Thinking About It, Again

It is my favourite recordings of a conversation with the audience. An entusiastic fan, anticipating a direction to Jim Morrison’s mention of astrology, yells out his sign. He agrees that he is a Sagitarius, describes it as the most philosophical of all signs and finishes by denouncing any belief in it. In a wonderful moment of irony, the enthusiastic fan immediately echoes his sentiment.

But, it is what he says afterwards that I am interested in today.

I don’t know what’s going to happen man but I want to have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.

I’ve seen his grave. He went up in flames first.

That said, and taking Père Lachaise into consideration, what would a sustainable hedonistic lifestyle require? I think I will try to find some supportable prudes, ones I can talk to without wanting to pullout my hair in rage. Their objections will help me work out the answer.

Doing It

I take a picture to make sure that I do not confuse my memories with my imagination. An American 1950’s pickup truck with a California licence plate in the middle of Avignon’s theatre district is surreal enough to be a scene from some art house movie. It reminds me of American Graffiti.

I change my mind. It is a trophy photo. Proof of what I found while I was there.

I’m on my way to see a play and I realize it is cliché. Been there, done that. Avignon is known for two things: its 14th century popes and its arts festival. Then again, if it wasn’t for the oversized theatre scene, chances are that I would have found something else to do.

The title, Elvis’ Kitchen, caught my attention. The blurb advertising sex, food and happiness decided me. Sex sells.

I decide to rebrand my adventure to Went there, did that.

I am still wondering if the truck belongs to a famous actor, or maybe a rock star. I could probably scan the internet to find out if one has been spotted in town. Who else would ship a vintage truck to Europe?

I throw out the star theory. The pickup is missing a paint job and there are signs of recent restoration work. There is a story behind the truck. A story that will probably be told on a motor-themed cable channel.

The theater looks closed but there are other people waiting. One is on the phone. I read the poster.

“Are you waiting for the play?”

“Yes?”

“I just called, tonight’s performance is cancelled.”

“Thank you.”

I spend my evening in a taqueria. It’s the first authentic one I’ve seen in France. I feel the effect of the beers when I stand up to go.

“What did you do this weekend?”

Bits and Pieces

If writers are to be trusted, life stories start with a momentous happening that disturbs the innocence and ever afterward, everything that ever happens is in one long uninterrupted narrative. Personally, my story is like the random extracts of a daytime soap opera. A scene here, a scene there, a momentous happening, and then more random scenes.

I am watching Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando walk through 1971’s Paris. I’m mentally comparing it to the city 50 years later and, in my awe of the change, I try to picture Paris as I first saw it in 1985. I then remember that I visited Paris in the 60’s. My childhood photo album tells me so. My mother told me we had gone to spend the holidays with some cousins of my father.

The photo album finishes shortly after my sixth birthday. I can remember pieces of three scenes from that period in time. Only one is captured, the trip to Italy.

I remember wearing my dad’s sunglasses, being a big boy, well on the way to being man. The bit was so much fun that we repeated it later on the train. And I remember rowing in a harbour (I like to think it was Naples but there are no pictures). This was years before I would be told that I had forgotten that there was also a “nanny” on the trip. My mother had stayed at home with my brothers.

I can also remember playing tag with my brothers. I was it and chasing them. The youngest dives into a doorway; My other brother follows him; He closes the door; I raise my arm to protect my face; My hand goes through the glass panel. I also remember my father cleaning out the wound, dressing it while telling me had been medical student. That sort of door would not be legal today.

And I remember Geneva’s flower clock. I should say that I remember remembering it. From since I can remember, when people would ask me what I remembered about my place of birth, I would tell that the clock was my only memory of it. I later added a pilgrimage to the story. And now, my memory of the clock is more of the story than the happening.

Quote of the Day

Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.

“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.” — George Orwell, The Freedom Defence Committee (1948-09-18)

Comfort Bias

I am as I appear to be, authentically me. But no one sees all of me. And the view I have of myself is biased.

I need a haircut. I went to the new Old West themed restaurant instead. French’s mustard isn’t French mustard.

She says I look like a hunter in my hat. Usually I’m told it’s an Indiana Jones look. She doesn’t seem to know him. I was aiming for 40’s detective. It’s still a success, the look gets positive reviews.

I tell her I like the way she looks with her hair down. It lasts one day. Longer than I thought it would. She’s too comfortable with me to be uncomfortable for me.

The first time I signed up to play a part in a play it was just for kicks. I am now rehearsing for my fourth play. The novelty has worn off. I am now outside of my comfort zone.

Grand Opening

Where do I start?

With an opening line.

And what is an opening line?

It is the first line of a piece.

What are you calling a piece?

A piece. A piece is a piece of writing.

And?

An essay, an article, or a story.

So the opening line tells you what you are about to read?

Not necessarily. A good one grabs your attention.

How?

By making you interested in what comes after.

How?

By telling you or by not telling you what you are about to read.

Then it could be anything.

Yes but not just any thing. It has to be interesting.

So it has to be interesting to make you interested. How do you do that?

You can tell them what it is about to let the reader see it is interesting.

Or?

You can not tell them to make them interested in finding out what it is about.

Either you hope it is something that interests them or you trick them into wanting to find out what it is about?

Or it can be clever, or unusual, or thought-provoking.

As long as it is interesting?

Yes.

So I need to start with any thing that grabs the reader’s attention.

Yes, but it’s too late. We’re at the end now.