Saturday, 31 October 2015


Yesterday there were cobblestones underfoot, and renaissance palaces to walk through. Footsore and peckish, we let our fellow tourists line up for Kosher falafel sandwiches outside the Carnavalet museum without us. We wanted a sit-down place. 
The Marais is an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and a friendly bearded man in black addressed Paddy.
“Sir, are you Jewish?” he asked, right out of the blue.
“No,” Paddy said, right into the black. (Paddy wears black, too; in Spain he is sometimes mistaken for a Catholic priest. This Jew thing was something new.)
“Have a nice day, then,” the guy said. 
He moved right along to the next white male in black, probably hoping to make someone’s Jewishness bigger and better and more like his own. Evangelism is alive and well in the streets of Paris, apparently… but the grace on offer was available only to the already Chosen.  
We were not Chosen, but we’re privileged. We found a little restaurant right around the next corner, and I rolled the dice on the “plat du jour,” the unlisted Daily Special. It turned out to be a vast enamel pot of moules – fresh mussels steamed in magically delicious broth.
Moules. No, I did not take this picture.
Dessert was a pear poached in Bergerac. The food was sublime, the neighborhood noisy and dirty – I wiped my chin and the napkin came away smeared grey with whatever hangs in the Paris air.
I like visiting cities – not  just because of the food and the missionaries. Mostly because of the great artwork cities store up inside equally great buildings. An old city is like a big grandma, the streets are the dozens of pockets on her apron, and in each one is a fistful of stories and pictures.
Now we are home, back in sunny, silent Moratinos. I am always interested in what I take away from a few days in a great place, especially now that I don’t carry a camera with me. What was valuable enough for me to snap a photo of, with my &&^% “smart” phone?
Here is the one thing:
I took this picture, and yeah, it's out of focus. Nothing is lost, however. 
It’s an Anselm Keifer painting, on show in Paris at the Bibliotheque Nacionale. (Yeah, some go to Paris and see the opera, the Eiffel tower, or the Moulin Rouge.We go to the library.)
The picture is huge and heavy, and top and center is a huge, heavy book made of lead. Books and pictures and stories, all of it much on my mind these days. I am writing a book in November, starting tomorrow. I have emptied out all but the very end of November to do this, so if you do not see a blog post, you will know why.
And if you have read this blog from the start, you will know what, and about whom. 

I am writing this story, all over again, hopefully in a more coherent and meaningful way. 
So I am going off the radar for a little while. 
Don't forget me when I'm gone.  


Alan said...

Not Likely!

Amanda Schaffer said...

Rebekah, happy writing this month -- looking forward to reading your book!
* The Marais is a great neighborhood -- my dad and I stayed there a couple days before starting our second Camino at Tour de Jacques -- so historical!

EileenHamer said...

Ahh, November.
17,927 words into the current NaNo novel. It's the only way I can write a draft. Without a framework and a challenge--even one so minor as NaNo--I quite before I even get this far. Hoping you're well and puttering along, spitting those words out onto paper. Or the computer. Or something.
All the best to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Love that painting (actually a few of them tucked in the staircase not so far from the Egyptian mummies...Kiefer is a visionary, for sure,

love, k...see you soon!