Thursday, February 6, 2014

what's all the hype about?

Paris has served as muse to generations of artists, even to those who have never visited her. How has she accomplished this feat? Countless artists and writers have tried to say. Paris feeds an artist, motivates her, galvanizes her, and makes her murmur, "This is my home." A mere glimpse of a photo of a Parisian street causes us to feel both uplifted and bereft, thrilled by what Paris implies and saddened not to be living there right now. We do not have to list the reasons for its allure to get to the bottom line: Paris is the  place to write. Since it is the perfect place to writer, it is the perfect place to commit to write." --A Writer's Paris: a guided journey for the creative soul by Eric Maisel

Apparently, I'm on the eve of being fed, motivated, galvanized, and made to murmur. And I'm kind of resisting. It's the same way I resist anything that's become too popular and clichéd. (Such a little rebel I am.) And there's nearly nothing (in a hyperbolic kind of way) that's more clichéd than a writer/artist who's inspired by Paris.

Tonight I settled into my dark brown fauteuil (one of the French words I love), which you might simply refer to as an Ikea armchair, for a smidge of pre-bed reading. Life's been busy, and tonight I needed to read and ponder and ruminate for a few minutes. So glancing at the clock and calculating that I could read for 30 minutes, I reached for the stack of no less than 4 books I had brought to the chair. This is the story of my life. So many books and not enough time.

As I said, I had settled. But then I unsettled myself and strode a purposeful five steps to the other side of my cozy, little apartment to reach for one of the four books among my meager supply in my current abode that have Paris in the title or subtitle. Three of them are about writing in Paris.

When I read the quote above, I realized some things:

  • I kind of want to not like Paris. It's so overdone.
  • I'm in to-do list mode at the moment with some once-far-off deadlines pressing uncomfortably close, and since I decided to try to do a couple interviews while there, I've viewed my upcoming Paris weekend with the adjective "productive" in mind. I don't really have time for a vacation right now.
  • I have not been anticipating my maiden voyage to the City of Light with my writer self in mind. In my mind, this trip has been about doing a little work and visiting friends, not about languishing in leisure, searching for inspiration, or creating something new and beatiful.
Then I realized some other things:
  • Maybe I should think about leaving space for some aimless yet inspired and inspiring meandering this weekend.
  • With Paris, I subconsciously want to find reasons that it doesn't live up to its hyper-superlative status. When I visit a city in Africa, I want to discover ways the city outshines it's negative hype.
  • When I bought these Paris-centric books for my expansive book collection, I had no idea I'd end up living in France a few years later. Life is amazing.
  • I'm still on a campaign to educate the world that prima-dona Paris is not the only city in France. I'm afraid that by taking photos there or mentioning Paris on social media, I will step over the line onto a long and wind-y path along which no one will ever again believe that I don't live in Paris but I do live in France.
And that, my friends, is where things stand as I head to bed THE NIGHT BEFORE I GO TO PARIS for the first time!!! :-)