I mentioned in a previous post that it is absolutely impossible for me to read a book without a pen in my hand. I underline, draw stars next to favorite sentences and write and draw all over the margins. By the time I finish a book it is a mess. I've promised myself that someday I will go back and read all those notes I scribbled down. Now maybe my blog will give me an excuse to revisit some of those books.
I'm starting with A Writer's Paris: A Guided Journey For the Creative Soul by Eric Maisel.
The focus of this book is to go to Paris, not as a tourist but as a writer. Every time I saw the word "writer" I would add artist/photographer to it. It is something that I have thought about for years. What does it mean to travel not as a tourist but to feed my creative life?
One of the first sections of the book is titled Pure Flâneur. To the french, flânerie is strolling as an art form. Maisel says "The flâneur is an observer who wanders the streets of a great city on a mission to notice with childlike enjoyment the smallest events and the obscurest sights he encounters." There is nothing I enjoy more when traveling than wandering - taking pictures of things that catch my eye, stopping in cafes for coffee and chocolate. To me that is heaven.
Here are a few more things I wrote down in the margins or underlined.
• Go to museums (and other major tourist sights) as an artist not as an tourist. If you arrive at 3:00 with the crowds you have no choice but to be a tourist. If you go on a weekday morning when the museum first opens you can experienece it as an artist.
• What do I want my first thought to be when I wake up in a new place. Maisel says that while he is in Paris, his first thought is "Where will I write". For me I think it would be Where do I want to wander? Or more likely - Where do I want to get my coffee and chocolate croissant?
• Writers and artists are built to explore. "You were born to run off to the sea, to visit the world's great cities, to investigate the hidden corners of unfamiliar cultures."