Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Do Not Touch

As I’ve been combing the streets of Paris I’ve been keeping all my senses at attention, as every good writer should.  Except, there's one missing… touch.  It’s interesting as I evaluate my experiences I realize I’m very good at seeing, smelling, tasting and hearing but I always forget to include the tactile experience (unless I come across an animal that needs patting).  I guess that’s a good thing in the city I am currently exploring since everywhere we go (I’m referring to the dozens of museums we’ve visited) there are signs that say “Ne Touchez Pas!”  It’s okay, really, since the sites, sounds and smells of Paris are spectacular enough.  

Fresco on the ceiling in Opera Garnier...not sure who the artist is

Absorbing Aromas and Art

Yesterday, I commented to my mother-in-law, with whom I’m traveling, that we’ve savored crepes in the gardens at Versailles, sipped wine on the Left Bank and swilled beer in a pub on the Grand Boulevard.  So, we had taste totally covered.  Any time I'm writing about eating in the future, I'll have loads of memories from which to pull.  We’ve inhaled the smells of the patisseries and boulangeries as we’ve meandered down cobblestoned streets and have paused appreciatively to absorb the works of the masters.  I haven’t really felt the need to touch the Rembrandt at the Jacquemart Andre or the many Monet murals at the Orangerie.  I've been happy to get drawn into them visually, which I did especially with one particular Monet.   As I gazed at the panels stretched across the width of the room, I was sure a floor to ceiling image of a face leaped out at me from the canvass! 

Describing Touch

But, where does touch come in?  As a writer I always pride myself in being able to experience things with all the senses in order to draw on vibrant, multi dimensional memories when sitting down to write descriptive prose.  Now I know that I must concentrate on including touch as I wander through life and, as I go through yet another edit of my novel, I must remember to add some tactile descriptions.  Not to mention, noticing good examples of descriptions of how something ‘feels’ on the finger tips when I'm reading for pleasure!


Expat Forever said...

Lucky you to be in Paris. So long time I haven't been in my homecountry and especially Paris.
Happy to learn you are working on a novel ...

Anne said...

Yes, it's been very exciting. Every day brings a new adventure. Sadly, we are leaving today but I do have a good start on an outline!

Katie Foster said...

Ah Paris! Roger has promised we will go there next spring. Your descriptions are so vivid I can see and smell the city already. Touching? Well, we will just have to wait and see. Travel safe.

Anne said...

Yes Katie, you guys must go. It was a sensory horn of plenty! If you want warmth though, go in June. The day we visited the Jacquemart-Andre Museum (a must) we looked out the window and it was hailing. It did help us decide to stay and have lunch in the museum's cafe, which was to die for!!! I reminded myself that "He" does work in mysterious ways :)

Zvezdana said...

Hi Anne,
Your trip sounds wonderful. I am so glad you had a lovely time with your mom and mom in law.
That's so precious. I love the descriptions of Paris, especially the food:)) Hope to make it there one day too...
How is the novel coming along?

Anne said...

Hi Zvezdana,
Glad you enjoyed it! I've had to take a break from the novel to do some paid client work but I am still adding the detail we talked about while simultaneously sending queries to agents.
Fingers crossed!