Paris in the Fall

Sometimes I write to you about some very tough subjects, and in some ways, this hasn’t been an easy year. I wrote to you about losing my stepmother Kuniko (and so many of you wrote me such wonderful letters, thank you soooo much!!), and the loss of my son’s best friend. Tough subjects, hard losses. But the wonderful thing about life is that it is so varied. Hard things happen, and then life eases up and you have some great times. After a tough spring, I had an absolutely wonderful time on vacation with my kids this summer, maybe the best summer we’ve ever had. And after the hard times, you really cherish the happy ones. I had such a good time with my kids this summer that I was afraid I would be really sad when they left to go back to their cities. I always am, and wish we lived in the same city!!

So after everyone got settled back in school, and their own cities, I went to New York to celebrate my daughter Victoria’s birthday with her. I had a ball! My children were wonderful to me and included me in what they were doing. I spent an evening with them and their friends, and had some very interesting conversations (I forget sometimes how grown up they all are now, and what good company they are!!). We had a great time at Victoria’s apartment on her birthday too, and went to a nightclub afterwards and I tagged along. Three of my daughters were there, and I had a terrific weekend in New York.

After that I flew to Paris, and braced myself to be really lonely. And to try and avoid getting down in the dumps without my kids, I planned some fun events with friends in Paris. I thought it would be a quiet few weeks—and instead I had a ball. I invited friends to brunch, gave a lunch at a restaurant for my favorite women friends, and invited some friends to dinner at a restaurant. And other friends invited me out to dinner. And the next thing I knew, I was busy every day, seeing friends, having fun, enjoying the last of the warm days in Paris, puttering around my apartment and moving things around. I was amazed at how much fun I had—-and the best fun of all was a party I gave that was an experiment that worked out better than expected!

In July, I met a friend for a drink (in my case, water) at a hotel lobby and there was a pianist playing songs from the 60’s and 70’s, with a violinist accompanying him. Listening to him made me want to dance, and as I left, I asked the pianist if he ever played in private homes, he said he did, and I booked him to come and play at my apartment in September. As the day approached, I got nervous about it, figuring that it might seem silly to my friends, no one would want to dance, and it was starting to feel like a really dumb idea. What had I gotten myself into? But what the hell, when I got home to Paris, I shoved the dining table against one wall, everything else against another, took all the chairs out of the room, which left a nice space for dancing. I had invited 25 friends for a casual buffet dinner, told them to wear jeans, I wanted it to be an easy going evening, nothing stuffy or formal. Everyone arrived, looking curious about what the evening would be like. And the pianist I had hired arrived with 5 musicians and a singer. And the next thing I knew we were all dancing and singing—it wasn’t glamorous or even very sexy, it was just terrific fun, and EVERYONE danced. People I didn’t even know liked to dance wound up dancing all night. We danced to Stevie Wonder, Abba, all the songs we grew up with and really felt like kids again. We danced until 1:30 in the morning, and I haven’t had so much fun in years! It was fantastic, and I can’t wait to do it again! What a wonderful balance to all the serious grown up things we deal with. I love to dance, it was a really terrific fun evening and when they played ‘Dancing Queen’—-that was me!!! I LOVED IT!!! I had a wonderful evening and a ball in Paris this September…and now, back to real life in San Francisco. It’s time to start writing again….but I want to have my friends over to dance again soon!!

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12 Comments so far
  1. Joann October 25, 2009 1:26 pm

    What a wonderful idea. Sounds like everyone had a great time, especially you. You go girl! Enjoy. Live, Love and Laugh~

  2. Nicole October 27, 2009 3:28 am

    Sounds like you had a blast, good for you! Now do it more often, holidays are round the corner. Actually with the economic times being what they are, the evening you created is a much better way of getting friends together, people feel more comfortable.

  3. marilyn cowart October 27, 2009 6:12 am

    i just purchased your southern lights and it has been a mess on page 88 it goes 201 and then it skips to 169 to 169 it has two or three of the same chapters i got my husband to look and he could not make any sence of it either now i am showing it to my sister and she says the same about it just wondering if it is my book i got or if all are like this one thanks marilyn cowart

  4. Eve Paludan October 27, 2009 11:41 am

    What a fabulous idea for a party! Glad it was fun!

  5. Tamy Corrêa October 28, 2009 8:52 am

    Olá Dani,

    Você é uma mulher muito iluminada por Deus.
    Que Deus abençoe os seus caminhos e lance fora toda preocupação e tristezas.

    Grande beijo

    Tamy | Brasil

  6. Jeanine Gaynor-Lopez October 28, 2009 3:34 pm

    Dearest Ms. Steel
    Since my early 20’s (First book season of passion) I have been intriged by the wonderful mothers who you have created in books. I am a mother of an Autistic son. Who is my labor of love. He doesn’t speek, he is seven still poops in diapers, has horrible tantrums because of language barriers that lead to seisures.jumps around all the time and shankes his hands in front of his face for self stimulation all day long. how ever he is the most beautiful Gift that god ever intrusted me with. I am a lucky woman I have 3 children and 2 stepchildren (whom I adore) and a husband that loves me more every day. But there are some woman that don’t have husbands and that loose theres to autism cause there week and can’t handle life imperfections. They need a book to give them hope that love it out there. I have so many mothers that are so lonely in my support group. They date but as soon as they get a look at there sons and the baggage that come with thwm the run. I know you can write this book. I hope so I know Johny Angel helped my best friend on the loss of her son 2 days befor his senior grad. (HE was Johny )the story was so close and it got her through a terrible ordeal. so I thankyou for writing that book. Please I hope you concider writing a book for the wonderful mothers that have a special needs child. who lost love , but somewhere out there they’ll find it again.
    forever greatful
    Jeanie Lopez
    Palm Beach, FLorida

  7. Tammy October 28, 2009 3:43 pm

    It’s so great to hear about you enjoying life to the fullest. I have been reading your books for years and I can only imagine the amount of hard work and research goes into each one. I polish them off in one sitting.. I am never able to put them down once I start. I grab them off the shelves in hardcover and run home. My family knows when they see me with a DS book that I am committed to it till it’s done. I am always sad when I finish one because I know I have a while to wait for the next to come along. I have read all 100 proudly and I am starting some of the early ones over again. I learn something new which each book and though I have never traveled abroad I somehow think I would know Paris if I got there… you have such a wonderful ability to make your readers feel like they are in the setting of your stories. I feel well traveled just from reading your books and I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough for me to start sharing my library with her. I am sure she will be a loyal reader too!

    Best wishes for a truly joyful holiday season with your family!

  8. kulsum October 29, 2009 1:09 am


    sometimes I wonder how you really add all this up into a well organised life. It is fun and it really inspires me.

    Keep up the spirit of sharing. You are so different!

  9. Shalini Saigal Taneja October 29, 2009 1:48 am

    Sounds like great fun!!

  10. Bettye Thomas October 30, 2009 11:00 am

    Hey Danielle. I am a little late catching up on reading your blog, but I just had to comment on your great party and everyone dancing to the old music. What a great idea you had, and I am sure your friends had a wonderful time. They probably, too, enjoyed the memories of times gone by listening to the old music. Thanks for all your interesting stories. I enjoy every one of them.

  11. Avanti October 31, 2009 5:21 pm

    Danielle, Here is another powerful message that I found on a spiritual website. It’s leaves a powerful message and I really wanted to share it with you.

    The Fence

    There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

  12. Maria Llerena November 10, 2009 7:46 pm

    Mrs. Steel God Bless you I am so happy you did that. I am from mexican family and we have a barbecue and bring out the spanish and american cds and we dance outside or in the basement or even in the garage. Its good to dance and feel good about doing it.
    Mucha Suerte y Dios La Bendiga,
    Su Amiga, Mari