The gas station nearest my house happens to face a strip club. It is apparently a verysuccessful strip club, as they could afford to install a LCD screen on their roof that might bevisible from the Space Station. It"s certainly visible from the gas station. At some point myeyes will drift up while pumping gas, and there will be a one-story image of a young woman insome stage of near-undress.


As I was getting some gas this morning, I wondered for the first time what a woman pumpinggas thought when she looked at that screen. Though it would depend on the woman, Ithought. A woman who had once been an exotic dancer herself would certainly look at thatimage differently than a Catholic nun.


The image would look different to each of us. And when I say look different, I mean we would beseeing what amounts to a different image. For while the young woman"s pose and attire that Isee are identical to the pose and attire that every other man, woman, and child sees, the storythat image tells me is told uniquely by me, by my own ideas about women and advertising andmaybe even gas stations.


The image is nothing; the story is everything. Good to remember if you"re a writer. Writersdon"t report the facts. The fact that there is a strip club with a giant LCD screen blazing near-nudity for all to see means nothing in reality. All that ever matters is what a person believeswhen they look upon it. What a person believes is the terrain of the storyteller.


And by the way, it is the only terrain of the storyteller. Storytellers, whether they areconscious of it or not, wish to alter reality. We are not so interested in changing the imagethat flashes on the great LCD screen of the world. Mostly that"s beyond our control. We couldmarch, or protest, or fill out petitions to get the screen changed, but it"s faster, ultimately, totell ourselves a story about what we see there.


I sometimes forget I have to power to change that story. My mind drifts as idly from thought tothought as my eyes drift from gas pump to pinup. What occurs in this exchange between theworld I look upon and the story I tell can happen so fast, can be so habitual, that I can losetrack of who is telling the story I am hearing. The moment I remember, the moment I see mymind as a blank page on which to write my life, I am the author once more, and my life is mineagain.



 Ah, beautiful Paris. For centuries this city has attracted the admiration of the world. The allure and charm of Paris captivate all who visit there.

Where can you discover the charm of Paris for yourseIf. Is it in the legacy of all the French rulers who worked to beautify their beloved city? Is it in the famous castles, palaces, statues and monuments? Can you it in the world-class museums, such as the Louvre? Perhaps Paris" allure lies in the zest and style of the Parisians.

When you visit Paris, you don"t have to spend all of your time visiting museums and monuments. They are certainly worthy of your time, but ignore them for a day. First take some time to look around and experience life in Paris. You"ll find it charming.

Take a stroll along the Seine River. Browse through the art vendors colorful paintings. Peek through delicate iron gates at the well kept gardens. Watch closely for the French attention to detail that has made France synonymous with good taste. You will see it in the design of a doorway or arch and in the little fountains and quaint balconies. No matter where you look,you will find everyday objects transformed into works by art.

Spend some time in a quiet park relaxing on an oid bench. Lie on your back on the green grass. When you need refreshment, try coffee and pastries at a sidewalk cafe. Strike up a conversation with a Parisian. This isn"t always easy, though. With such a large international population living in Paris, true natives are hard to find these days.

As evening comes to Paris, enchantment rises with the mist over the riverfront. You may hear music from an outdoor concert nearby classical, jazz, opera or chansons, those French folk songs. Parisians love their music. The starry sky is their auditorium. You can also hear concerts in the chateaux and cathedrals. In Paris the Music never ends.

Don"t miss the highlight of Paris evening: eating out. Parisians are proud of their cuisine. And rightly so; it"s world famous. Gourmet dining is one of the indispensable joys ofliving. You need a special guidebook to help you choose one of the hundreds of excellent restaurants. The capital of France boasts every regional specialty, cheese and wine the country has to offer. If you don"t know what to order, ask for the suggested menu. The chef likes to showcase his best dishes there. Remember, you haven"t tasted the true flavor ofFrance until you"ve dined at a French restaurant in Paris.

After your gourmet dinner, take a walking tour of the floodlit monuments. Cross the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the city. The most famous landmark of Paris looms up in front of you the Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady)。 Stand in the square in front of the cathedral. Here, you are standing in the center of France. All distances are measured from the front of Notre Dame. Every road in France leads to her front door. All French kings and leaders have journeyed here to commemorate important occasions and give thanks. Notre Dame is the heart ofParis and the heart of France.

Your visit in Paris has only just begun. You"ve just started to discover the charm ofthis old city. May the rest of yourjoumey be unforgettable. When it is time to leave, you will go reluctantly. You will say with the French, "A bientot, Paris, a bientot!" (See you again soon, Paris!)









在你的美食晚餐之后,可以到被聚光灯照耀的纪念碑去走一趟。穿过(Pont Neuf)这个城市中最古老的桥——第九桥,你将到达城市之岛(Ile de la Cite),此时巴黎最有名的标志——圣母院会隐约地呈现在你的面前。站在教堂前面的广场,此时你也正处于法国的正中心,因为所有的距离皆是以圣母院前门开始计算,法国的每一条路都通往它的前门。所有的法国国王或统治者都曾经旅游到此来纪念重要的节日或感恩。圣母院是巴黎的中心,也是法国的中心。






















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