Saturday, June 9, 2012

Traverse The World

Many people do different things when they go through a major upheaval in life.  Some might call it a mid-life crisis, I would have called it a mid-life explosion.  The end of things, a change of priorities, the sifting of souls, etc.  Whatever you want to call it, I learned an important lesson, embrace the free fall.  At the time, I was reading a lot of Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Proust, D.H. Lawrence and George Orwell's lesser known work and even a lovely bit of Charles Chaplin's life.  They were my counsel and guides through the city of Paris and in particular about poverty.  When I came to Paris the first time, I did not seek out the glamor of the higher rent districts.  I sought out the streets of Pigalle in the 18th and in the 19th, I met an assortment of people from all walks of life.  Each district, in their own way said they were the "real Paris", while others weren't Paris at all.  To an outsider, it appears that there is a bit of having to validate yourself.  Is the Eiffel Tower...Paris or is the person staring at the Eiffel...Paris?  It seems in the city, so full of symbols about freedom and liberty, one would realize the importance of not having to dominate others in order to have a 'free and open' society.  It was in Paris I had prepared myself for the 48,000 miles I would travel within 3 years and I began my journey on a street named for an ancient route.  I do take notes along the way, because the signposts have seemed like funny coincidences. 
So I felt like I was going to undergo an ancient journey, since I was free to do so.  All obligations had fallen away and my time in Paris, writing what I saw, experienced, and learnt enabled me to focus on illusion, reality, fantasy, art, love, passion and the experience of being apart of a city that is known for the world walking through it.  Countless creatives come to Paris for some sort of divine inspiration.  Often many fantasize about becoming someone important, famous through whatever they create in the city with a focus on becoming "somebody".  Of course that totally destroys the process and more often than not, you see copies of other brushstrokes instead of the original.  The original gets buried somewhere because of that gnawing fear of public rejection or being made a fool of in the gallery world.  That fickle world of art, where experts proclaim or denounce a person and you cannot make a mistake.  I met many a great artist, many a good artist, and many a poor artist.  Perfect strokes of illusion that copied other lives and yet, even in advanced ages, failed to live their own.  Too caught up in the image game in order to be "accepted".

Wandering around in Pere La Chaise, sometimes feeling that death was more celebrated than life in Paris.  It's a strange city that actually celebrates pain more than love, often equating misery with art as I recalled an artist who showed her "Dear Jane" rejection letter to strangers to ask what they thought of it and using their responses to gain press.  I found it rather pointless because all she did accomplish was a way to exploit her relationship failure and make it public.  In a way, a bitter cast-off.  Bitter women are miserable to be around and are never pleased with anyone.  How does one heal with an openly wounded heart if you keep ripping off the emotional bandages??
Perhaps Saint Roger has an answer for the lovelorn...and then again, perhaps talking to stain glassed windows loaded with lead might earn you a well needed rest in a observation ward.

Paris, is not just a city famous for love, but is infamous for its suicides.  Whether it's jumping into the Seine, or in front of a Metro train, Paris is quite possibly the most famous city you can choose to die in. 



So why does this city seem to suck the life out of the young and aspiring? Hmmm.
When I returned to the states I stayed in a very small township.  The town was named "Divide."  I myself was divided.  I felt old beliefs shattered.  I felt new ones trying to take root without any success.
And that was a good thing.

1 comment:

lilasvb said...

great post, i love it, your way of travelling