8 March 2022
I’ve done it: made the decision to flee this life for a bit. So, I’m headed to Paris for a month (exact time not to be disclosed here). I plan to write, write, write.
Why Paris? I could be facetious and say, “Why not?” but that isn’t the tone or tenor I want to convey. It was actually a toss-up between Paris and London. Both cities were important to T.S. Eliot, and I wanted to step into his shadows for a brief time. I decided against London for a variety of reasons, some related to Eliot himself, some having absolutely nothing to do with him. In all, I am not a fan of London; I was there in 1971 and did not find the food or the climate appealing. I’m sure it has changed considerably, but I don’t think I have, so London was a negative for me. Besides, most of Eliot’s love of England was for those places outside of London.
Paris—I was there in 1971 as well and, having arrived there from London, it was like coming out of winter into spring. The weather, the food, and the people—all comprised a wonderful experience for me. I don’t expect to recreate that, but I think that the atmosphere will be conducive to my writing. And, I particularly want to go back to the Jardin de Tuileries to go to the Musee de l’Orangerie and simply envelop myself in Monet’s Water Lilies there.
So, I’m trying to teach myself some basic French, I’m bringing my still-in-progress novel and my poetry, and I’m going to write, write, write. Ah, there’s also a small side trip to the building where Eliot stayed as a student in 1910-1911: No. 151 bis Rue St. Jacques.