Monday, July 02, 2007

Paris on my Mind (no, not THAT Paris!)

I've been reading Susan Vreeland's new book, Luncheon of the Boating Party. It's the latest of her historical novels about artists and I am loving it. I almost don't want to do anything else but read it. Set in Paris the summer of 1880, the book chronicles one of my favorite artist's experience in planning and executing on of his most famous paintings of the same name. It's simply fascinating to me. More so, perhaps, because much of it takes place in neighborhoods that I have personally wandered, and so have a clear vision of the setting, albeit some 100 years have passed since the events occurred. Still, I love reading about places I've been, and this definitely qualifies. (And reading about a place I love (I've been there four times) makes me want to go again, which is why Paris has been on my mind).

More than that, though, I enjoy reading about artists. I'm not an artist myself, although sometimes I give it a good attempt, but I appreciate art quite a bit and know enough to be able to enjoy hours in a good art museum (like the two very fine museums here in Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) and to thoroughly enjoy introducing kids to art and art museums (every other year I take the entire academy to the MFA (we alternate with the Boston Symphony) and often I take my creative writing class to one or the other of the above museums for inspiration).

But I digress. Susan Vreeland is a great writer. The first book I read by her came out shortly after the more famous Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (another excellent writer whose works I have enjoyed), which I had read first. Vreeland's book, Girl in Hyacinth Blue is also about a Vermeer painting, tracing its 300 year history (which reminds me of the interesting movie, The Red Violin, which traces the history of a violin over hundreds of years and several countries). Anyway...perhaps you get my point...that Vreeland interests me enormously as a writer.

Her website has a great essay on writing, if the craft of writing interests you the way it does me. She closes her discussion with a beautiful poem by Christopher Logue that speaks to me about what I do as a teacher, as a writing coach, and as a principal-mentor:

Come to the edge.

We might fall.

Come to the edge.

It's too high!

Come to the edge!

And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.


Patty said...

oh sounds like a great book, might inspire me to paint again, have thought about it lately. I left a comment on my blog for you regarding my evening stroll. I need your email address to send you something. I lost it on the old computer when it died. I have a new email address so you can send it to me at

InlandEmpireGirl said...

I am also glad to get more books to add to my ever growing list to read ( this summer?) sometime! :)