Sunday, August 14, 2011


There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.  ~ Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith
Last night I decided to go to Capitol Theatre on the west side to see a movie my brother told me I would like, Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." Indeed, I enjoyed it. A lot. Without giving too much away, the plot revolves around this successful Hollywood movie-script writer, Gil (played by Owen Wilson), who tags along with his fiance, Inez, and her parents to Paris for a business deal her father was completing. Long story short, Gil falls in love with Paris again (he went once before and regretted leaving). This ties in very closely to how I felt the first time I was there in 2004 and then again this year. Maybe it's the romantic in me, the writer in me, or both, but something pulls me in so strongly when I'm there. Gil wishes he could go back in time to Paris in the 1920s during Picasso, Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald's time and while walking back to his hotel one night, he is mysteriously transported to that era.

Suffice it to say, he runs into Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Faulkner and Salvador Dali among other great artists and writers. If someone were watching me as the light from the screen played off my face, they'd have seen a huge smile throughout that entire movie. I related completely with Gil, who had this endearing naive innocent way of viewing the world around him. What I wouldn't give to meet all of those historic figures and just sit there in enamored fascination and listen. There is no coincidence in my mind that many of the greatest artists and writers created their works while in Paris. It's as though that city carries this effervescent energy that emanates its history while inspiring and moving its present. And in the film, as he continues his journey, Gil learns much more about himself and his writing than he realized.

I, too, feel like I'm on a path of rediscovery. I haven't felt this passionate about writing again in a long time. It's as though a flame has been re-lit deep down inside me. I'm seeing characters in people all around me and the details of every scent, breeze, shared glance or touch I experience are like pools of paint colors, waiting to create a tapestry; snippets of stories waiting to be told. When I think about why I love writing to much, I have trouble explaining it. I just know that when I was in elementary school and we had an assignment to write a short story, I found myself completely immersed in the project. It never once felt like work. And having had a very active imagination that lasted well into my early teen years -- and I suppose never left in some ways -- writing also feels like a release valve for that imagination or my emotions and experiences. It's like holding your breath under water, feeling your lungs screaming for air and then when you hit the surface, feeling that blast of relief. While I've also dabbled in drawing, sketching, etc., and have always loved and carried a great admiration for art; writing, in a lot of ways, feels like painting or drawing as well. It's creating a vision with words fueled by the senses. It's an element of exposure and vulnerability that requires a level of risk-taking. And it nourishes growth in me, as all passions should.

Just seeing Paris again on film last night gave me that deja vu, familiar sensation that hasn't left. And on my ride back home with the giant, golden hued moon as my compass, I breathed a whimsical sigh, suddenly overcome by a feeling of both slight trepidation and excitement for what's to come.

Who knows ... maybe one day soon, a much longer visit to Paris.

~ C ~

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