The first week of August

Paul took the early train this morning to Berlin. I helped him drag his four big and bigger pieces of luggage to the station. This is my first day alone; no I will strike that out. But I don’t. My first day for nothing but whatever I want. All the writing I want, or, none at all. So far, I have been circumventing. I went to the Cluny Museum. That was good. It instantly quelled the inner banging. Lots of sculptures of women, all saint someone of course,* holding up empty books, or half-opened books with nothing written on the pages. The symbolism of book, enough I presume to imply words. But I did find that inspiring and intriguing, given that I am here to write about emptiness, the blank page. The blank page my mother disappeared into almost fifty years ago now and the words I look for to give her a shape, signs of her here to put onto that blank page. This is a museum I will return to often I think. I sunned on the Seine – the Paris plage in a sand so fine it still sticks to my toes and read my introduction to philosphy book : Plato’s Sun, by Andrew Lawless. That too helps. I like the idea that philosophy is about finding a beautiful idea. I also like the idea that Plato was a frustrated poet who abandonned poetry for philosophy and then Nietzsche rejected Plato’s ideas and based his entire philosphy on “poiesis”, the making. There is only the making; what is fixed, what is true is always changing. So here I am – making. Then the phone rang, the internal phone, but who could that be? The only other person I know here is Jocelyne and she is gone to Britany for a few days holiday. A writer from Québec, can he visit the studio to see what it looks like? Come as you are, take it as it is – a mess. Omnipresent is Paul’s extraction from this place and my piles of things to make sense of. My next creative act was making the windows clean. Wow were they dirty. And then, all the little bits of brochures and papers collected over the past weeks, the flotsam and jetsam pushed to the edge of our movements, have now been gone through and are in two piles: the recycle and the save for another day.

* Sainte Barbara and Sainte Genevieve

I am just back now from an evening stroll and I am waiting for Paul to show up on skype, live from Berlin. There is no sign of people having left for their holidays in this area, only a few stores closed with gone on vacation signs hanging on their doors. It is as busy as ever. Paris Plage is in full momentum right outside my window. The traffic on the road between here and the Seine is like a giant cable of solid metal and noise grinding endlessly into the night. The lights from the tourist boats cast shadows from the trees and their loudspeakers blast chinese, french and english into my appartment as they glide down river. But, It is the audacity of the scooter and motorcycle drivers that amazes me. They weave in and out and between the lanes of traffic or blast up the bicycle, taxi and bus lanes and if there is no room there, they make their own lane down the line in the middle of the road. Nothing and no one stops them. Parisian pidgeons seem to have adopted similar daredevil strategies.  I haven’t witnessed any accidents yet, but have had to swerve to save a body part several times. Many cars have scrape and bump signs on their side fenders.