Day 10: Letter to a friend So, friend: I hope it pleases you to hear, if you can be pleased with me, that I continue to enjoy my time here. Two fun meetings, and a close encounter of the strange kind. At Lynn's birthday brunch, British painter Richard B. spoke to me about his art, which ranges from oils to watercolors to lithographs; he even took a brief detour into sculpting. Today we met at The Select and spoke about the possibility of a book, to be published by Parvati Press. You know I'm ambitious. I want to grow the Press: quality fiction and art books being two genres whose authors I'd love to add. Richard is a lovely, thoughtful man who's been making art for decades. He has something to say about art and life and love--you know, the good stuff. He was taken aback by my forthrightness when I told him he had to write a book for my Press, and then I outlined for him how to do it. "I don't think I've ever been bossed around so thoroughly," he said, in a genteel tone of amazement. "You're getting the benefit of my reinventing the wheel repeatedly," I told him. "Try it; it works." "You Americans," he said, shaking his head. "In France, we say this about you. We say, 'Why?' But you Americans say, 'Why not?'" He shook his head again. "What do you think is the benefit of all that self confidence of yours?" "I'm not self-confident about everything," I pointed out. "Just what I've spent years learning, and blood, sweat, and tears making my own. Then, yes, it has benefits. It makes me willing to take risks. In America we say, 'You can't hit the ball if you don't swing the bat.' So why not?" But I don't think you like my willingness to take risks, do you? My willingness to follow the energy? I can't help but wonder if that's what put you in such a regrettably snarky mood, before I left. Regrettable for me, anyway. You seem quite comfortable with your sadism. Anyway, of course there is no trip anywhere without encountering some handsome friend of the Wayward Countess. She had sent ahead an introduction, and I met Gaƫl, a sweet young soul--a fellow Leo--with the cool head of an accountant and the poignant depth of a mystic. Our conversation covered topics from real estate products in Paris offered by HSBC to the paranormal. Interestingly, Richard was also a Leo. I guess today was my day for encounters with other lions. The pride was on the move.... It would be a trifecta if Francois is a Leo. He certainly isn't what I expected, when he made himself known to me at the Fontaine St. Michel. But more about that tomorrow.