yayayay thankyou Huntington W Sharp for alerting me to the mention on the homepage - i raise a jacob's cream cracker to the good health of the Red Room community
and i still write the book, but not every day. i just can't, because it's paris,and everything's so pretty and basically i've been wandering around going 'ooh la la it's the seine, ooh la la it's notre dame, ooh la la, it's a baguette' and so on
i read emmanuel carrere's 'the adversary', a chillingly concise investigation of the grey space that inhabits and consumes the life of a liar (remember that case some years ago about the guy that killed his family because he'd told them he was a doctor and they were about to find out that he wasn't a doctor at all and that in fact he was running out of all the money he'd stolen from their savings? this is a meditation on that). Carrere's main preoccupation is that of what the fellow did all day when he was supposed to be at work. So he started a correspondence with the man, who wrote him from prison. Walked in the woods, he said. And read newspapers at cafes near the World Health Organisation, where he told everyone he worked as a consultant. Sometimes he'd pretend to go on business trips for the WHO and just check into hotels and watch TV.
other highlights of the stuff i've read since my last post are ETA Hoffman short stories (a reread) and Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone (ditto).
anyways, please to picture this:
it's last thursday afternoon, sunny, and i'm at brasserie hoche, at a table by the window looking out onto the avenue, having champagne sorbet and reading 'the magus' after a long walk in search of a church that does Mass in English (found the Church but it terrified me- it was too squat and modern and overcompensated for its squad modernity with excessively life-like sculptures of various saints protuding from its walls).
the waiter comes over and i think he's giving me the bill already- always an unfriendly gesture when you've only been settled at your table for five minutes - but no, he's got a napkin in his hand. a fellow sitting about five tables away from me, in the corner, with a book and coffee, smiles at me when the waiter indicates that the note is from him. the fellow is cute - significantly older than me but a blazer and jeans type, smile crinkles around his eyes
the napkin note, alas, is all in french:
'vous charmez dans votre solitude. ..une petite reveur, peut-etre ? me dire vos reves. ..quand nous reveillons demain...'
can't understand it of course.
'er...parlez vous anglais?' being too crude to write back, i finish my sorbet and continue reading my book. after some time i smile at him, then, after an interval, smile again. he gets back to his book and doesn't seem perturbed by my lack of response. when i finish my sorbet i send the waiter back over with a napkin of my own (i simply drew a smiley face and a question mark) and leave without looking at him.
he must think i'm none too swift.
so so so: the note translates as: 'you're charming in your solitude...a little dreamer, perhaps? tell me your dreams when we wake up tomorrow...'