“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.”
Welcome to Sydney for a bit of a late night decaf. It’s virtually midnight here so I wouldn’t recommend caffeine. That is, unless you’re just waking up, which could very well be the case.
I am pleased to report that the book project has taken a huge step forward this week and is gaining substance and structure. As my book project is non-fiction, I’ve decided not to take part in Nano this month but after reading all these posts about writing thousands of words a day, I felt inspired. My book project has been in some kind of extended coma and before they decide to switch off the life support, I really wanted to throw myself into it. I have an incredible story to tell. Surely, I can get it told?!!
Researching the book, I found myself reading through the journal I wrote as a 21 year old staying at the Hotel Henri IV at 25 Rue Dauphine and performing my poetry at the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop. Naturally, I couldn’t leave Paris out of my story even if the city of love in my case (no doubt like so many), turned into the city of heartbreak.
I was reading my journal and looking at my photos mentally trying to retrace my steps through the narrow streets to a cafe we went to somewhere on the left bank. Being backpackers, we went there because the coffee was cheap and you didn’t have to pay extra to sit outside. That we drank our coffee from plastic cups, didn’t seem to matter. There were backpackers there from all over the world and such a lively, vibrant atmosphere. That’s what we were there for.
However, even though I went to that cafe virtually every day we were in Paris, I can’t find it. I have a terrible sense of direction and I was walking round and round inside my head not getting anywhere. So, I decided to find a street map online. I Googled our Hotel and the next thing I knew, I was flying over the rooftops with my magic umbrella. It was so surreal. Switching to pedestrian view, I actually landed and was standing in front of our hotel and I turned around and saw Place Dauphine. I can’t tell you how that felt. It really blew me away. Suddenly, those photos I’d taken 22 years ago were no longer just fragments but part of a panorama. I walked to the corner and there was Pont Neuf. Before I knew it, I was zooming through the streets with oncoming traffic heading towards me. Seemingly, even going through me. It was feeling a bit like Mario Kart WII meets roadrunner and I was invincible.
I was fully immersed in Paris.
I know this isn’t exactly new technology but I’d never thought of using it to revisit Paris like this and I certainly didn’t expect it to feel so real. I was there and yet I wasn’t. It felt incredibly freaky, a bit exhilarating and it’s filled in a lot of gaps, especially in where my photos were taken.
Anyway, all of this “research” has felt like I’ve somehow manged to construct that elusive time machine. I might not have mastered how to go forward but I’m certainly doing well in reverse.
However, my time travels do not end here.
I was going through my journal and while it’s mostly my ramblings, friends and I suspect even strangers, have added drawings. I’d forgotten all about these and am not even sure how they got there. However, that was also where I found an address for the American guys we’d spent a lot of time with. I didn’t even bother checking if it was still current but a Google search dished up an email address. I know it’s been 22 years and it must seem a bit crazy to get in touch but we knew them pretty well and back in the day, we didn’t have email or Facebook to handle these long-distance friendships. AS much as it was great to receive overseas mail, it was a pain to send. I know it’s silly. The post office is just down the street and yet it might as well be on the moon!
I sent the email and much to my delight. I receive a reply…and some photos attached. I was thrilled. My friend was really pleased to hear from me and it’s been a real buzz! So exciting!
So, all of this “research” has transformed a fairly ordinary week into an incredible adventure.
Returning to the home front, our son returned from his Canberra Excursion. He returned with a husky voice and said the highlight was going to The Mint and he said he saw the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. His teacher gave me a thumbs up so that was a relief. Bilbo, our Border Collie, is on a reducing dose of prednisone to treat his flea allergy and is improving except his appetite is incredible He is starving. He’s lost a lot of weight so we give him a bit extra. It’s just awful to see him going through this and not being able to explain what’s happening. We’re now on the countdown to my end of year violin concert so I’m madly trying to practice. We’re performing Pirates of the Caribbean and Eine Kleine Nacht Musik. Our daughter is also off to rehearsals weekly as she’s appearing in a mass choir at School Spectacular at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Then there’s the dance concert coming up. Mister is off at another Scout Camp to prepare Jamboree in January. Geoff starts work at 4.00AM tomorrow morning so I’d better get to bed before he wakes up!
I hope you’ve had a great week! Are you doing the Nano Challenge? If so, let me know how it’s going. I’ve pretty much decided not to read these but I might pick the odd one.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoy our coffee and perhaps you have a few memories or stories to share of Paris. I’d love to hear them!