Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Poetry of Paris

On October 6, I left for Paris. I went on a whirlwind trip that despite the calendar's claim that I returned a mere five days later rejuvenated my soul as if I spent a month in France.

I didn't set myself up with a major list of things to do, because merely needed to be in Paris. The photo at left is me in √Čtienne's neighborhood.

 I didn't waste time visiting his church, his exact address, his office, the house he grew up in or the boulangerie where he gets his bread.

I needed to live in the rhythm of Paris without any distraction before I could scope out these things. I still have a good idea where they are, but I don't need to decide today where they will be exactly.

I like my writing to have authenticity to it, as much as I can provide. So, while I could pick a place and do a surface description, I would rather wait until I could capture the underlying sense of life within a place. The narrow streets, the odors of urine, perspiration, dog poop, wine, perfume, bread and cigarette smoke that makes Paris memorable. The demi-tasse of coffee and the warm brioche or pain au chocolat. The way the vin du table pours perhaps a tad too easily. Cramming onto the subway closer to strangers than I would normally stand with my husband.

Before I return to my manuscript, I am writing a poem to Paris. Perhaps that is how an author should find a setting, by immersing oneself in the streets until poetry comes out.

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