Sometimes in galleries and museums, I find myself worshipping and feeling like a churchgoer. I cried for Femme à la tête des roses, and knelt at her feet because I really don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything so tragic and beautiful. And beautiful doesn’t even say it! There aren’t words that can say it. Or there are, and I don’t know them, or can’t find them. This sculpture was everything. The gallery was very interesting as well, because the whole place is full of some of Dalì’s work, and the works of a lot of other artists under the influence of Dalì. Kind of an ultimate tribute to him. I’m no expert on the great artiste, so one thing I hated was the sometimes deceptive descriptions of the pieces that made me think Dalì made something he didn’t, or vice versa. Other than that though, it was marvellous.There was also a wall where people could write/draw-in funky markers-whatever they wanted. I wrote THANK YOU DALÌ in turquoise. Uncreative, but I was overwhelmed and in the process of worshipping.
Femme à la tête des roses
Above is the tear-inducing beauty that Salvador Dalì graced the world with in 1981. This photo doesn’t do it justice at all.
I don’t have a lot of insightful thoughts about what it feels like to be here today, which I think is good, because maybe it means I’m a little more present here than I was just days ago. Tomorrow I think I’ll see a play and enjoy the sunshine in the park while it lasts.
Yesterday I picked up the youngest of the girls from school, and on the walk to the school some serious clouds rolled in. There was thunder that echoed through the streets, and it got so damn hot right before it rained. And then it poured. We ran home with fat, heavy raindrops falling on us. The little one seemed distressed, but I laughed the whole way there. It reminded me of running through the rain on grad night with Katy, Dom, Maxime and Jess, and running through rainy Montreal with my sister this summer when we got completely lost one afternoon. I’ve had a lot of good rain-runs. When I told the little blonde angel that I absolutely love the rain she called me folle. Touché. We were totally drenched or trempé when we arrived back at the apartment. So we put on some dry clothes and played pirates, and then soccer in the courtyard when the rain stopped. Rain makes everything better and it’s nice to be back on good terms with Paris.
I think I found my place. It is a cafe. Perfect for writing. I can walk there. There are always paper sugar wrappers on the floor. There is a GIANT hole in the leather booth seat. There’s weird, tacky, dusty decorations everywhere. It is right next door to the school where the girls go. And the man who served me today is a complete angel. He gave me one of those rare, charming-and-not-at-all-creepy winks when I came in. And in a very animated fashion he discussed the news with a woman who was comfortably standing-not sitting-at the bar, newspaper in hand. I had a café au lait. The best part about the whole visit was when I went up and paid and said au revior, he said “bon journée, avec pleine de courage et un sourire, heh?” I smiled and agreed. Pleine de courage et un sourire indeed.
I made this silly, whimsical Paris Bucket List on the plane ride here (crazy to think that was almost 2 weeks ago). On this list I wrote be a regular somewhere. I sincerely hope that Le Petit Monceau is the place for that! Up next: learning the name of courage-sourire man!
Today I’m a grown up.
I bought a houseplant to keep my other houseplant company! I went to Office Depot! I opened a bank account! Cleaned my studio!
So a 4€ cactus and scotch tape are apparently all I needed to feel like a valid member of society. Who would have thought. As predicted, the dark clouds cleared quickly, and I’m cheerful-ish again. Today was errands and laundry and cleaning. I bought some wall goo to hang up some pictures, I figured out the fancy french washing machine.
And tomorrow: Modern Art Museum of Paris! (http://www.mam.paris.fr/en)
I’m très excited.
I saw on a post on Tumblr about “girls crying on public transit” once. I remember adoring it and thinking it was absolute girl power and absolute poetry. I think a lot of things are absolute poetry. Things that aren’t even actual poetry. Today I cried in the middle of a street, which is very similar to crying on public transit I think. rue Rembrandt to be exact. The tears streamed freely and with plenty of mascara in tow. They were the tears of a girl crying out for friendship in a place where she has none. I sat down along the sidewalk, head in hands, and I thought to myself that being caught in this compromising and vulnerable position would be The Worst thing to possibly happen. I was wrong. That was not The Worst. The Worst was when I was caught mid-apocalyptic meltdown and then ignored. The woman who saw me stared straight into my bloodshot eyes, and actively made sure to walk in a small semi-circle around me like she didn’t want to catch my highly contagious case of homesickness.
I want someone to sweep me up here. Preferably an eccentric old French woman who can invite me to tea and introduce me to her Paris. Because Paris is a city that belongs to people like her, not phonies like me. Before I left Calgary, people romanticized my future, and I resented them for it. What I didn’t realize was that I was doing it too, but in a more destructive way. In my head, the unconventional and difficult was going to be poetic and gritty, and worth it. But in this moment the park that is just as full of life as it was last Sunday is making me feel invisible. I mean sure, someone found me interesting-looking enough to draw here once, but that is a thing of the past and no one can see me today. And why in the world do I care so much about who sees? This is cyclical sadness. And as quickly as it arrived, it will pass.
I miss Calgary, my sister, my room, my friends. I miss knowing what streets are where and how to get most places. I miss fast wifi, and the times when we all had endless amounts of free time to exchange poems in Caffe Beano and talk about the future. I miss the clean slate of the Prairie, and how easy it is to fill with art. I miss seeing my mom’s face each morning, and I miss my dad’s brilliant advice.
So here I am, learning lessons that everyone in the entire world either has or hasn’t learned. Too self-aware to be immature, but too immature to be mature.
Today I went to the Louvre for the first time in my life, and it was totally overwhelming and wonderful. It’s still warm out, and it’s still Paris, so the place was packed with tourists. For that reason my favourite part was the French Sculptures because they’re all in a room with high ceilings far away from the Mona Lisa. I developed a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude as I walked through crowds of flashing Nikons and stared at Venus de Milo and saw only whoever was posing beside him at the time. For me, the visit was about absorbing as much of the place as I could. I didn’t retain a lot of information, but I ran my hands along stone railings and placed my fingers in the rivets in pillars. I gently touched doorknobs and imagined how many ancient hands had turned them without ever knowing that they would one day be handled with great care by a girl wearing doc martens and an expression of complete awe. I truly feel bad for tourists who go to the Louvre because it’s a thing ones does in Paris and then spend the entire time plotting how to get to the Mona Lisa, posing for pictures with artwork instead of actually looking at it, and buying very very expensive food that is completely within their comfort zones. There, I said it. Take a look around with your naked eyes instead of looking through a lens, people! I overheard a 60-something British woman say to her granddaughter that there was a time that you could just walk in to the museum. No lines, no maximum security for my girl, Mona. I YEARN FOR THAT TIME. But I suppose that à la fin du jour, the Louvre is a magical fairytale land no matter how many people hoot and holler and take pictures.
To walk to the Louvre from the apartment I have to walk down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. I’m convinced it is the most fabulous street in the entire universe. There are three Chanel stores, and security guards in almost every shop. The clothes are beyond dreamy. J’adore the line of men’s Dior suits and dress shoes that are all black with white polka dots. And OHMYGODVALENTINO. I felt utterly underdressed, and my jaw is tired from dropping so many times.
This post is kind of direction-less. I don’t have a point to make. I just love museums and beautiful, unattainable clothing more than anything. Oh, and writing letters home is very comforting and nice. And One Direction’s new song is great. And I bought a Zebra plant (aphelandra sqaurrosa).