I was meant to be in Paris. I was meant to have gone from St. Pancras to Gare du Nord, pop to the hotel to drop my bags and then go for a nice little walk, quite possibly around the Islands and then finish up at a MonoP’ whereby I would purchase a load of easy to eat foods and quite possibly some alcohol to assist with the sleeping and/or writing.
Instead, I’m sat up in bed, tapping away on my Freewrite Traveler, munching on my sweet and salted popcorn from Tesco with a glass of water, out of harms way, on my computer desk.
I’ve had the Covid and I’ve had the Oxford jab. Despite this, I was meant to get a test up to 72 hours before departure in order to be able to go and spend time in quarantine, stick to the curfew times, re-use my test from up to 72 hours before the original departure (or would I need to get re-tested?) to then return in order for 10-day quarantine at home. This is of course, providing that my reason to travel was valid.
The Oxford jab was horrendous. Not the actual jab, that was painless enough – even after reading about the reconstituted chimpanzee DNA protein. But the following day, it felt like I’d been hit by the proverbial train. Obviously, not the Eurostar. No, they decided to cancel that a few days back. It meant I had to cancel the hotel and kiss Paris goodbye for the spring.
With the refund nicely in the bank, I can now decide whether to attempt another December visit or not. Which I will obviously attempt to do!
I had to undertake an assignment whereby I was to write a critique for a piece of writing by an author that has influenced or informed me. I wasn’t particularly happy to do this as I’ve not written a piece like that for some years now. And being upfront, I don’t think I’ve been overly influenced with my writing style over and above anything that has brought me to my psychological state of mind over the years. Things like picking up the fact that in the last sentence the root word “over” was indeed over-used. A total of three times, and now twice in the previous sentence. Blatantly overt usage.
But I write how I talk and what I write is often straight from how I think. It’s not always chronological nor directional but it is virtually always thematical and tends to conclude with a twist, an aha moment or a very simple finish with a slight nod to the theme. Scholastically speaking, it’s an epiphanous, and sometimes humorous, conclusion.
For the assignment – which has since made me draw huge comparisons between Ernest Hemingway and myself – I drew comparisons between Ernest Hemingway and myself. I didn’t realise that analysing an author that I had previously read thirty years prior, would be able to stimulate such an internal journey. Nor did I realise that I would be able to analyse an author that I had previously read thirty years prior so well, so in-depth and so passionately. Whilst writing the assignment, I was directed to another one of his books from a different source of research. I then went down that very slippery road of reading a lot more research papers. I ended up buying The Old Man and the Sea (the book I was made to read all those years ago), a few more of his books plus several more books about him, himself. I also printed off quite a fair few interweb journalistic, as well as academic, articles covering the author, his works and his style. I think the key find for me was his interview with the Paris Review, back in 1958, issue 18. On top of that, with all my digging around, I managed to source an interview with Umberto Eco in the Paris Review, back in 2008, issue 185. For ardent followers of my blog – is that still going? – you’ll know that I like Eco’s style of writing. It’s sort of similar to Hemingway but not totally. His essays (creative nonfiction) are what I’m thinking about when comparing it to Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I may decide to include the assignment as another blog entry and one more reason for me to post to Instagram.
I wonder if when I get around to publishing these works in a book, I’ll still be updating the blog and my Instagram. In fairness, the seventy-one followers I have at the minute won’t necessarily miss my activities. Nor will they question my absence. I expect that I shall be providing updates and the like until at least the book has been finished. Of course, by the time the book is finished, edited and available to the masses, my blog and Instagram may well be down the pan.
With the pandemic coming to a situation where things are settling down, Paris will be opened up again. I may decide to go twice this year; despite my exceptionally (non-sarcastic) busy schedule for the remainder of the year. August and December, such contrasting months and such contrasting inspiration for writing. August would be for study and research. December would be for research and creativity. Both will be for photos and atmospheric absorption. To hunt down the places that Hemingway went to write, or possibly eat (and no doubt drink), will be an amazing turn of events in the life of my nonfiction journey.
I am so glad that years ago I invested all my spare time and creative energies into MySpace.