Paris was once the city to some of the world’s most famous artists. Do I really need to mention names? Let’s just say they were big, REALLY BIG, and important, REALLY IMPORTANT. Just check out the Louvre, Orsay, or Pompidou for examples of greatness.
But as a writer, I’m most drawn to the experiences of the literary elite of Paris. Perhaps, the best time to be a writer in this amazing city was in the 1920s when Hemingway and Fitzgerald roamed the streets in drunken, literary stupors, screaming out, “Paris, you inspire me to be a better artist!” Okay, well that may not have been the literary giants screaming, but myself after a bottle of French champagne and a visit to the Louvre.
But, the point I’m trying to make is, I was inspired. GREATLY. Having a cafe au lait at Les Deux Magots made me feel not only super-caffeinated, but really connected to the Hemmingway aura (the good side mostly, but some of the dark, too). So, I sat down in a wooden chair in the corner of the cafe, pulled out my notebook, and wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. From that day forward, I spent my time in Paris weaving one experience after another into potential stories.
After two weeks of continous exposure to all things Parisian, it was, alas, time for me to return home. As soon as my plane landed back in the States, I rushed home, unpacked my suitcase, and laid my handwritten pages out on my bed.
What did I have?
Scenes – lots of them. French scenes, transplant scenes, imaginary scenes, family scenes. Some reminded me of a Monet painting. Random collections of afternoons at the park, water lilles, beautiful people milling around ponds, chasing after children. But, they weren’t all idyllic. There were also scenes of hardship, despair and loss. Now, I wondered, where do they all go?
I shuffled the pages back into one heap and stuffed them into a bag. I don’t really know where these scenes go, but I don’t think it matters because I’ve created them. I’m now aware of them. When the time is right, they will shift into place; into the right story or poem or conversation.
With my new awareness in tow, I headed to the kitchen and made myself a microwaved cafe au lait.
It wasn’t the same.
Au revoir, Paris and thank you for your inspiration.