Today I got a much later start than usual. The word “start” refers to the time of day when I have arisen from bed and done all the things that I have chosen to make part of my Paris morning routine: check email, look at any movies or pictures I might have taken out the window since sundown the previous evening, go to the boulanger (and the boucher, fromager, poissoniére and whatever they call the vegetable store, depending upon my menu plans) eat breakfast, brush my teeth, shower, shave and put the dishes in the dishwasher. That usually gets me on the street between 1300 and 1330 – 1200 when I have purposely speeded things up to accommodate a desire to get somewhere at a decent hour, like le Bois de Boulogne.
Today it was 1430. I don’t know what I must have done to take that much extra time (I got up at the normal time) but I must have done something, because it was 1430 as I entered the street from the apartment. I mention this because I use the being on the street each day for two purposes – three really if you count that each time I am communing with a place that I love – getting exercise to make up for that fact that I am not riding my bike thirty miles each day, and gathering pictures. Several years ago it occurred to me one day as I was walking and taking pictures on the same route that I had been walking and taking pictures for years that I was spending a lot of what relativelylittle time I have left and even more of what little money I ever had in the first place to do the same thing over and over. “Why are you doing that; are you nuts?” I heard in my mind's ear. Since the answer to the second part of that question had been known by me and most that have ever known me to be, obviously, “yes” I didn’t waste a moment ponderingthe answer to that part of the question. But the first part seemed to me to be a fair question deserving of a well considered answer. I could only come up with one, but it roared at me at the top of its lungs, so it must be the correct answer: “because you love it here; and, besides the light is always different”.
So that need to capture every nuance of the light of Paris before I die can be productively coupled with indulging in enough exercise to keep from becoming a blivet. That translates to walking two to three hours each day. That gets me back to the keyboard by 1600, at which time I can spend two hours avoiding getting serious about the novel by producing 1200 to 1500 words to post about my life in Paris.
Two days ago a minor, but what could become significant modification occurred. The modification was not in the nature of my writing routine but in the nature of the content produced. A day or two before, I had scribbled a blog idea on one of the lined yellow 8.5 x 11 sheets from my tablet – a medium upon which all my great ideas, as well as all my grocery lists (those being written on sheets that have been folded in four equal folds making it possible to use the same sheet for 8 separate grocery lists) are scribed; in the case of this idea it had something to do with an odd door on the landing of my floor up the spiral staircase, a door that couldn’t front an apartment because of its totally fragile nature, and which I had therefore surmised had no human presence behind it, and a door in front of which I had tarried more than once trying to see into the space behind the opaque, very old, glass, trying to focus what appeared to be shapes, but which couldn’t be focused into any form beyond just that: “shapes”.
Anyway, I started to write about it as just a local color item or a sort of point of interest. Almost immediately the Ouija took over, starting with having me title the post “A Halloween Story?”
It wasn’t very long, but I had terminated it where the story to that point could be viewed as complete and beyond which I already knew what came next. It seemed best to postpone that next "next" until it came around again on the clock. I had also already conceived – not clear, but at least conceptually available, numerous additional and sequentially down stream “nexts”.
It may be that all of that is the germ for the novel. It may even be possible to salvage the already extant 6000 words that I got myself painted into a corner with. On va voir.
Which brings me back to the beginning of this post.
Trying to reconcile the needs of pictures, exercise and writing just was too much. So I walked for two and a half hours, got some – I think - great captures of the light, got to see les Invalides with the sun setting on its gold corona, had an interesting encounter with a self-described “post colonial” Frenchman (parents from Mali and Eastern Europe) but didn’t get back until 1730.
So I decided that I would postpone the next “next” and just write something short, quick and simple about the weather. Apparently the Ouija wasn’t interested in writing about the weather any more than he/she was interested in being short and quick.
I guess it all pays the same.