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  • Writer's pictureLogan Rose

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Lately, I've been working on a novel.

It’s funny that writing a book called, “How to Kill Yourself and Make It Look Like an Accident,” has actually led me closer to the life of my dreams.

It should go without saying that I started writing my novel at a low point, but committing to the process of creating it has brought me to one of the highest points in my life. I really feel like I was able to get all my darkest impulses on the page – with humor to boot. As a result, my life has been brighter.

Since December of last year, I have been living the life I imagined for myself; a life of, “traveling around the world and making art.”

I haven’t posted since late January, so I’ll just give you the lowdown of what I’ve been doing – and share some profound moments that impacted me.

Apologies for the repetition, but I’m going to start back in December.

Ottolenghi, in Real Life

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that my partner, Sam, and I, have spent a lot of time trying recipes from the English chef, Yotam Ottolenghi.

In December (and again in January), we got to try two of Ottolenghi’s famous London restaurants.

First, we sat family-style at the Ottolenghi deli in Islington, then we took Sam’s parents to a private table at ROVI as a way to thank them for hosting us.

At the deli, we ordered a really amazing smoked eggplant dish garnished with pomegranate seeds, along with a fish dish and some pork belly. The unique flavors of the eggplant made it our favorite plate, and the fish and pork belly surprised us because the fish ended up being super savory, and the pork belly tasted light and fresh due to the citrus it was cooked with.

At Rovi, the restaurant focuses on fermentation, so the dishes we tried had some really interesting flavors but none stood out as the star. Ottolenghi definitely has a way with veggies, though, and I can’t wait to try more of his vegetable recipes when we get settled again.

Hopefully we can prepare them as well as the professional chefs (probably not, but still).

Okay, now I’m going to skip ahead to my time in France – but if you want to know more about what I got up to in December and January, you can always check out these blogs about my time in the U.K.:

And these blogs about my time in the magical city of Naples:

Paris, Je T’aime

After about a week of solo travel in Naples, I met my friend Riemer for a weekend in Paris.

Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I love exploring new parts of it with every visit. I also love sharing the city with my friends, and Riemer had never visited properly.

We also hadn’t seen each other in person for about three years, so it was a really special trip.

Riemer arrived via bus at about six in the morning, and I woke up early to meet him.

He dropped his stuff at our hostel (I checked in the previous night), and we started wandering through the dark city streets towards the Latin Quarter. Of course, we stopped to watch the sun rise over the Pantheon along the way.

As the sun finished its ascent, we found a café behind a market and settled in for a petit déjeuner of croissants, bread, coffee, and orange juice. Afterward, we admired the Notre Dame and walked down the Seine to the Louvre.

We booked last-minute tickets to the museum and headed to Place de la Concorde to look at the Luxor Obelisk while we waited for our time slot to become available.

As we were walking, Riemer spent lots of time marveling at Paris’ urban planning, which is something I am ceaselessly impressed by, as well.

The whole city is arranged by its most famous landmarks, and the effect is gorgeous. The city seems to open its arms, just for you.

Once inside the Louvre, we had snacks, admired art (including the Mona Lisa, which I had never bothered to get close to before), and got very lost.

When we finally made it out of the enormous edifice, we were starving. To avoid tourist traps, we ended up stopping at a bakery and wolfing down some delicious if uninspiring sandwiches on the streets of Paris.

Thanks to French bread, even the simplest sandwich is tastier than nearly anything you can get anywhere else, so we were satisfied enough to have a late-afternoon rest at the hostel.

When we reemerged, we made it over to the catacombs for a self-guided tour. Then, we headed up to Montmartre for a fondue dinner at one of my favorite places in the whole world, Le Refuge des Fondus.

At this hole-in-the-wall restaurant, they let you climb over the table and write on the wall. They also serve generous pours of wine in baby bottles, so you don’t spill while you get boozy and stir cheese.

Le Refuge des Fondus is my happy place, and I have had a special experience every single time. This visit, I was delighted to share the experience with Riemer. We also made a few friends at the table next to us (they let me try their meat fondue) and proceeded to run into them twice more in the same night. As a mix of travelers and locals, they were so generous and full of tips and recommendations about Paris.

Fueled by cheese, wine, and the chocolate that our new friends shared with us, we marveled at the Moulin Rouge and climbed the steps to Sacré-Cœur. There, we each lit a candle in the cathedral’s hallowed halls.

I prayed to be stronger than my doubts and wrote a short story called, “Mercy Mathieu,” that no one has read yet.

We ended the evening with a beer and an overuse injury in Riemer’s knee, which meant we had to take it easier the next day.

For us, taking it easy apparently translates to splitting a croissant loaf, taking the elevator up the top of the Eiffel tower, and having a classic French lunch.

Riemer tried oysters for the first time, I tried proper escargot, and we both enjoyed soup, bread, and wine.

Our waiter was extremely kind, as were the other Parisians, and the magic of the city enveloped us before we had to say our sad goodbyes.

I stayed in Paris for a few more days after Riemer left, but I was mostly focused on resting and running errands to prepare for my residency.

What It’s Like to Do an Artist Residency in France

It seems reductive to say that doing an artist residency in France is magical, but that’s the only word that describes it properly. For me, it was a month of pure, unadulterated joy – time spent playing and loving and creating without any real consideration for the outside world.

I hope that every creative person gets to experience something so wonderful and affirming.

Sometimes, the only way to capture the magical is with the mundane, so I will try to explain what it was like.

Every morning, I woke up to golden light and birdsong filling my bedroom. I showered in a communal bathroom that was kept immaculately clean and sat in my towel while I journaled – three pages every single day.

Then, I got dressed in one of the three outfits I packed and made my way downstairs to read in the salon.

Usually, I only got a chapter or two in before other artists joined me for coffee and pleasant, often hilarious morning banter. They were always interested in what I was reading and readily accepted any recommendations I made.

Each day, I had a slow breakfast with new friends who were quickly becoming family. Afterward, we all retreated to our studios.

In the studio, I wrote and worked toward my personal goals. If I needed a break, I peeked into other studios, often finding whatever it was that I didn’t know I needed before returning to work. Other artists came to visit my studio, too. A few of the artists even drew me (see the sketchbook page from Gina Ariko below).

At lunchtime, I snagged a prepared sandwich or scavenged for leftovers and went on walks, sometimes alone, most times with one or more friends. The walks were sometimes cold, always beautiful.

In the afternoon, I worked if it was a good writing day. If it was bad writing day, I kept walking – or rallied a friend or six to jump into the icy cold reservoir with me.

Once I dried off and warmed up, I read a little bit more, until other artists came down from their studios or invited me up to theirs for wine time. Afternoons and early evenings were spent drinking wine, chatting, even sketching.

At 7 p.m. every night, the dinner bell rang, and we served ourselves from a giant communal table filled with exquisite French food – all Chef Marie’s specialties and experiments. Then, we sat, ate, drank wine, and talked until late into the night.

When the table was cleared, we went to the salon for an event, dance party, conversation, or Netflix binge. Some nights we were so tired we just went to bed.

Then, we woke up the next day and did it all over again – for an entire month.

Did I mention we were living in a chateau in Orquevaux, a commune in France, 30-minutes from the nearest grocery store?

We were so isolated but never alone.


As you may have imagined, returning to the real world was difficult. Luckily, I got to do it with a small group of friends from the residency.

We spent two nights and one-and-a-half days together in Paris, having dinner, visiting cafes and bookshops, and even exploring the Musée d'Orsay, where we had an unexpected reunion with a fellow resident.

At the end of it, I had to say another round of hard goodbyes and go to a home that wasn’t really home anymore.

This sounds dramatic, but I promise you it’s not.

Home wasn’t really home anymore because Sam and I were preparing to move to Germany! We live here now! More on that later...

Querying and MFAs

One of the goals I accomplished at Château d'Orquevaux was sending out a few query letters to agents.

Before I left for my big adventure, I also applied to MFA programs – again. Last year I applied and got uniformly rejected, which was really discouraging.

Anyways, I figured I would start hearing back at the château, but all the rejections came with the cruelty of real life.

Fortunately, I did get into one program this year. Unfortunately, my interview experience was less than ideal, and I don’t think I can afford tuition, so coping with that difficult reality has been a real low point for me.

On the other hand, I did receive one positive response to a query letter! The joy and excitement I got from that has been a lot stronger than the pain from the rejections and disappointments, which keep coming in.

I don’t know if my writing sample will take me anywhere, but I was really thrilled to be noticed, and I still have a lot of hope for this little novel I wrote.

Right now, I’m giving myself a little break from fiction writing and trying to catch up on blogging and get back into the swing of my paid writing.

I don’t know what I’ll write next, but I’m really excited for it. I’m also excited to do another round of revisions and send another batch of query letters in May.

Overall, being back in real life has been filled with high and lows, but I am so thrilled to report that my artist friends from the château have become my friends in real life.

Aside from Sam (and my fantastic friends and family back home), there’s no one else I want to celebrate the highs and mourn the lows with.

Getting Engaged

During college, I remember being an intern at Universal Pictures and walking with a woman in her late 20s/ early 30s.

She had a massive, sparkly ring on her finger and she was just so effortlessly cool.

I remember looking at her ring and being totally distracted by the thought, “wow, someone loves this woman so much.”

Now, I have a shiny ring, and I realize it’s not so much about the rock as what it represents, and to me, that’s a whole lot.

I love that my fiancé put so much effort into choosing the stone and getting everything just right – simply because it was something I wanted.

For me, the ring also represents the question of “why shouldn’t I have the nice things that I want?” The answer is that the only thing stopping me from having the life I want is me.

As an example, I used to think marriage wasn’t for me just because my own parents messed it up so badly. Now, I look down at my ring and know that I’m allowed to have the nice things I want – not just the ring but also the marriage.

I am allowed to be the kind of person I used to admire, and to form my own life and my own marriage.

For me, the ring is as much a symbol of hope as it is a symbol of love... and neither have come easily. Sam and I have done a lot of work to build the relationship we want, and maintaining what we built requires hard work, too.

The ring on my finger means we’ll spend the rest of our lives working hard to make the relationship exactly what we want it to be.

I also want to mention that I been so bolstered by all the women – from all walks of life – that I met during my artist’s residency. Seeing all their paths and hearing their stories gave me the courage and confidence to choose this path and go on this adventure that I’ve been afraid to even want for so long.

I also read the wonderful book, The Course of Love by Alain de Botton, which was a refreshing depiction of real relationships and what they look like. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the fantasy of love that we forget to appreciate the reality, so here I am... appreciating it.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this in the future, but right now my brain is pretty preoccupied with...

Moving to Heidelberg

We’ve been in Heidelberg for a week now, and let me tell you, culture shock is real!

The move itself was stressful because we had so much luggage (pictured), and I’ve weirdly never been in an airplane that was so uncomfortably warm.

At 13 hours, the flight to Frankfurt was also the longest flight I’ve ever been on, then we had an hour-long cab ride. Then, we had to wrestle our luggage up a few steep flights of stairs.

The language barrier has also been a challenge because I am a total beginner at German, and learning is slow and really difficult. Even everyday tasks are so much harder than they should be because we don’t know German, and we have had the extra hard task of finding an apartment in a new country and unfamiliar rental market.

Even with all these challenges – and the absolute exhaustion of jet lag – we have found Heidelberg to be a welcoming home.

The people are friendly (for the most part), the weather is beautiful (when it’s not raining), and the city is a perfect size. The pace of life here is really peaceful (I am writing to you from a rainy Sunday where there is nothing to do except lounge at home), and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

We are surrounded by trails and a vibrant old town, and the students of the city really keep it alive. Groceries (and other necessities) are really affordable, as well, and there are fewer expenses associated with everyday life because we can walk everywhere.

My favorite discovery (so far) has been that we live on an amphibian migration route, so I get to see cute lil frogs and toads almost every night.

Even though it’s been an adjustment (and there have been really hard moments), I have also loved living with my partner and building a whole new life with him.

It’s so much fun to look at an apartment and imagine our lives within it.

There’s so much culture and opportunity here, and I can’t wait to explore Heidelberg’s status as a UNESCO world literature city, make friends, and try new activities, like rowing.

I also feel so much better in Europe in terms of eating well and getting fit, so that’s a major plus. I think I can settle into the city’s drizzly, terracotta-roofed embrace. At the very least, it’s gorgeous here.

Closing Thoughts

I’m sorry that I haven’t written for a while, but I am enjoying the present and only looking forward to the future. I cannot wait to share it with you.

The last few months have been a lot of adjustment, but they have brought a lot of growth, too!

I’m still feeling tender about my rejections, missing the chateau, and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the reality of starting a brand-new life, but my art and courage have already carried me so far, and things will only get better. I will only get better.

In the meantime, I am still learning how to trust myself, trust the process, follow the creative path, and be brave again.

I’m so grateful to have your company along the way.

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