Wednesday February 19
I spent a few hours keeping track of myself in this blog and then, went to Mokonuts for lunch. A good 2.5 mile walk over the Seine to Bastille. Approaching Pont Sully, I noticed a lone house at the end of Ile Saint Louis. Was I in a Flaubert novel looking at Madame Bovary’s house or riding along the Seine in Sentimental Education?
In order to get to Mokonuts, I had to go around Bastille to Faubourg Saint Antoine, a good street for window shopping. As expected, Mokonuts was full. Luckily I had grabbed the last 2 o’clock lunch reservation. And as usual, the food was delicious. Although I had sworn off dessert, I couldn’t resist the blood orange cake. When I went up to pay the bill, I discussed the changes in Manhattan with one of the owners. Since I’ve been using French everyday, I kept switching back and forth forgetting she was from Brooklyn. A hefty price for lunch; 46 Euros for a main course of chicken with spinach, dessert, two glasses of wine, and coffee. Twice as much as the dinner at La Methode. Yet, I must remember to use nasturtium leaves in salad. Not as pretty as the edible flowers but tender and delicious.
I returned home, again in the rain, and in time for a get together arranged by one of the artist in residence which she called a “pow wow.” A military historian gave a presentation on the books he’s authored , then the audience (only 3- 2 resident artists and me) asked him about his work and his process. Most of the discussion revolved around Irish politics which could have been heated but differences were respected. They told me the town of Dundalk on the border of Northern Island was called El Paso: during the troubles, members of the republican movement stayed there before going on missions in the north.
The Dundalk Christmas Bombing by the Ulster Volunteers 1975
As he is very prolific, we were intrigued by the historian’s routine. He tried to
sideswipe the question but, finally, he relented. He gets up very early, 6 or so, and writes a bit before breakfast. After breakfast, he writes until 1, has lunch, and may take a nap, then back to writing until dinner. He does his reading in the evening. A monk’s life. And this is almost every day. Sunday’s he does go to mass and does a bit of socializing but mostly his nose is to the grindstone. We talked about finding a balance while being in Paris. Easy to just play given these environs.
Although we started at 6, it was 11 before we finished. The conversation ranged from working to ecological grieving to captialism vs. socialism to Sinn Fein.