Monday, February 21, 2011

Immerse Yourself in the Moment

Eiffel Tower -D.G.Hudson
'Immerse yourself in the moment. Use your five senses to fully experience that moment.'

Not verbatim but paraphrased, that advice came from an author of thrillers who teaches advanced novel writing on the side. He suggested using the senses to add depth and enrich the story.

 Another author called it ‘zooming into the scene’ and using the senses to enrich the narrative or dialogue. Use the five senses to enhance the memory of the actual experience.

In this post, a place generates those images and sensory details of events. My apologies for the length, but the subject matter is lavish.

PARIS - filtered through the Five Senses


Versailles - golden spikes and gilded sun king emblems blaze atop the black wrought iron fence, square cobbled stones set unevenly cover the expanse of the courtyard behind the imposing entrance gate, multiple mirrors reflect the surrounding gallery in endless repetition

Eiffel Tower - first sighting causes involuntary intake of breath while one decides if we love it or not, elegant lines and delicate ironwork inscribe the lower portions, clothed in its bright night colours, the Eiffel decorates the evening sky

Stone Temple Pilots on guard - DGH
The Louvre - Medieval foundation of centuries old cut stones in basement, paintings from small to large wall size in dark tones or vivid washes of colour, rooms bursting with statuary, beautiful lady Mona guarded by 3 layers of bullet-proof glass and a velvet rope, Egyptian artifacts -- funerary, urns, weapons, jewellery - all lined up for review, blue Paris sky fractured by the glass pyramid above while the sunbeams warm the lobby below

Fractured sky - under the Glass Pyramid- D.G. Hudson

#54 Vincent lived here - DGH
  Outdoor displays of local artists in watercolour, acrylic, and oil with bright or pastel colours, residence #54 big blue door where Vincent Van Gogh lived with his brother, the crimson Moulin Rouge without the glamour applied, peering in the windows at Bateau L’Avoir studios (home to Picasso & other young artists), looking up at Sacre Coeur Cathedral, the bright ever-white stone commanding the mount of martyrs

The City at Large

16th and 17th century buildings with contorted, winding drainpipes in enclosed courtyards, boldly painted double gargantuan doors with brass trim -- sized for grand comings & goings

Leering gargoyles on Notre Dame Cathedral peering over ledges at the human ants below, minute sculptural detail on every side of this Gothic church; romantic couples strolling and kissing by the river, endless bridges of stone, wrought iron, and a mixture of the two crossing the Seine River every few blocks as it snakes its way through the city; a painting of grumpy aggressive steers staring at the diners in Bistro Marguerite


Fresh baguettes - everyone carries one on their way to work, or soft Nutello-Banana crepes sold by street vendors in front of the Musee D’Orsay, open produce and food markets, local bistro fare-French onion soup, curried chicken, steak and frites, fluffy omelettes, and chocolate desserts, slo-mo explosion of pepper shaker as it went cartwheeling onto the iron steps, breaking into glass chunks and sending a plume of pepper wafting up into the air at least 15 inches

Le Voltaire Cafe - Latin Quarter - DGH


Crunchy chewy baguettes, Breton crepes, chilled French wine with water on the side, dark French expresso laced with cream, broiled creamy ham and cheese sandwich called a ‘Croque Monsieur’, the caramel flavour of crème brulee, frothy beer and light quiche in Le Voltaire, French cod - a baked comfort dish of precooked whitefish, caramelized onions, and mashed potatoes


City noises - soft voices, polite greetings upon entering and exiting establishments, many languages but little English, homeless men sitting and talking in the cool morning air after sleeping over heating vents, musical language and soft laughter flowing out of small bistros with intimate sidewalk tables, the loud clear voice of the passing tour guide

Paris Traffic - No beep or honk of a vehicle goes unanswered in this rush hour cacophony of sound, screech of tires as traffic lights change, the buzz of the motorized scooters zipping between the lanes of autos, police sirens in the distance or under the window ledge


- soft, bunchable scarves wrapping male and female necks

- smooth statues in milky white, inset walls of marbled stone in burgundy, charcoal grey, or pink,

-rough stone counters, 6 foot tall double thick glass windows covered by wooden shutters in older buildings, cement stanchions in tiny side streets protect building corners

- enamel blue street signs mounted on the sides of buildings, 8 foot doors in the old town houses of the Marais district, unique wrought iron window and balcony railings

- square-cut stones form the streets in Pere Lachaise - City of the Dead; stone, metal and marble carved into unique family memorials, and cold stone benches for visitors to sit upon while studying the kiss-studded Oscar Wilde monument

. . .and the list goes on. . .


This post is a study (in part) for the Paris-based setting of another WIP.