I didn’t know you were this packed, Paris. I mean, I know everyone loves you and everyone’s supposed to love you even if they don’t really. But seriously, the traffic? I wanted to throw myself into the Seine at one point. Instead I just collapsed on the grass in the Jardin du Luxembourg and propped myself up long enough for a photo before unlocking that elbow and having a tantrum on my back like Harry Enfield’s Kevin.
Clinging on to life in the Jardin du Luxembourg
I wanted everyone to just stop walking INTO MY FACE for five minutes so that I could see Paris for a second. But then again I’m a bit of a country bumpkin when it comes to cities and I tend to just have a strop in the middle of pavements until people move past me. Look at these folks with their back to Notre Dame. Do they know they’re facing the wrong way?
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin du Luxembourg in August is an absolute godsend. Little toddling boys and girls in clothes that toddling children should wear (i.e. not jeans or clothes with words on) lean over the stone wall and place little wooden yachts into the water and gaze at them as the wind takes them on their near horizontal adventures across the lake. It is a place where you will manage to to regain some peace and be able to face the rest of Paris again.
Shakespeare & Co.
I think I was sulking at being so hemmed in at Shakespeare & Co. (If you don’t know what Shakespeare & Co. is then you’re at the wrong site and you need to go here instead).
As I was saying, I was sulking.
She can inject life into the empty rooms and turn all heads towards her, awakening lost and tired eyes. Her energy prevents you from succumbing to the routine of daily life. She can whisk up the debris of her surroundings and pick you all up until you are like plates on a stick, spinning and balanced high above your usual level. Your comfort zone fades into the distance as you are swept along on her wave of laughter and lack of self consciousness. Her raw energy inspires and intimidates. She does so much for other people. She exhausts you. Her relentless introspection and projection of her findings leaves you craving a solitary corner. Bewildered at her lack of awareness of those around her you withdraw into yourself, at the same time reaching out to those closest to you for reassurance that you are right in feeling how you do, and for some mutual understanding. She talks of nothing but herself and her work for others, work which noone asks her to do. She is compelled to offer up her time for all those around her yet is unable to act altruistically for long. Those closest to her are subjected to list upon list of charitable acts which have rendered her more tired than the rest of us, and therefore more deserving of preferential treatment. Any attempts to articulate ones own voice is met with a lack of awareness that someone else has spoken. Her need to be in constant contact with someone means that she gives the impression of being more supportive to others than the rest of us, but they don’t hear the way she applauds herself for this and judges those who choose to keep their problems to themselves.
I was sat perched on the end of a sofa Saturday evening wondering what to do with my night. If I leant back into the sofa and allowed myself to relax I would probably have inadvertently caught up on 6 weeks of shitty sleep and that would have resulted in the sack, obesity, and sub consciously getting addicted to a soap. But, if I stood up I would have to look as though I had some sort of destination. I was rapidly getting my head around plan A.
Then my phone beeped at me and told me that there was a competition deadline on Sunday.
On the theme of love.
In particular, romantic love, or the absurdities of love.
Now, other than writing technical manuals (Oh, wait, that’s my day job – what was so wrong with plan A after all?) there is nothing I want to write about less than love at the moment. I’m even starting to wonder whether perhaps it wouldn’t be too much trouble to take a Stanley knife to my book collection and meticulously cut around the word love in every book so that I can just get on with reading about war, misery, and political exile instead.
Perhaps it’s from my schooling, during which we weren’t allowed to take our blazers off until the whole class, in alphabetical order, had answered a math’s question correctly (sucks to be a Williams), but I now couldn’t contemplate anything other than meeting this deadline. P.S. Sorry sir, I chose words over numbers in the end.
And as though I was still stood there in the maths class sweltering under a blazer I started to panic at what was going to happen to my brain when I started to quiz myself on love. I think I actually shook my head from side to side a bit while I was writing, to avoid looking at my own words. I decided that the least input from me the better. And so it happened. I gave the guard of my self-preservation door a wink and told him to come back in a couple of hours, and let myself cough up some memories of absurd romantic love stuff.
If the judges are also looking for ‘absurd’ in terms of writing style then I may be in with a chance, but if they want decent content then I may be lacking somewhat. I’m a little out of practice but if I do happen to get placed then I may invest in a door stop and see what else comes out.
It’s that brilliant day, which arrives every quarter, where I come home drained of all my hopes and dreams (7 hours updating a spreadsheet can do that to the most hardcore of day dreamers) only to be instantly pulled up by my imaginary braces (I wish I could wear braces to work without dodgy looks) at the sight of the Mslexia writing magazine on the doormat.
It’s the sort of magazine which makes you feel like you’re ready to conquer the literary world the moment you lay it flat on its back, take both hands to the cellophane wrapper, and rip it open the way Bond girls show a crisp white shirt who’s boss.
This edition features the winners of the ‘Monsters’ theme. I wish I had ripped my writers block to shreds like I did the wrapping of this magazine but alas, it beat me. Damn it, I should’ve written about writer’s block being a monster. F*ck you, hindsight.
There is the usual showcasing of some blogs and I’ve already been sidetracked by Isabella Costello’s great Literary Sofa.
It also talks of creating your own creative writing MA. This is something I’m particularly interested in, as I often think of how fun it would be to trail the Internet for all the wonderful writing sources there are out there and piece together the most amazing home-made course and teach it to yourself. Perhaps I should undercut all the universities charging £5k+ for their attempts and start an underground university. Bit like Dead Poets Society but with cocktails and wifi.