Writing Practice and the Muse who is ALWAYS THERE
Writing Leap #51
Hi Writers Out There,
We were recently in Paris for three weeks and near where we were staying there is a papeterie, a tiny store that sells newspapers, pens and glorious notebooks of many kinds. You can find all sizes stacked on shelves, some lined, some plain and my favorite, notebooks with graph paper.
I carried three in my bag and tried my dear husband’s patience when I pulled one out at most street corners to capture a moment or a glimpse of something. “You wouldn’t see this, or hear this, or feel quite this way back home!” I would say.
With your writer’s sensibility to “stories” all around you, notebooks for grabbing the freshness of a moment while traveling are essential. Later when you are back home you can fill out your stories from your authentic first impressions and not just from your memory or photo shot.
So Traveling Writers. Lots of pens and lots of notebooks.
Here’s one of my moments, expanded from a few scribbled lines.
I stared at the Louvre across the Seine. It stretched the length of three quais. Hundreds of beautiful tall French windows. Poor Louis XVI and the thousands in attendance to him whose home this was. Beheaded with his wife Marie Antoinette because of all his high-ceilinged rooms gilded pure gold, his walls covered in silk brocade, his powdered wigs, his delicate lace cuffs–all given to him and him alone by God himself.
A woman draped in a dreary shawl picked something up from the sidewalk and approached me.
“Madame, excuse me, but look at this ring,” she said. “It looks like real gold.” She showed me some markings on the inside of the ring. “Sadly, I can’t wear it.” She began to try it on her fingers to show me. Her accent in French was foreign and she mumbled. I wasn’t sure if she said it was too small for her or that it was against her religion to wear it.
“I want you to have it,” she said and held the ring out to me. “You should have it,” she said. I saw kindliness in her face. I looked at her and smiled back. I had an impulse to accept it and actually took it in my hand.
My friend coughed in her glove and threw me a stern look. “No, no,” she said. “Just put it here on this closed up book stall. Come on. Right on top.” I gave the ring back to the woman and she walked away.
Then she turned back and said, “Please, just a few coins. My children are very hungry.”
My friend and I hustled on. “Do you suppose that was a set-up?” I asked. “Rather,” she said.
But I was wondering what the woman’s name might be. Maybe we should have given her something.
A few days later on a boulevard in another Paris neighborhood, a man leaned down and picked up a gold ring off the sidewalk. He offered it to my husband and me.
LINKING THE ARTS
A Good Word for Writers: Wallop, as in “Writer’s Wallop.” Feeling a moment in your gut and getting it down fast before it loosens its hold.