Return to Paris
It was no Eden, but it was close enough. Would my eyes never be drawn to that Tower, ever?
I’m still wondering 14 years later and I don’t live there anymore; sadly.
“Bored in Paris” was a very brief memoir describing my introduction to Europe, and seeing and living in Paris for the first time at the age of 26 years. I’ll come back to that period in my life as I blog along because it was pivotal in helping me to find the fountain of creativity within myself.
Things were different upon my return; I was two years older and married. Honestly, there is so much to say about the first few weeks of my return to Paris. The words have always just spun around in my head and blinded me, I liken it to being caught in a blizzard, on a frozen lake with nothing visible to orient myself and I’m lost. This is where I always freeze in my writing. I’d like to say literally, because my mind shuts off and there is no way forward, yet, my body keeps moving. Writer’s block I believe? It’s the strangest sensation only because the world keeps moving, the body keeps going and I eat, drink, sleep and talk as if everything is as usual. Still, in the smallest corner of my brain the words are frozen and the Ice Queen is dead and can’t set them free. It’s taken me 15 years to find the right words and they are here for you to read; if you would like to.
Springtime in Paris
Cliche or truly sublime?
Paris was, at it’s best, heavenly, at it’s worst, hell on Earth. Except in Spring when nothing was dark or dreary and Le Metro Face (a term we used to describe the face of thousands of passengers travelling on the trains of Paris’s underground) vanished. Parisians came back to life and smiled regularly…even if le cafe (tiniest coffee on the planet) wasn’t bien chaud (good and hot). The best thing? Art shows bloomed in every museum and gallery and color returned to the old grey Dame. No! Paris in spring is not a tacky cliche, it’s a sublime cliche and as a traveler, it’s the only time to really see the true beauty in all those old stones and it’s people.
There are literally hundreds of art exhibits and artists forever enmeshed in my memory (not the masters!). I roamed every arrondissement-all 20 of them-and saw every attraction that Paris had to offer, except the catacombs – I hate roaming around in the dark below the earth – the smell makes me sick. After only 3 years of living there, I know Paris because I was her stalker. I wanted no secrets between us, so I sat and watched and followed her roads and alleys, obsessed. Even now, if I sit quietly and close my eyes I can go back anywhere. Give me a metro exit, a monument or a landmark and I can describe to you what is there; even what is beyond the derby of the peripherique. It may take a little while, but it’s all still there like imprinting in a new-born duckling.
It’s no surprise to anyone, except me, that I should find my passion for art in Paris. What a gift! It was one of those moments, as I described in “Bored in Paris”, where I was taken completely unaware that I even had talent, let alone the drive to draw, paint, to create a world of my own; my watercolor life, as I now call it. It seems so dreamy doesn’t it? Well, it was , it is, time stands still and all I hear is music. It’s only now that I value it like treasure and I will make a life with it – I want to live the dreams that have been locked away in my mind.
The title is very literal. “My watercolor life” is my life recorded in watercolor sketches. Instead of simply carrying a journal with me everywhere I went, I painted a 15 year journal of places I had visited; some I knew I’d never see again. I wrote a little memoir with each sketch, but it’s the watercolors that tell the stories that my words have failed to convey about my life…a life of following my life partner abroad to strange, beautiful and sometimes ordinary places, and of course a life of following Love: A destination to which is wondrous but in reality is often unreachable, but we keep travelling, hoping to arrive, at the very least, alongside it. There’s so much to tell, so I hope you can sit still together with me just long enough to read it all.
Here is the first entry in my very first watercolor travel journal….it’s young, amateurish, but shows potential! XR