642 in 20 · On Writing

642 in 20 # 5

That day in Paris.

photo credit:vanessa shields

That day in Paris, I was alone. The others went where they went. I pretended to know where I was going, found a subway station, and headed to Le Select, a cafe that Hemingway wrote in.

I wanted to write in the same place that he wrote. I wanted to see if I could feel him. Feel his writing energy. His gift.

The place was perfect.

Hollywood-style red light sign in hand-writing across the roof. Beckoning me. Chairs and tables on the patio. People sitting, smoking, eating, reading. I would be the writer.

Inside, a cat. A fat cat who’d been around for ages. Rolling around sexily on its back like this place was at its beck and call.

I found a small table for two. Chose the booth seat to sit it so I could face the restaurant full-on. Drink it in. Gather its energy.

I ordered a bottle of Coke Classic and a ham sandwich with cheese on French bread. I wasn’t hungry but the food is part of the magic in Paris.

I opened my journal, opened my pen and waited. For the words. To come.

I wrote poetry. Putting what my eyes saw into stanzas of words on the paper. I wrote and ate. And wrote and drank. And time slipped away like the cat who disappeared about a poem in.

I wondered if Hemingway sat where I was sitting. I wonder if he drank Coke Classic and ate ham sandwiches. Although, none of it mattered really.

photo credit:vanessa shields

That day in Paris it was me and the words. Me and the page. Me and Paris. And I felt home.

I think if I could choose to go back in time to a place with people who I’ve always wanted to meet, it’d be to Paris in the 30s. I’d write and drink and box with Hem and Fitz and Zelda and Gertrude and Picasso…the whole gang.

Midnight in Paris, a film by the great Woody Allen captures this dream of mine. Thanks, Woody.

That day in Paris, I wasn’t afraid to be alone. I wasn’t afraid to be a poet. I wasn’t afraid to write.

Paris is a freckle on my body of writing. Growing and shrinking with the sun of my poetic energy.

That day in Paris was not my last, nor will it ever be. I will return. To write. To  love. To embrace my other home.

photo credit:vanessa shields

2 thoughts on “642 in 20 # 5

  1. Next visit you will not have to pretend your destination because you will then have your own cafe.
    So many things have happened in your life since your trip to France.


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