Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Paris Story

This is what I get up to in a day.

First I awake to the smell of coffee. Christophe brings me coffee in bed. I attempt to keep up a conversation, bleary eyed. He leaves for work and weird thoughts enter my head. For instance, yesterday's morning thought was, "I should wash the duvet cover and make cookies today." Who is this domestic version of me who thinks these things? The duvet cover became a wrestling match on the bed with the duvet insert. And the cookies were a dismal failure. Burnt or raw? Which do you prefer?

I light a candle. Having a candle flickering feels like there is a dog sleeping on the rug next to me. A lovely, calm presence that doesn't shed or poo. 

I catch an episode of Scooby Doo. In French. I'm trying to catch the language but it still floats on by, talking to itself. Frustrated, I turn to the English news channel. Frustrated because the news annoys, I turn to the gardening network and watch people plant, pull and primp their gardens. The French love to prune. I dream of having my own garden one day. For now, I have this lovely acre of cyberspace to cultivate and it suits me just fine. I also have geraniums spilling out of my windows in this Paris flat. Geraniums are big blossoms of red heart-shaped petals. They make for nice company during the day. Nicer than the TV. I turn off the TV.

I read my English library books. Once I get the flow of literature running through my brain, I write my morning pages and hope I can cultivate something useful from them that I can turn into something. I try not to stress about the something.

I do yoga. Not enough to sweat. Just enough to work out a few kinks and connect to the Divine.

I shower. Showering is interesting. There is a constant monitoring of the shower curtain. If it is not schlicked against the wall on both sides, the bathroom floor could flood. Then there is that to sop up.

I open a word document. I sigh. I breathe. I check my current word count. I wonder when enough is enough. I realize that it's never, ever going to be enough. Like Scrabble or Sudoku. The moment it's done, I'll start a new one again. I primp my paragraphs, pull a few and plant a few more. I do this until my body says arrêt! Writing is more physical than you may think. The body monitors how long I can write in a day. By this time, my hair is dry.

I check my map. I decide on the shoes based on how far I'll walk.

I wander. Some streets are more colorful than others. And the evening's work by graffiti artists make the less interesting streets more colorful.

Something is always happening in Paris. An impromptu street concert or an art gallery opening. The other day I came across Jesus at a gallery show in the park.
Jesus seems so authentic here. As if to say, "This is who I am." So good.
Artist: Christophe Charbonnel

I stop at Sephora for a midday primp.
This is who I am after a particularly long walk in Paris.
I return home for a late lunch with Christophe. Sometimes he brings home weird meat things. The other day he brought home boiled eggs that were wrapped in ham and the whole concoction was floating in a brown gelatin. The French love to fool with food.

I sit in the park to read. I'm still on a Hemingway kick, but now I'm reading a version with English on one side of the page and French on the other. I do this until my brain hurts or some weirdo comes by to inquire about a quick tryst in the bushes. 

I meet a friend for drinks. Sometimes it's Melanie, who is spontaneous, geographically-desirable and always good times. A perfect trifecta. Sometimes it's a Meetup group, which is... effort but a good thing. And sometimes it's Christophe at the bar up the street. The bar has the best, most wonderful feature: Canadian bartenders.

The day ends with dinner. I've given up on the sausage wrapped in turkey that is wrapped in bacon and opt instead for hummus and veggies.

As I drift off to sleep, I wonder what I'll do the next day. Sometimes I get uncomfortable with this thought. It's interesting to recognize new snags in soul. Every day is open, which I never expected to be scary. But if I don't keep myself occupied and amused, depression could rear it's ugly head. And that can be a slippery slope if I let it. If I get depressed, I get overly concerned about shit that doesn't deserve as much mind space. And I've already lined every corner of the apartment with mouse traps so that's done. To be the my own social activities director each and every day takes a lot of flipping through my Paris guide book. I'm my own Julie McCoy and my apartment is small enough to be a room on The Love Boat. (The Looooove Boat...)

Sometimes I get bored.

First I judge myself for being bored in Paris and how can one be bored in Paris when there are so many things to see, do and explore. Then I remind myself that boredom leads to creativity so I just wait out the boredom until a string of sentences flows into my cranium that I write down. And usually boredom just means I'm tired or ate something weird and my body needs to deal. There is a reason I forgo the sausage thing.

Then I begin it all again the next day.

So that's what I get up to in a day.

That's the Paris story.


  1. And what an amazing story it is.

  2. Lovely.

    Have you seen the movie "Exit through the Gift Shop"? It's a documentary about street art. I think you'd really enjoy it, given how much you seem to be seeing in Paris. Did you ever figure out how to hack Netflix in France?

  3. Maybe you need to get a little more savage, nomad.

  4. Mandy_Fish: Merci beaucoup. I have to work a little harder on my gasps now that I've seen so much of Paris, but it's a delightful exercise.

    Mel Heth: Oh yeah. I'm rockin' the Netflix hack action. And I used it to watch Exit through the Gift Shop.

    Nagaji: I hear you and I hear what you're saying ;)

  5. AnonymousJuly 22, 2011

    yes, boredom leads to creativity. beautifully said.

  6. Your bedroom needs painting if you are too bored

  7. AnonymousJuly 23, 2011

    ha ha ha haaaaa!!! love your mom!

  8. AnonymousJuly 23, 2011

    but seriously....That is a profound statement that boredom leads to an artist I totally relate to that...and it's not as easy as it sounds. Kudos for you for your persistence in your creative process!

  9. That sounds like a pretty great day. "Every day is open, which I never expected to be scary. But if I don't keep myself occupied and amused, depression could rear it's ugly head." I may get this tattooed on my body somewhere, or at least remember it.


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