Inspiration is that thing I cannot grasp.
It used to come in waves, a lot like love.
But now it is because of you
and for that I am forever grateful.
You remember watching television with your parents as a child. A film, a show, a play – you didn’t specify but you told them, “I can do better than that.” And I listen to your words in the interview room and nod my head. I was exactly the same. Eight years old or nine, convinced that I would tackle a part differently from what I saw on screen, that I had the emotions I saw someone else play right up my sleeve. And yet the difference between you and me? Your parents were actors, they took you seriously. They knew what it takes to get you to audition for a part I longed for but would never play.
So while you started following your heart, I was just thinking what you said out loud, because my family mocked me whenever I expressed my wish to be in front of a camera. And whenever I got frustrated or acted out against the restraints I felt, they would just kid me. “Stop being so dramatic and save that for the stage you claim to crave,” they’d say or, “The circus is in town, maybe the clowns could use your tantrums as inspiration.” No support for my honest wish to be a performer, just words that hardened me as I grew up.
Wet snow everywhere, below zero, police dogs sniffing for bombs – that’s what I returned to. Needless to say, I miss Paris already. Although it was foggy when I left, damp and cold, I fell in love with the city. It’s just so beautiful. I made new friends, met someone who means the world and now it’s back into the habit at a place that’s never allowed me to be myself. In Paris though, I felt at home. The lights, the food, the language. I flirted wherever I went and it felt so good, that’s all I say. Don’t even try to press me for details. Found new passions and rekindled old ones, saw l’Opéra at night and lost my heart to the architecture of a city that seems composed rather than built, every detail an homage to a culture of elegance and beauty. George Clooney then on a poster at Charles de Gaulle, bidding me farewell with a cup of coffee that barely touched his lips while his smile surely made mine spread. A Maracons shop right next to him, trying to seduce me into spending the last of my money on sweets as colorful as Paris itself.
So this is how it starts, my year. Two days of Italian food, French wine and a swift shopping trip to spend the money I don’t have after Christmas. It’s the same every year. Over-indulgence in December, sobering up in January. Only this year I have a hard time cutting back on my spending although I know I’ll make less. But that’s compensation for you, psychology 101: the weather is cold outside and I’ve rarely seen the sun. At least I have my writing, triggered by my muse. I’m surprised she’s still with me though, I rarely sleep these days. I’m glad she isn’t as moody as I tend to be this winter. Hibernating is what I should do or finally book that flight to LA. It’s a lot less chilly there and I miss the place, miss the friends I barely see. But then that requires the kind of money I should safe. Besides, I’ve rarely seen my friends here. So maybe a month off will do me good. Being at home, reading, catching up on shows I’ve missed in recent years. I must admit, I’d prefer doing that in SoCal, where the sun is likely to shine more often than where I am. Where I know I’d go for a walk every day, where I do not bump into police officers frisking people in the metro, patrolling the streets that used to feel safe only a short few years ago. That’s why I’m so feisty, I guess, today. The spectacle of three dark-haired youngsters, surrounded by officers whose hands were glued to their firearms, ready to protect themselves at any minute, it left me strangely affected on the boys’ behalf and ours. My heart was torn as my train left the station, my mind helpless. But it was then that I realized, I’m not yet completely jaded.