Monday, December 20, 2021

The Preface To A Curious Confluence: From Paris

 Like most people, I have always thought that I had a novel in me.  But I never was able to figure out what it might be about.

That was true until the first time I went to France.

From the first moment I encountered Paris I felt stories shrieking at me to be told.

Every nook, cranny, alley, downspout, petite Place, grande Place, every Passage, monument, church, bridge, bistro and bar screamed “take me; make me part of your story”.  Or “make me your story”.  Or “listen to me: I have your story.”

But it was an odd chance encounter with a non-human fellow creature that served as the inspiration for this – my first - novel.

That encounter occurred early one evening when I had returned to the apartment my wife and had rented on Rue Guissard. 

It was about 1700. It was dark.  I was tired. For reasons I have never been able to ascertain, I didn’t turn on the lights in the apartment when I entered.  Maybe it was because there was ample, blinking low watt, multi-colored illumination coming in from the restaurant sign outside the casements on Rue Guissard, to make the place pleasantly, colorfully, blinkingly dim.  

So I left the light off.

I sat down in a chair and dropped off to sleep.

After an indeterminate time I awoke.  It hadn’t been long.  The sign was blinking.  The room alternated between being drenched in semi darkness and being dimly, colorfully lit.  

I was giving serious thought to a glass of wine.

Then I heard something.  

I have reasonably acute hearing for some things; I am virtually deaf to others. The things that I always seem to hear have something to do with animals; frequently those sounds are the sounds of small animals. Such was the case on this occasion.

What I had heard was a mouse.  It was sitting not far from me bathed in the oscillating multi-colored light and was eating crumbs from the breakfast baguette and croissants.

I was entranced.

He or she sat there and finished the meal. When it finished I swear I thought it nodded its head in my direction as if acknowledging my presence.  Then it went back to some place from which it had come.

I sat there happily.

I have always liked mice.

Although most of the places, and a few of the occurrences, in this book are substantially real everything else is imagined. 


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