Paris Day Three and Four

April Three and April Four


April 3 and 4

Confusing days for me. An Irish friend said there is an expression in Gaelic that means being between two sides: it resonates.

No running water in the entire building including toilets. Merde.

Went to the Marche D’Aligre near Place de la Bastille.  Intoxicating for the eyes, the ears, the nose.   Took home radishes, blood oranges, and raclette infused with wild garlic. My mother cooked well, but the Brenots taught me a reverence for food, for flavor: Mme. Brenot’s trips to the open air markets, her perfect vinagrette, M. Brenot’s unforgettable tarte d’apricot, pairing the right wine with each course.

A typical meal might begin with a thin slice of jambon (ham), followed by haricot vertes, then, a biftek or veal in wine sauce, salad, cheese, coffee.  In Normandy, at their summer house, we ate lapin hache, that is, rabbit minced with tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs, a crab bisque, tomato salad, with du pain (bread, a baguette) to get the last of it’s juices.  Knowing how to cook in the French way brought me a good many accolades and sustained a sense of myself.  This side may be subsiding.  To be replaced by what?  Does it need replacing?

That night at the Luxembourg Cinema, I saw an Irish film, The Maze, a fictionalized account of a break out by Irish Republicans from Her Majesty’s Prison, led by the last “blanket men.”  These were IRA members, ten of whom died through a hunger strike protesting their lack of political status.

Somehow, this film’s depiction of prison sunk deep within me, feeling viscerally what it means to be imprisoned, to spend years confined, without the sympathic touch of a loved one, excluded from nature, your thoughts your only company- the deprivation, the suffering.  How does one survive?

Still no water when I woke up. I didn’t go down to breakfast, feeling too grubby, washing with bottled water.  Finally got dressed and found a cafe where I had a cafe Americano. It’s 2 in the afternoon, no running water.


I’m trying to stay loose. It’s a beautiful day. I have real doubts about what I’m doing which is my usual reaction the first week of a long trip. This time, the feelings are exasperated as I try to explain my project to whoever inquires, given I have no idea where it will lead, if anywhere- some kind of weird examination of process, my process.  Sophie Calle followed other people.  I’m following myself.

I woke up in the middle of the night and tried to assauge feelings of doubt;

I wrote the following at three in the morning:

Explore the neighborhood, see what happens

Some possibilities: try on other’s writing style, Annie Ernaux, Sophie Calle



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