There are instances that your life pivots around. As I’m sitting in Paris at one of Hemingway’s favorite spots, Les Deux Magots, I’m reminded of his influence on my love and understanding of literature and writing. Hills Like White Elephants challenged everything I ever knew about storytelling and was the catalyst for my obsession with short stories and blunt prose. It seemed fitting to make a pilgrimage to this cafe on my last day in Paris to reflect on what this city has shown me.
In one glorious Parisian day I had three pivotal experiences. At the Musee d’Orsay I experienced firsthand the powerful depth of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. The myriad of colors he uses just to paint a piece of blue sky reminds me that everyone sees the world a little differently. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to experience a tiny piece of Van Gogh’s view, and I am making it a point to see more of his work firsthand throughout my life.
As I reluctantly left the Impressionism exhibit, I stumbled upon some Neo-Impressionist paintings. Familiar with the phrase only in the context of art discussions way over my head, I had no idea what I was walking into. I stood in front of the first piece and immediately felt something change. Neo-Impressionist paintings are distinguished by their use of dots of color. The subjects range from abstract representations to detailed portraits and scenes. Standing close to the paintings you can easily identify the individual dots. But as you back away, the specks become an image that is incredibly moving. I won’t share the embarrassingly cheesy metaphor these paintings inspired, (I tend to analyze everything in a manner similar to a low-budget indie film) but I will say that falling in love with this new genre is incredibly refreshing. Just another reminder of how much I’ve yet to see.
Finally, my group of new friends and I stumbled upon a jazz club near Notre Dame. I swear those stairs took me to a 1920’s speakeasy. The place was packed with people dancing to fantastic live music. I guess I had forgotten that places like that existed. After being spun around the dance floor to Sinatra, I don’t think I’ll ever set foot in a modern nightclub again. We probably should have stopped making music after 70’s funk.
That one day reminded me that I can enjoy the things that really make me happy regardless of what other people my age are doing. I can’t imagine anything better than a day filled with inspiring art and unforgettable music.
Except maybe cajun food. I really miss gumbo.