In New York

My boyfriend bought me the coat for Christmas two years ago.  Its military style and high collar are the embodiment of an aesthetic he loves.  As for me, I liked the coat’s length, and the fabric it’s made of, warm enough to wear in win… Read full post »
APRIL 23, 2012 1:46PM

What Does "Nationality" Really Mean?

What is “nationality”? It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. 

From the late nineteenth century, up to the mid-twentieth, my ancestors came to the United States.  For most of them, I imagine it was a decision inspired by the hope of a b… Read full post »
APRIL 19, 2012 1:06PM

Four Generations

At the Chinese restaurant,
we pose for a photo
positioned in a sort of pyramid.
i am at the bottom
my father leans over my left shoulder
and you are at the top, smiling broadly,
the last one of your generation.
your face a pale oval, like mine.
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 16, 2012 9:23AM

Bows, Arrows, and Historic Underwear

marche 1 
Like a good number of people involved in historical reenactments, my boyfriend has acquired some pretty impressive skills, such as Napoleonic-era wooden button creation, or early 19th century French army pants-  and-jacket-  making.  But there are some things/… Read full post »
APRIL 12, 2012 3:56PM


"Have a great vacation," friends and students said to me before I left for my recent visit to the U.S.  No matter how many times I heard it, I'd often find myself looking back at them in confusion. I never dared tell them that for me, this trip wasn't a… Read full post »
APRIL 9, 2012 10:09AM

A Grip-ping Visit

grip official
My recent trip to the US was a time to see family and old friends, a time to reconnect with my past, a time to eat food I've missed and go to places I love.  This time around, I figured it might also be the occasion to… Read full post »
APRIL 6, 2012 12:54PM

Flying Solo

At 4:15am on Wednesday, March 14, I woke up breathing hard, launched from dreams into a panic attack.

This isn’t particularly unusual for me.  But unlike the normal incomprehensible anxiety, this time the attack’s cause was very clear.  “You’ll be all right,”… Read full post »

APRIL 4, 2012 12:52PM

I got into the Clown Car

cranky book 
Like many of you reading this, I'm a big fan of OSer Cranky Cuss.  Not only do I enjoy his writing; having met him in person recently, I can attest that he's a genuinely witty, nice guy.
So when I heard he was publishing a book,… Read full post »
MARCH 16, 2012 1:02AM

Tonight's OS meet-up

As I exited the train and followed the crowd up the stairs and into the grimy, restaurant-packed underground halls of Penn Station, I realized something right away: since my last trip to New York two years ago, I may just have become a bit of a country bumpkin.  
MARCH 13, 2012 4:12PM

Two Loves


In 1930, Josephine Baker, one of my heroes, stepped onstage and sang, “J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris.” (“I have two loves: my country and Paris.”)  Parisians knew American and resident performer Baker exclusively for her exotic looks and frenetic/… Read full post »

As some of you know, the boyfriend is very involved in Napoleonic battle reconstitutions.  This past weekend, he and his fellow reenactors made their annual trek to Craonne, site of a battle in 1814 (and also nearly one hundred years later, during World War I).

I'm happy to say that, due… Read full post »

MARCH 7, 2012 10:29AM

Trouble at the Ranch


Usually when my sister sends me an email, it’s a link to something she thought was funny, or a picture of one her pets wearing some kind of costume.  Nothing prepared me for the troubling message I got yesterday. 

In the subject line, I read “Caboodle Ranch”.  … Read full post »

MARCH 5, 2012 6:50AM

Candace's Say 33

Yesterday, OSer Candace (aka Femme Forte) posted this fun OC.  It reminds me of the Proust Questionnaire, which I did this summer, but few of the questions are the same.  So, I decided to go for it. If you haven't yet, why not join in the fun?: 


1. Your main trait:&nbs/… Read full post »