Whenever things get tangled or annoying or concerns stack themselves on top of each other and I’m just too tired to sort them out, I never go out for an afternoon of retail therapy. I buy something to eat.
It’s nothing like a food binge, I’m probably too broke to afford those anyway. No, I go out, have a walk around the city centre, eyeing the windows of bakeries and sandwich bars, and at the end I buy something small, but good. A brioche in the finest pâtisserie of Aix (they are like very creamy buns, flavoured with candied fruit and very little alcohol and covered with a layer of icing), or some chinese food from that very nice place near the court hall, or some cheese from the market with a baguette. Anything good. Then I walk around the town or sit down somewhere, eating. Today it was candied ginger.
Having little money and no kids to feed is amazing. The smallest things seem beyond value. Just feeling the fibres of the ginger cracking, the fiery sweetness, wiping grains of sugar off your fingers, becomes special, a little feast of five minutes. Of course, it all depends on how you play the game. If you are masochistically fed up with everything and just want something full of industrial oil and sugar, you buy a pack of low-quality cakes at the supermarket, eat them very fast without enjoying anything and end up annoyed at yourself. But just going out for some candied ginger is magical.
It seems that I have made a friend at the online writing workshop. One of the members thanked me profusely for my reviews, saying they were the most helpful he had ever received and I had an amazing insight. He also loved one of my stories. This is probably a case of the two of us thinking in the same direction about writing (as it happens, his novel hooked me up too). But that still made my day!
I just began to read Pierre Jourde’s essay on literature, authenticity and the real. Then my years-long allergy to existentialism kicked in and I my mind started floating over the pages. I hope he’ll be back to literature very soon. The very long digression on how the taste of camembert is part of identity, what camembert is, what you are, what you think you are and how you are in the world, just left me lost somewhere hanging to the tail of the kite and gazing absently at the Earth down below. I did pick up some interesting bits, though. How landscapes are today part of a myth of authenticity, how gazing at, say, a mountain brings your mind to a sense of your origins, how authenticity, floklore and traditions are where we look for a forgotten link between nature and culture. It all sounds terribly trite when I say it, no? But it should help me with my article. I hope.