It was my friend Margaret van Dyck the painter who told me about the Chinese artist who, when a patron visited him in his studio to buy a painting, would without looking up from his work gesture towards the finished canvases leaning against the studio walls. And then, when his patron had made a choice, the artist would, again without looking up from his work, gesture toward a little shelf above his work desk, where the patron could leave the money.
DREAM WITH BIRDS, CLOUDS AND WATER
I met my friend Roger Stille the dancer on an early August afternoon when Montreal had reached that peak summer moment of sultry-humid, close, airless stillness, when its streets are like fissures in a ripe persimmon about to burst. For a month, nothing seems to happen. People drink beer on their balconies. Some escape to their country houses. No one cares about money or language. The world, though not perfect, settles into a thoughtless dream. Roger and I sit in a café with ceiling fans, his burgundy scarf fluttering in the breeze, and he tells me this story.
Recent months have been plagued by a series of terrorist attacks in several Western states. Each of these incidents were followed by a general outcry and outpouring of empathy from Western citizens around the globe. They also spurred Western leaders to publicly reaffirm that their populations will not be intimidated by terrorists and that core Western values of civil liberties will not bend under the pressure.
Monsieur Jean Clieze, an official of the province of Québec’s Ministère des Marches Ridicules, and a notorious flâneur, steps into Spring.
In Montreal, we are well known for our joie de flâner, and for our smartly turned out flâneurs. You begin to notice them in spring, when the red buds of the silver maple begin to bloom. They appear as solitary walkers, dapper in a grey fedora, or sporting a wine-dark silk scarf, or carrying an umbrella with a wooden handle carved in the shape of a loon. You also see them lounging purposefully in cafés, sipping espresso and perusing The New York Times, Le Monde, and Tuck Magazine. Continue reading “Step out smartly into Spring”