Mmh, I hesitated to write a quick post or not. The jury is still out there (on May 12!!), because I guess it might get boring for you guys.
For me, the monthly roundup is clearly an effective incentive : it is no coincidence that I finally found the time to finish my last corrections and to send my novella on April 28, when the end of the month was looming! I didn’t have the feeling at the time, but objectively I have found a kind of rhythm and I only missed 3 days in April. I really enjoyed writing in cafés again and I look forward to my next session!
I would hate to be boring, so I will also entertain you with my recent visit to Balzac’s home. Because every French pupil has to read at least one or two of his novels before finishing high-school, my experience of Balzac (1799-1850) is tainted by the memory of drawn-out analysis in class or graded papers, which is a terrible fate for any writer. The few times I tried Balzac in my adult life, it was a far more enjoyable experience and I should definitely try again (one of his shorter novels).
His lovely small house is located in a wealthy, hilly neighborhood in Western Paris, which used to be a separate village back when Balzac was living there. He thought it was the countryside, and indeed it is still very peaceful! His house is built on hillside, with one entrance accessible through a flight of stairs, and another entrance three storeys below that opens into a narrow lane. There’s a garden and many trees.
The house is quite cute, although there are not much to see (a desk and chair and a teapot). The atmosphere is serene (now), and I sat in the garden in the sun to read a short story sent by Danielle, although I understand that Balzac often ran away from his debtors through one gate when they showed up at the other gate.
There are exhibitions in the rooms, presenting all the characters of Balzac’s enormous series of books, that he envisioned as a presentation of all possible aspects of human society. The pictures of his characters filled an entire room, and another one is devoted to Balzac’s obsession with editing and revising his work.
After visiting Dickens’ House in London in February, is this a new thing of mine? Paradoxically, as we are preparing our move to the suburbs, the memory plaques that celebrate Paris’ homes of famous artists are becoming more interesting to me.