Cover Reveal ~ I Loved You in Paris: A Memoir in Poetry

I have been writing poems since I was a little girl…poems about the boys I liked and later loved, poems about the boys who didn’t love me back, poems about my relationships with friends and family and the ones I have lost, and most recently poems about the loss of my marriage and the man I fell in love with during my first year as a free woman. In the end, all of my poems have always gone back to one thing: love. New loves and old loves, love found and love lost…but always, it’s about love. It is with this love that I am thrilled to share the cover art for my upcoming poetry book release, I Loved You in Paris: A Memoir in Poetry. The cover was designed by the talented Blue Harvest Creative.

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Release Date: February 23, 2016

About the book:

In this companion poetry book to her sizzling memoir, Meet Me in Paris, Juliette Sobanet gives readers a heartbreaking look into the raw emotions of a romance novelist as she loses her own happily ever after. From the impossible pull of forbidden love to the devastating loss of her marriage, and finally, to rebuilding life anew, Sobanet’s courageous poems expose the truth behind infidelity and divorce and take readers on a passionate journey of love, loss, and ultimately, hope.

A sneak peek of one of my favorite poems in the book:

Broken, I Am Not

My heart may have shattered

My chest may have cracked

My dreams may have gone up in flames

My lungs may have ceased to breathe

And I may have considered ending it all

More times

Than I will ever admit

But what I have learned

In this insane journey to rock bottom

Is that beyond my bleeding heart and my crushed bones

Beyond the ashes of my lost dreams

And the last breath I believed I would ever take…

Lives a soul

A glorious, vibrant soul

Who is untouchable, unbreakable, indestructible

The ultimate warrior of love

Who welcomes rock bottom

Who cries victory at the sound of my broken heart

She emerges from dust and ash

Brushing off shards of broken bone

Kicking away mounds of bloody flesh

And she is smiling, triumphant, radiant

As she reminds me

You are not that lacerated flesh

You are not that scorching pain

That you so wish to cling to

You are me

I am you

And broken, I am not

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Valentine’s Love ~ Le Poème du Jour ~ le 14 février, 2016

Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m divorced. And yes, I still love Valentine’s Day! What’s not to love? Chocolate and romance and love poems…and the list goes on! I am a romance novelist, after all. But I suppose the fact that I am up early on Valentine’s Day sending love poems out into the universe means that my heart has healed from the war it’s endured these past few years…it has healed so much that I really do believe in love again. And that is certainly a reason to celebrate. So, today, I have not one, but two little bursts of love to share with you…

This is an excerpt from the poem, “On Your Birthday,” which is featured in my memoir, Meet Me in ParisI’ve tweaked it slightly to go with our Valentine’s theme…

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And…a snippet from a poem titled “The Night We Met” which will be featured in my upcoming poetry collection, I Loved You in Paris.

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Wishing you all my love on this beautiful Valentine’s Day!

xoxo

Danielle (aka Juliette Sobanet)

Le Poème du Jour ~ le 29 janvier, 2016

Le Poème du Jour is an excerpt from “The Gems I Will Not Hide,” which will be featured in my upcoming poetry collection, releasing this February. I wrote this poem as I was truly beginning to reclaim my strength after the storms of divorce and depression had whipped through my life. It has been so empowering to know that I will no longer hide the beauty inside myself to keep others comfortable. I hope my words will inspire you to find your own strength and beauty and to never again drown them out just to keep someone else happy.

29 janvier

Le Poème du Jour ~ Le 27 janvier, 2016

In February, I’ll be releasing a poetry book as a companion to my memoir. The book is titled, “I Loved You in Paris: A Memoir in Poetry.” Just like the memoir, this book was a total labor of love, and I’m thrilled to share it with my readers. A little more about the poems…

In this companion poetry book to her courageous memoir, Meet Me in Paris, Juliette Sobanet gives readers a profoundly intimate look into the true life of a romance novelist as she loses her own happily ever after. From the impossible pull of forbidden love to the devastating loss of her marriage, and finally, to rebuilding life anew, Sobanet’s raw, inspiring poems expose the truth of infidelity and divorce and take readers on a passionate journey of love, loss, and ultimately, hope.

Leading up to the release and beyond, I’ll be posting a “Poème du Jour.” Today’s poem is, of course, about love…

Le Poeme du Jour 27 janvier

The Day I Told the Truth

Today, my private life and many of my deepest secrets—secrets which I have worked so hard to cover up for so long—are being released to the world in a book.

A book written by my own pen…my memoir, Meet Me in Paris.

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About the book:

What does a romance novelist do when she loses her own happily ever after? Take a lover and travel to Paris, obviously. Or at least this is what Juliette Sobanet did upon making the bold, heart-wrenching decision to divorce the man she had loved since she was a teenager. This is the story of the passionate love affair that ensued during the most devastating year of Sobanet’s life and how her star-crossed romance in the City of Light led to her undoing. Meet Me in Paris is a raw, powerful take on divorce and the daring choices that followed such a monumental loss from the pen of a writer who’d always believed in happy endings…and who ultimately found the courage to write her own.


Writing the story of my divorce, my affair, and everything I’ve learned and experienced along the way has forced me to face my ultimate fear of telling the truth. I sent emails and made phone calls before the book release to let the most important people in my life know that I have written a true story that they are in, and to tell them the pieces of the story I had previously hidden from them.

I finally, finally told the truth to the people who most deserved to hear it.

One of those people was, of course, my former husband.

In an email to him, I wrote,

There is a lot to my truth—it’s messy and difficult and not what many people will expect, but it’s me. In writing this book, I realized that I have to love myself for all of it—the mistakes, the mess, the depression, and all of the love that I’ve given and received along the way.

When we spoke, instead of the horrified reaction I was expecting, my truth was met with kindness, compassion, and understanding. My truth was met with love.

And I feel like I can breathe now.

I realized I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by hiding the truth. The people I have been blessed to love in this life are much stronger than I realized. They could handle what I had to tell them.

I was the one who couldn’t handle my truth…or at least I believed I couldn’t.

There is astounding power in truth. Yes, it may hurt. Yes, you may bleed because of it. And others might bleed too. There will most certainly be tears.

But it is ultimately the fear of facing the truth, the fear of telling the truth, and the fear of living our truth that is the most harmful to us.

It is our fear that will kill us. Not our truth.

As for all of that hard-to-face truth, I will let my memoir speak for herself, and instead, I will leave you with a poem I wrote recently while listening to the song “Near Light” by Olafur Arnalds. If you like to have music to go with your words, play the tune on Spotify while you read and perhaps, allow yourself to be inspired to tell the truth to those who most matter in your life, or most importantly, to yourself.

Near the Light

Near the light she stood

Where grace had no name

She called out for it nonetheless

But just out of her reach

It sparkled, shined, bled

In her hands

 

Near the light she wept

Where love had once lived

She called out to him

But he didn’t come

He loved, pierced, killed

Her heart

 

Near the light she danced

Where glory used to shine

She called out to her lost inspiration

But beyond her pointed toes

It swirled, twirled, slipped

Through her grasp

 

Near the light she loved

Where she once gave everything

She called out to all she had lost

Come back, Come back, Come back

 

But in the darkness

Only echoes

Of her broken heart

Returned

 

Near the light she nearly died

Where she once stood, wept, danced, loved

She had no voice left to call out

But just before her last breath

A whisper kissed her lips

 

It was truth

Her truth

 

In that moment

Grace, glory, inspiration, and love

Breathed peace into her soul

 

We were here all along, they said

All you had to do

Was step

Into the light

 

Her eyes opened

And she saw

Life

Where there had been none

 

Full, unending, new

Beautiful

 

She stood

In the light

Of her truth

Why I Wish I Was in Paris Right Now

Paris was my first true love.

This magical, beautiful City of Light stole my young, impressionable heart when I was but a girl of fifteen, growing up in small-town Ohio, kissing boys and running through cornfields. I took a high school trip to France with my French teacher and a few of my closest girlfriends, and it was love at first sight.

I have dedicated my entire career to Paris, to France, and to mastering and teaching the elegant French language. I’ve lived and studied in Paris and Lyon; I became a French professor and have taught French for close to ten years; and I’ve written five novels, a short story, and a memoir which are all based in Paris. I travel back every year to visit the beautiful friends I have made in Paris and to breathe in the life that flows through its streets—vibrant and rich and never-ending.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Paris is in my heart every single moment of every day. And as my readers have shown me, the extraordinary city of Paris is in their hearts as well.

Paris Cover

When I first heard the devastating news of the attacks that have killed and injured so many innocent people in our beloved city, many of my friends and family who live in the US texted me immediately and said that they were so happy I’m not in Paris right now.

But my first instinct was to get on the next flight and go to Paris. I am in the process of planning my move to Paris next year, and if anything, I’m ready to move the date up. I want to be there, spreading love and drowning fear. I want to hug my amazing Parisian friends, look them in the eyes, and tell them how thankful I am that they are safe. I want to help in any way that I can. I want to be in Paris.

Through all of my travels to Paris and to other cities in France, I have been blessed to build a family of the warmest, kindest, most caring and loving friends I could ever imagine. My Parisian friends are French, Brazilian, Italian, Australian, American, and British. They are artistic, intelligent, creative, and inspiring. They are open and honest, and they have shared their lives and their homes with me on more occasions than I can count.

I consider them my family, and Paris is our home. I want to be there with them right now, more than anything.

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When the news of the attacks broke in the US, I immediately reached out to all of my France-based friends to be sure they were okay. Facebook was an absolute blessing in this regard. I was able to connect with each of my friends quickly and easily, and there was only one friend we couldn’t get in touch with. It turned out that she had left Paris the day before, and she was simply sleeping with her phone off. We heard from her as soon as she woke up Saturday morning, and she is safe.

But in those few hours when we didn’t have news of her whereabouts, I realized that the idea of even one of my dear friends being hurt or killed in this senseless massacre was unimaginable. The loss of one beautiful friend or loved one is enough to alter our entire world forever. The impact each of our loved ones makes on our lives is immeasurable. And so is the love we have for each other.

This was apparent as people all over the world connected last night to be sure that their loved ones were safe. And this is apparent in the immense sadness we all feel knowing that so many innocent, beautiful lives have been taken.

This is a tragedy, and we must face it with bravery. We must face it with unwavering love.

Love is stronger than any force in this Universe, and love will always—always—win. Fear doesn’t stand a chance in the face of love.

So, today, no matter where you are, please tell your friends and family and loved ones how much you love them. Hug them. Kiss them. Let go of past wrongs, and instead choose to embrace love. Send as much of that love as you can to Paris, to France, and especially to the victims and their families.

And don’t be afraid to get on a plane to Paris. Book the flight. Walk those lively streets, and tell fear it has no place in a city that is so rich and full of life. Tell fear is has no place in your minds, your hearts, your souls.

In a time like this, we must only make room for love.

Our beloved Paris truly is the City of Love, and nothing will ever change that.

*This piece has also been published on The Huffington Post.

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Life After Divorce: Embracing Your Grief As a Sign of Love

Before my divorce, I believed I was an experienced “griever.”

I thought I knew all there was to know about grief: how it feels, how to handle it, and most important, how to survive it. While my life was beautiful in so many ways, I’d experienced quite a bit of heartbreak in my thirty-one years, with the worst loss of all being the unexpected death of a cousin who had been like a brother to me during our childhood.

When I heard the news of his passing, I was only three weeks shy of my college graduation. I had finals to study for, papers to write, and a dance recital to perform. I didn’t care about any of that, though. My cousin was gone. He was gone.

I lay in bed all weekend crying and feeling as if God had punched me in the gut. I’d never before experienced grief in such a violent, visceral way.

It knocked me to my knees–literally–and I feared that it would swallow me whole if I didn’t take control of the situation.

So, ignoring the sage advice of my girlfriends who told me “Let yourself grieve now,” I had a stern talk with my new roommate, Grief. I told him to beat it, at least for the next few weeks until I graduated.

To my surprise, Grief listened.

It wasn’t that I didn’t continue to have meltdowns, but through the tears, I found the strength to take care of business so that I could graduate.

Then, just as my friends said it would, Grief resurfaced.

I carried the grief of losing my cousin with me for several years after his passing, and to this day, I miss him. I always will. But even though the grief was intense, it didn’t capsize my ship. Amid this loss, I was still able to love and find the beauty in life, to feel gratitude and work toward my dreams. I didn’t need to grab the wine bottle or take drugs or numb myself with Xanax.

The fact that I was able to stare Grief in the face and keep moving through life only reinforced a long-held belief I’d had about myself–that I could handle whatever curveballs life threw my way without falling into a lasting depression or needing antidepressants to survive the day.

And then, I got a divorce.

After twelve years with my husband, I knew that the grief over losing our marriage would be immense, but I still believed I was an expert on this grief thing, so I was certain I could withstand the storm.

What I learned rather quickly was that I was not, in any way, prepared for the storm of depression that would ensue over the next two years.

This would be the storm that would finally capsize what I’d always believed was an unsinkable ship–me.

Thankfully, friends and loved ones threw me life vests along the way to keep me from drowning. I sought out my own life vests as well in the form of therapy, yoga, meditation, healers, antidepressants, travel, and the most healing of them all–writing a memoir about my entire experience.

But even with all of those life vests keeping me afloat, I still have not managed to convince Grief to get the hell out of my house.

He’s moved in. Permanently, it seems. And I have no choice but to live with him.

Grief and I have been cohabitating for a couple of years now, and it is only in recent months that I have stopped my desperate pleas asking him to pack his shit and go. Instead, I’ve made a space for him in my home. I even make him a cup of tea at night, and we chat like the old friends we are. Interestingly, taking a friendly approach toward Grief seems to have diffused him quite a bit. Although, when he does storm through me unannounced, I am no longer surprised by his dramatic antics. And I’m no longer angry that he’s still here. Because I’ve realized something.

This intense grief I’ve experienced is a sign of great love.

If I hadn’t loved my husband with my entire being, I wouldn’t have felt such immense pain over the loss of our marriage. Yes, that love changed and shifted in the final years. Yes, there were problems we couldn’t repair that led to the end.

But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t love each other. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still send him love and wish him only happiness and joy, because I do. That is unconditional love, after all.

With any loss we experience throughout our lives, we must always remember that suffering is universal. Grief is a part of the human experience. To deny or suffocate our grief is to deny our humanness. Instead, we must embrace our grief as a sign that love was shared, and perhaps, if we’re feeling really friendly, invite him over for a cup of tea.

To take a quote on grief and love from my own true story, Meet Me in Paris:

“Where there is great love, there is also potential for great pain.

Because I have hurt so deeply, I know that I have also loved deeply.

And since love is the bedrock of my journey–of our journeys–I know my particular journey has been worthwhile. Worth every tear I’ve shed, every meltdown I’ve had, and every dose of Wellbutrin I’ve taken.

Love is worth it.

I know that now, and so I don’t curse the journey. Not a single moment of it.”

*This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.

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