Connections To A Broken Past

Paris is a difficult city to get to know. It seems everywhere you go there is something new and interesting, especially on the side streets that sometimes feel deserted. As I wander, it’s making me feel sad and missing my home. I visited a Museum of eroticism near the Moulin Rouge yesterday up in an area called Montmartre. Spent about 2 hours looking at the many level of erotic artifacts, painting, sketching and photography. One floor was dedicated to prostitution in the area and had amazing photographs from 1920’s through the 1950’s. It touched a nerve with me. My mother’s mother was caught in this sort of world. This was her area and from the stories I have heard from my mother this was the sort of life she lived. I could not look at these images and not see her, the beautiful skin, and extraordinarily light. She was always a woman who lived on the edge of her time, as I am a man who lives on the edge of mine. Though I vaguely remember a kindness as a small child, she eventually shot herself and died from desperation. Being a gay man I have always felt a kinship toward her and have longed to have met and talked she died younger than I am now at the age of 43.

My host Fred had some guests over for dinner this evening. Though they mostly spoke in French I could understand some of what they were saying. One works as a translator and filled me in on what was being said that I did not understand. The other was a photographer who has published several books on his home land of Martinique, a beautiful book on old family photographs. I did drag my portfolio out and gave them a look through it. They were quite astonished by the tactile sensation of looking at images, something that is real that is held in the palm of your hand. I sensed from their expressions there was a mysterious connection to the images. They have suggested several photographic places I must visit while I am here. A great deal of the conversation seems to be about the recession and how hard both sides of the ocean are being hit; even big cities like Paris. There is great fear of it getting worse as they see how devastated we are becoming by it influence. Our government has become too large and is growing beyond becoming sustainable. We are having to cut back on anything of luxury, tighten our belts, and make our lives simpler, more in touch with the sustainable earth. My photographer friend with longing of becoming a farmer or returning to a simpler time. So far I have weathered this storm, but it is a combination of all that I do that keeps me above water. In a sense the slowness of the times have given me the opportunity of this year to explore this Naked Man Project. I know so many people at home who are without jobs and struggling and it feels like it is all about to collapse.

To have my dream of art during such uncertain times is a blessing and a curse. It gives me opportunity to explore, but there seems to be no current market. As I wondered the streets of Montmartre I thought of so many of the artists that have filled these streets the past century and a half, of little means, oppressed from the time, but finding a gathering place with mutual commonality. It was the gathering ground of so many that would become brilliant artists to share their concepts, concerns, and humility in this mountaintop filled with small bars, restaurants, and cafe. That past has long vanished, now it is mostly filled with tourists as the ambience has either died or vanished. And I am left with an empty loneliness as I wonder the throng of passing strangers.

One thought on “Connections To A Broken Past

  1. Anonymous

    >strange connections..of life

    one day, you wrote a comment on the blog of a man you don't know ; because something sounded in yourself from what he wrote on his blog; a few days after you learn, by internet that this man was wandering the day before, just near the place you dwell…..
    Just near Montmartres, at "Barbes" or "Chateau Rouge" which has become a place for rich people and tourists you have a kind of
    "Paris-Harlem", may be more : african people, north african people, from turkey, from egypt, from sri lanka, from india, from asian countries, from poland, from serbia, a few native french, people, and some french anonymous asking to himself what man' body beauty means….

    have the best stay in our so over crowded Paris and so hot during this last week end.

    french anonymous

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