I greatly miss the City of Light. I miss being able to go to someone who is an expert in every piece of food you could desire. I suppose it seems tedious to Americans, but I saw a great quaintness to the practice of going to la fromagerie for my cheese, la boulangerie for my bread, le magasin de fruit et légumes for my fruit and vegetables, le marchand de vins for my wine, et la pâtisserie for my sweets. It’s those simple things that stay with me after I travel. Of course, I remember La Tour Eiffel and La Notre Dame in all their gargantuan grace, but it is the little things that are nearly intangible and define a culture that left the greatest imprint on me.
So, this is how I find myself in my small, private side yard, so reminiscent of a European patio that it convinced me to take the apartment, with a glass of Bordeaux in my hand, a plate of brie, a baguette, and a cigarette, so desperate to reconnect with my literary self reborn a year ago in Paris. It was in Paris that I learned how to write without pressure. To write for me. My degree in English Literature forced me to always be writing for something or someone. While I felt myself occasionally getting lost in my assignments, and at times finding pride in my words, I was mostly on a mission to complete an assignment, bank the grade, and get outside, or to a party.
I would never dream of writing with a glass of wine for an assignment that needed to be turned in, but in Paris I learned that sipping and savoring a Bordeaux was a gateway to letting the words flow. It was Paris that taught me discipline and creativity can coincide, that one does not have to squelch the other. I learned to write nightly, with abandon, and yet the lack of care proffered superior writing. Over a nice Bordeaux and my latest cheese trial, I found my inner self. I am one who thrives in solitude and reflection, especially in the wee hours of the morning.
I see the world in colors and swirls of movement, like a Monet painting in which everything bleeds together, and yet is one. My words come from me in some combination of a flowing waltz and a pop and lock street dance, like halting hiccups in which I can see what I feel, and search for the letters to string together into words, into sentences, into meaning, for everyone else. I hope I am succeeding.