Wednesday, January 29, 2014

La Grippe Parisienne

Do you have those places, those connections to places, connections that engulf you like some flu? 

I do. 

I just got back from a brief trip to Paris. And, I am always struck by this hold that city has on me. I lived there once. Many years ago. And it changed me. And it always does. Every time. 

The first time I went there by accident. I took a night train from Amsterdam, and I remember quite clearly coming up into the city, the way it looked at dawn, at the tail end of April, exactly how I felt, and the trance it put me in. 

The Parisian flu, an involuntary memory. 

I went to the Musee D'Orsay over the weekend and stared for a long time at a portrait of Proust by Jacques-Emile Blanche. I thought about my own involuntary memory and I thought about Proust's and I thought about his madeleine and I thought about mine. And if you don't understand what I mean, then I'm sorry. 

Paris makes me feel more than any other place I've been, for better or for worse. It's almost too much to bear. 

Leaving always feels uncomfortable, disconcerting. My consolation is that I like my life here, back in New York City, my second favorite city in the world, and thankfully a city that feels less flu-like. 

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