June brings us poetry by Neil Ellman and a short story by Donal Mahoney. Summer is around the corner. Will there be dancing in the streets?
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Reading a fascinating book about Occupied Paris. Alan Riding’s And the Show Went On. About 110 pages into it. He tells the story of heroism and collaboration in France, the Resistance, the complicit Vichy government, the attempt to flee the horrors of the Third Reich.
For me, World War II was always the last just war. Before it and since that time, wars have been overwhelmingly unnecessary, wars of choice, wars of conquest and the protection of markets.… |To be Continued “Summer’s Eve”
I slipped off my robe, trying to appear casual, as if it wasn’t my first time. I had assured him I’d done this many times before. I tried to look anywhere but his face, because he must know by now I had been lying, the red blush staining my skin and revealing my inexperience and self-consciousness. I looked up at the window, high, forbidding, and remote, then down at my feet on the splintered and peeling wooden boards and lastly, the closed and bolted door. The silence of the room echoed around me broken only by the uneven pattern of my loudly beating heart.… |To be Continued “Shanna Perplies: La Vie en Violet”
While doing some research for a new novel, I stumbled on a fascinating story. WWII, Occupied France, and Django Reinhardt, one of the great Jazz guitarists of his era. Many elements make the story fascinating, but perhaps the most unusual aspect of the whole thing is that Reinhardt was a gypsy. The Nazis included the Roma in with other minority groups it sought to destroy, killing hundreds of thousands of them before their reign of terror ended. According to Michael Zwerin, who wrote Swing Under the Nazis, Reinhardt rose to prominence in occupied Paris despite being a gypsy.… |To be Continued “Freedom to Swing”
Still another writing table: Hemingway and Big Game
It’s quite possible I couldn’t pick two writers further apart from one another to deal with back to back.
Temperamentally, artistically, biographically. Rilke and Hemingway. Yet both men were profoundly influenced by their days in Paris, and both men learned much about their art at the knee of an older woman. Perhaps it’s less than dime-store psychology to also suggest that both men had “issues” with their relationship to female sexuality. Issues that led to very different attempts to resolve that conflict — internally and externally. But, issues nonetheless. People really are complex.
Have been reading a wonderful book, Geniuses Together: American Writers in Paris in the 1920s, by Humphrey Carpenter (1988). It makes me smile again and again. Amusing, revealing anecdotes about Gertrude Stein, Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Robert McAlmon so far. Many of the stories well-known. Others not so much.
The Left Bank. Montparnasse. Expat heaven. Dirt poor writers and wealthy socialites turned patronesses. Heavy drinking inside and outside bars, heavy talk in salons, insurgent antics by the Dadaists in theaters, fights, accidents, love affairs, and, finally, the publication of great literature.… |To be Continued “Geniuses Together: Paris in the 1920s”