In just over a month I was meant to visiting Paris again. It would’ve been the second time this year, the second set of pandemic worries that Europe has faced. It would also have been only a matter of weeks before the UK finally left the EU. ‘Tis not to be, though. For many reasons it simply hasn’t worked out. And for once, it’s neither because of money nor because of an argument with the missus. What I have done is adjusted the date of the visit by three months. Which is cool. I’d like to say it gives me longer to save up for the increased hotel price and travel fares, but with Christmas and multiple birthdays, it certainly isn’t the case. There is, as you know with me, always a plus side. It came in the form of criticism.
I’m not one to take criticism well. Rarely have done. Even when I was first introduced to the term constructive criticism, back in my college days. I never liked it. I don’t like to give it, either. I provide feedback.
I actually received a few bits like this the other day. It was almost refreshingly nice. It certainly gave me some ideas and, day I say it, possibly influenced my writing. A part of my Masters involves critiquing others’ work. As a result, they must do the same with mine. I didn’t offer up my assignment piece – which is the introduction section back on the 19th October. I instead posted in the Open University workshop the entry whereby I visited the toilet in Westfield at Les Halles. I’d given it a title for the blog and the thousand-word word count seemed a fair figure for the three readers to read.
In general, what they said was nice and I appreciated it; everyone likes to hear nice things about their work. What I don’t like hearing is people putting down my personal work. If I had written an academic piece on the inner-city lifestyle of the Parisian working class in the 1930’s, called up pages upon pages of research and spent months painstakingly writing up the coherent peer-reviewed piece for the New Yorker, I may well have been pissed had some students trashed it. But not nearly as much as if it were my own personal, inner thoughts and creativity. That stings a lot more.
‘I think what you’ve done is crap.
Doing it my way would make it better.’Johnnie London
I must say on a very wider note, I’m writing with a new fountain pen that I bought from a shady looking website in America. I’m not going to lie; I was worried at first. However, the nib is amazing. It’s a little scratchy but not in an annoying way. It’s creating the tactile version of a mechanical keyboard. It’s difficult to emulate the sound and feel whilst writing but, oh my days, it’s sublime. The pen, from lid to nib is blue, even the pen clip. It’s a 0.4 nib and I’ve inserted some of my green ink into the included converter. Even with the lid on the barrel the weight is gorgeous. The pen is smart to look at and I reckon I’ll be getting quite a few more. Maybe different styles, too. I just wrote the last three sentences without the lid loaded and the weight was slightly off for my liking. Maybe if I had smaller hands.
Y’know, I think I may look again at getting to Paris nearer to Christmas. I simply don’t want to wait. I need more photos (especially for the Instagram posts). Having a sort of focussed non-focus is nice. I want photos and history of Paris, both for the personal and the Masters. I also want to carry on writing. Work has been slowly killing me and I’m ready to switch mindset again. I have a typewriter to attempt to clean, the French language to learn and a thousand followers to find on t’interweb. More than anything, I want to continue to enjoy my Parisian adventures. If I can’t write about Ibiza, I’ll write about Paris.
And this is what my peers were attempting to tell me. Paris is beautiful and she deserves to be written about and shared. Yes, I had a café noisette. Great. But what else? What did the boulangerie look like? What smells were there to trigger future memories? What were the customers wearing? Was the view from the window inspiring? The walk along Avenue de Wagram, don’t just tell me about it, show me with your thought-invoking wordiness. I’m a scholar, for crying out loud. Intersperse humour with creative prose. Sell people my writing, inspire their desires with my penmanship. Let the readers know it’s okay to be swept up in my words.
Which leads me back to an issue I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks. Do I re-write what I’ve got, write a new piece about what I’ve already written or provide totally new entries with the gusto of the recommendations? Unfortunately, only time will have the answers to this dilemma. I suspect I already know what I’m going to do; I have Instagram, a blog, a Masters and finally a book to take into consideration. These all have differing time frames and move at various speeds.
One thing I have decided on however, is I’ll definitely be getting another fountain pen from tooshinyforya.com before my blue Ted Baker notebook runs out of pages…