Midnight in Paris

Paris is my first european experience. Summer 1988, I turned 20 and decided to become a musician thanks to that trip. I didn't go back until 1998. Incredible. That summer 24 years ago I actually believed it would a routine thing for me to be in Paris. I went there because I was studying french in L'alliance Francaise in Santo Domingo ( Dominican Republic ) and that was their summer trip, an intensive 5 week course in the city of lights. I didn't really go much to class, drank a lot of wine, made friends, wrote songs, became a flanneur...
I've been back to Paris about 3 or 4 times. It seems different, though. I'm different. 

I just watched Midnight in Paris, the beautiful film by Woody Allen. It brought back those streets I've walked, pictures I've taken, moods I've felt. It also made me realize what a cauldron of creativity Paris was, to have all those people there; Dali, Picasso, Buñuel, Hemingway et al; at one time. Wonderful. The film also made me think about how distracted we live today. Here, in Zaragoza, the city I currently live in, its practically impossible to sit in a cafe, bar or restaurant and not have some music or images being piped in. Sitting in an outdoor cafe it's almost impossible to not have someone interrupt your daydreams peddling some cheap wares or just asking for some spare change. Maybe you just can't stop staring at your cel phone. Either way, it's made me think about stepping back a little. Never have we lived so fast, and things just keep changing, the pace of everything. It's a wonder we still bother grabbing an actual newspaper with that coffee in the morning.
The film made me think about creativity and what it needs to be cultivated. Competitiveness in the arts, forcing yourself to do things because other like minded people inspire you to push yourself, a sense of belonging and being part of a community, that's something we actually don't embrace. At least, I don't really have that in my life. I work in a kind of cocoon I've created for myself which isn't necessarily bad but keeps me isolated from all the artists who live and work in this city. Maybe we really do need to feed off each other. Maybe that painting, this photograph, that poem can inspire me to take an extra step towards something greater within myself. When I began to express myself through music and song, I was surrounded by friends and artists who inspired me to take risks. That was in Santo Domingo in the early 90's. I went through something similar in the early 00's when I began to actively seek inspiration and actually learn from other musicians, writers, painters etc. Sometimes simply stepping out at night and sharing a couple of drinks and conversation with people would later set off a writing frenzy. Midnight in Paris brought a little of that into my mind, the need to walk around and think, to let go of distractions, to have that inner conversation and also to mingle, listen to others, share and learn. Beautiful looking film with wonderful ideas.


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