The upside to working long, long (long) days last week is that by the time Friday rolled around, I only had to put in two hours worth of work, which I gloriously accomplished from my sofa in my un-fanciest sweatpants. By mid-morning, I was a free lady, ready to jumpstart my weekend the best way I know how: $3 French onion soup at my favorite diner, and then an afternoon at the museum (that’s its own category now!).
Some people have rituals they adhere to out of respect to the experience, like saying grace before tucking into their meal or wearing the same socks whenever your home team plays. For me, it’s like a gravitational pull the moment I walk in to the museum: I have to go visit the Impressionists first. Sometimes I never make it out of that wing, but on Friday I did end up in one of the upstairs galleries, a Parisian salon from 13, rue Royale, dated 1785. There was a small radio looping a Charles Baudelaire poem, in French and then in English, and I must’ve stayed there for half an hour, just listening. “N’es-tu pas l’oasis où je rêve.”/”You are the last oasis where I dream, afire.” It was skin-tingly.
But something else magical happened, too. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve visited the museum (thousands??) but I’d never seen art students painting in the galleries before Friday. It was my very own École du Louvre moment. And I’m sure I broke their concentration with all my clicking away at the shutter and lurking quietly behind them, but it was just too spellbinding watching them work.
This Pissarro orchard painting (or a version of it) plays a pretty important role in my novel. The writing, for those of you who have asked recently, is coming along really well. I’ve been meaning to give you a more substantial update (and maybe even another snippet?), and I will, I promise. What a tease.