the i for the y

Dostoievsky, avec umlaut en Francaise (et cette avec cedille [et cette avec accent aigu]). Mais sans umlaut et cedille et accent aigu en cet blog.

To keep with my last post theme of books, I wanted to say that the other night, no joke, a certain book fell off my bookshelf. And you know that by “fell” I mean “flew.” It’s true, quite a distance into the room.

Dostoievsky’s L’Eternel Mari, 1967 editions Baudelaire. Text all in French. Bought on the street in front of its book store during my time in the Latin Quarter in Paris. L’Eternel Mari in a cardboard box on sale for francs right before the advent of the euro. Maybe I thought I had the ability to read it all in French like Le Petit Prince in high school. I’m sure I thought I could, I sometimes have grand ideas like this still. I just liked having it on my person. I kept it hidden away safe as a treasure at the bottom of my giant backpack that I lugged for a very very long time on a very very solo journey.

Its cover is truly unique, and I’m certain this is why I also bought it. My definition of beauty is oftentimes awkward.

This deep blue spine and what would be a painting of a sinister (or mysterious) man on its cover. Again, browned beautiful pages that once held the musty sexiness of its surroundings. Its inside front covers another tapestry of white latticework on that same deep blue.

I’m sure I also felt all avant-garde roaming around, having just seen Oscar Wilde’s gravesite with strange lipstick marks all over it, and dreaming of the bohemian writer’s life strolling my French-speaking twins through the eclectic passages of streets to get us all to the dance studio before mommy has to go back to the flat and finish her latest chapter while my husband works on his violin making and playing. After baking something divine from the market, of course, which would be wafting through everyone’s space. Always a nurturer.

Such opportunity came from selling my car for money—traveling and the writing program I attended—but moreso a complete belief in me. To read a whole book in French. To travel alone for so long, with absolute bravery and fulfillment. To dream up stories for my future self. To yearn. To become me.

And that brings me to my existential point of this book coming to my attention now. I have certainly become me but in entirely different ways than once imagined, and possibly only because I once imagined them can I be who I am.


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