You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
Or so it would seem.
In reality (if one can call this dream-like state a reality), time has taken on a very different pace here, life’s been turned topsy-turvy, and “routine” is now entirely out the window (for the first time ever in my life!)
For one thing, I feel like I’ve been here for months. Work e-mails, “office brain,” commuting, and daily trips to Starbucks seem a distant memory, in this comparatively mythical place, where time is no matter (“c’est pas grave”), where you meet people randomly, where hang-outs transpire without making plans two weeks (or even two days) in advance, and where you often end the night a lot later than you thought you would (which is why I’m so often writing until three a.m.!)
It’s a shock to an existence that used to operate on the “Death of a Salesman” clock of sameness, so shocking that every morning when I wake up, I lie in bed for twenty minutes to let myself just “think.” This thinking is an essential part of clearing out my brain, which makes room for another random day of encounters. It’s the sort of thinking that now requires sleeping with a notebook and a pen (I hope that’s not too R-rated for you!).
The notebook in bed is only a part of it; Paris is quickly bringing my “writer self” into focus, whereas before my “corporate self” was large and in charge. In fact, I can now break the news that my “corporate self” has been murdered by the city of lights, via the following combination of death blows: meeting multiple authors with very different backgrounds, being in a city that’s a huge source of inspiration, writing whenever I feel like it, and being invited to my first spoken-word “open mic” tomorrow night. I wasn’t planning on reading any of my work for the crowd on my first night out, but today I felt inspired to write about a highly-antagonizing character in the story of my life.
Annoying e-mail responses can bring that out in a writer (beware the pen of doom!).
So maybe I’ll read my writing for others or maybe I won’t; all I know is that it’s Paris, so there’s really no need to decide just yet.
In summary, it’s all very magical, isn’t it? Ahh Paris. This transformative city that has already swept me away, definitely worthy of at least another “ahh.”
But who would I be without putting things in perspective?
A dishonest writer-jerk, that’s who.
So here’s a little retrospect on Paris things I didn’t expect:
-So many people smoke over here. I’m definitely cool with people doing what they want, but I’ve inhaled more second-hand smoke in the last two weeks than I have in the last ten years, and that’s kind of a bummer.
-In some grocery stores in Paris, there are two different chip aisles in two unrelated areas of the store. Due to this layout anomaly, I didn’t find Doritos until day ten. A curse on Paris for that!
-Chip bags are so much smaller here, so it’s a mixture of shame and annoyance when I finish a whole bag in one sitting.
-There are way more male hecklers here than in Toronto, by a long-shot. This quickly became apparent whenever I combed my hair, applied my mascara and put on my skinny jeans before going out. All I had to do after that was go outside, and the complimentary-heckling would begin (“Bonjour belle fille!”). I strongly suspect it had nothing to do with my actual appearance, and everything to do with having lady parts, because I’m pretty sure they’ll heckle pretty much anyone who doesn’t have a “ding-dong” (except for maybe eunuchs—oh, by the way, I learned the term “eunuch” long before reading “Game of Thrones,” just so we’re clear). Despite the hecklers’ lack of discriminating taste, my ego finds this agreeable.
-It’s been raining for the last couple days, and I’ve noticed people looking at my ladybug-printed umbrella in an odd way. In defiance I use it even more (i.e. during light drizzles), because even though Paris has transformed me, I’ll be damned if it influences my adorable umbrella choices.
-When I buy a baguette I don’t want it to go stale, so I end up eating more bread in one day than any human should ever eat. Is there a way to buy half-baguettes? I’ll need to inquire with my heavily-Canadian-anglophone-accented-French (so I’ve been told) the next time I’m in a boulangerie.
Looking back at the post title now, I feel assured that it was timely and appropriate to do a retrospect (like how could I NOT talk about the Doritos thing?!)
I’ll get back to specific topics next time, and future installments will include:
-My experience at the Shakespeare and Company book store
-My range of experiences at the Canadian-owned Abbey Book Shop, which without even trying is drawing its share of thinkers and writers (I have a very strong feeling that my book about my time in Paris will have a lot to do with this place)
-Paris by night
-Open mic night for writers in Paris
-Progress on book 3 in the “Year of the Chick” series (that one’s fiction)
YIKES. I remember all too well the feeling of “Where’s the work whistle?!? I must be productive!” and not knowing what the fk I should be doing when I didn’t really have anything to do.
I’m glad you’re using this time to make a book happen, because that’s something that I think the world needs, as opposed to workerbees caught in ruts. Only Starbucks needs that.
hahaha, good call re: Starbucks. I definitely want to enjoy this time but also accomplish a lot, it’s just so much better when I’m producing something for ME and not a corporation, yeah!! 😀
HAH! Murder already?! What a great post Romi!
I watch a lot of French movies and yeah, the smoking is bad. Until I started watching Mad Men, it was hard to take. Try holding your breath to keep your lungs nice and healthy.
Une demi-baguette. Has nobody invented such a thing yet?
You’re still large and in charge, or so it sounds …
I bought a whole baguette again, haha, but it wasn’t as crazy long so I figured I could handle it..still some left. And yes, I’ve been trying to strategically hold my breath lately!!
keeping a pen and notebook under the pillow is something that I also thought of once.. 😀 as to secure every thought for write-ups even during my sleep. This insanity is gift of busy life…..thankfully you are feeling much free to churn the thought process without any clicking alarms.
It’s true, my body must’ve hungered for the lack of alarms as I’ve been staying up late and sleeping in often 😉
I’ll tell you how you can have a retrospective after only 2 weeks: it’s the hugeness of what you are doing. You need to regroup often, to take it in and assess as you go. That’s Paris for you. And the lurching nature of what you are doing.
That’s very true, since in tonight’s post I ended up doing a 7 week re-cap ;-). It’s ever-changing and I don’t want to miss a thing!
Coming late here , but Yes, you can buy a Demi-Baguette all right !
Thanks for the tip, I will try that! 🙂