This past US holiday of Thanksgiving, I journeyed to Paris. I’ve never been away from my family of origin for the holidays, but my siblings decided to make Christmas our main gathering time this year. Instead of staying home and doing something less than inspired, I asked myself what would be the most fun thing I could do for the holiday. The answer was clear. Go to Paris.
I love Paris. There’s a magic there, a beauty both grandiose and simple if you pay attention. Of course, the food boggles this chef’s mind, and I savored many of their finest delicacies.
But there was a reckoning as well, one I had planted the seeds some time past. A number of years ago, I was headed to Paris and working on my first novel, Nora Roberts Land. I was in the process of trying to be published, so I brought the manuscript to a magical location once frequented by great authors like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald: Brasserie Lipp. With reverence, I rested my manuscript on the table, and at times during a break in courses, I would read from the novel to my companion. And dreamed about being published. I noticed an empty table in a prime location in the restaurant, and my heart told me it was Hemingway’s table.
When I asked the maître d about the table, he confirmed my feeling. I told him about my novel and asked if we could sit at that table for dessert. He said it was reserved for special guests only, but that when I got published, I could sit at Hemingway’s table for a drink.
On this trip, a cool Friday night, I dressed to the nines and headed out with my companion to Brasserie Lipp carrying my newest novel. I’ve published thirteen titles including NORA ROBERTS LAND, and it wasn’t hard to see how far I’d come as a writer since I’d crossed the hallowed threshold of this special place a while back.
When I asked to see the maitre d, he was kind to me. Of course, he didn’t remember our conversation, but he immediately showed us to Hemingway’s table after hearing my story and seeing the published book in my hands. We had champagne and toasted how far I’ve come. I smiled from ear-to-ear. I cried too, thinking about all of the challenges I had surmounted to reach this beautiful moment. And I was in awe too because I could feel Hemingway’s spirit shining down on another writer who’s picked up the magical mantle of words. Even better, when we asked about having dinner, the maître d said we didn’t have to move anywhere. We could eat at Hemingway’s table. Talk about abundance.
Happiness is doing things differently. Big time.
Doing things differently has led me to nearly every wonderful change in my life. This trip was no exception. And it confirmed the other thing I have learned, which was hard to overcome as a young woman: Ask for what you want. Always.
You might just be surprised by how easily you get it.