It’s Who You Know

by

Dontcha know?

No.

I actually don’t.

I don’t think about networking.

I don’t exactly know how to do it.

Sometimes things just seem to happen by happy accident.  This person here knows that person there and here, call him, e-mail her, drop a message to so and so.

“You have a huge network,” he said to me.

I think you are condescending to me.

Yeah, I have a lot of friends on facecrack, but that does not feel like I have a lot of friends, you know, as I sit here alone in my apartment.

That is not to say that I don’t have loads of support.  I do.  And I am hella, insert Oakland here, grateful.  I really, truly am.

However, when it comes to asking for help with agency, publication, what is the next step, I suddenly feel like a lonely little child left in a corner, facing the wrong direction, watching the spider cracks in the plaster grow forward.

I turn around from the stool, tilted back on two legs instead of three, and see suddenly, that I am forty years old and still looking at the cracks in the ceiling, the smear of the water stain at the seam in the corner, wondering, how does this whole thing work anyhow?

I forget that I am self-centered.

I forget, moreover, that others are self-centered.

We all have our struggles, our worries, our anxieties, our Euro to count out on the table top.

I can afford to go sit in a cafe.

I can.

I have to go write.

I was feeling a little dejected, a little like my soul had gotten sucked out my head, through my ear, Wrath of Kahn style, dribbling on the floor, insouciant.

See that, there, that puddle.

No that is not rain fall from my parapluie, just the shedding of my soul.

I left the damn umbrella in the closet when I set out for my day.

Fortunately, I did not get doused.

I got misted.

It was sexy, in a cold drizzle kind of way.

I lifted my face to the cathedral and breathed deeply.

The cathedral of Paris clouds, the cathedral of Saint Augustin.

Saint Augustin

Saint Augustin

Saint Augustin

Saint Augustin

I walked from George V back out to the Champs Elysees and up to the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

I had thought about climbing the stairs, but after a walk below and a walk along the terrace, I changed my mind.

I wanted to have a little space from the tourists milling about and I felt like a walk.

I took Haussman Avenue.

I saw Saint Augustin in the distance, thinking, I know that!

I have ridden my bicycle past that, in fact, I bet I could walk to that and find my way back to the apartment.

I was correct.

Astounding.

I still will get lost, no worries, I have not been here that long, but I had my bearings and I followed the bicycle paths, staying off the paths, I saw a Japanese woman almost get run over yesterday by an irate Parisienne woman on a Velibe, and actually made it back to la maison without too much hassle.

I stopped at Saint Augustin to take some photographs, the stone so old, weeping age, seemed with time.  It was beautiful to see up close.

It was open.

I went inside.

It smelled glorious.

Old stone, wood, incense, candles burning.

The cathedral immense and empty.

Empty but for me and three other people.  One man, homeless, sorting through his sacks in the back pew, one man, in his sixties, ring of white hair a froth of halo over his head as he dipped into the font of the holy water and did the stations of the cross, and a woman arranging flowers.

Quiet.

Serene.

I felt calmness flow into me and I looked up at the stained glass in wonder.

How many hours, how many laborers, how long had this taken to build, how many artists chiseling the corners, sculpting the friezes, how did they get up so high, the wobble of scaffolding.

Is my house built on scaffolding or solid stone.

Stone.

It whispered to me, soft, strong, pliant, unmoveable and cool fired under my hand.  I touched a pillar, I walked past the corners, I looked up into the air of the church sparked with a few lights of half lit chandeliers and the strained grey light plunging through the colored glass overhead.

St. Augustin

St. Augustin

I pulled out my phone and took a very discreet photogrpah, no flash.

Then I went back into the rear of the church, staring in amazement at the levels of intricacy surrounding and the wealth of silence wrapping me soft in its arms.

I felt so completely cared for.

Sighing deeply, I walked out.

Only to be stop by a little grotto by the door.

A few candles lit nestled in an altar before Saint Rita.

I had never heard of Saint Rita and I do not know why I stopped to read it, but there it was, in French, mind you, a brief description of her life and her sainthood.

And what she was a saint for–Lost Causes.

I almost laughed out loud.

Here I am, your vessel.

Fill me up.

I walked out the door into the misty grey day and headed toward the 9th, pacing through the busy side walks by the Lafayette Galleries and weaving in and out of the shopping crowds.

It may not be the holidays anymore, but there is always shopping to be done, n’est pas?

Then the lunching, the drinking of tea, the networking.

Maybe it is just the overflow of information, there is so much of it.  So much that I fall looped into pools of it, splashing about, trying to find my way, uncertain which search terms to use, how to cold query, where to go.

I answered some e-mails, and I found a good site with some decent ideas and I did some reading and I wrote another query to another agency about my book.

Then I looked at the clock, get out, get out, it thrummed in my blood.

I pulled my wallet out and sifted through the Euro.

You have enough, there is enough, you are allowed to go get a cafe, to sit, to write, to rent the table and do the work, that is what you came for, right?

How many people out there quietly envy you, sitting in your cafe crying in your creme, whoa, I mean, woe is me, broke writer living in Paris.

I laughed out loud.

I looked at myself, I heard a friend’s voice in my ear, “if you stop writing, I will kill you.”

The query does not matter.

The agency does not matter.

Believe.

The networking does not matter either.

You know what you know.

You know you are a writer.

Now go.

I went.

I wrote.

The breath of the cathedral blew out of the sky and the rain tumbled down my umbrella.

I am watched over by saints.

I am.

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