i woke up this morning and everything had changed. brightness, light, euphoria; when i follow the pattern of streets rue jacques rue st martin rue st severin passage des houchettes, to panis to internet to franprix and i am analysing yesterday to determine what i possibly took in that dialled my mood to full mania. protein? i tried a few bites of chicken wrapped around some ham last night, but stopped it once i remembered, my stomach remembered, that i do not eat that sort of thing. vitamins! no vitamins for three days and then yesterday: vitamins. this makes me pull out the container and have another one, washed down with apricot flavored drinkable yogurt; yop.
and! as of last night i have--ahem--scored a bed at the bookstore. the childrens section. three people left yesterday afternoon so there was a great upheaval and reshuffling at bedtime, leaving me with a real bed instead of a bench in the library. i even had dreams last night.
it was rainy and after one coffee un cafe, it was sunny. shimmery. all my favorite movies are playing at the cinemas, and there are at least twelve cinemas.
today is shower day.
today i will wash my clothes at the lavarie next to the franprix. franprix is our cheap grocery store.
when i stayed at the hostel i went to a place called LAVATRONIC in the 19e.
i sort of think that would be a good title for something. something other than a laundrymat.
for christmas, you may buy me www.lavatronic.org
at night, i hover around federicka and harry and listen to them practice french on each other, or harry telling stories about getting outstandingly drunk and breaking into office buildings in london just to walk around inside them. federicka is unfailingly friendly and has colored black hair like canadian mark and talks about how she would kick the shit out of skinheads back home in hamburg. harry looks vaguely like adrain lakey and has a bored-sounding london accent and looks hard at you when he is talking. last night he was talking about decadence. missing it and not missing it and sort of missing it, the drinking culture is more excessive in the UK. they were passing a bottle of spanish wine back and forth and rolling drum cigarettes. at midnight i helped undo the bookstore. it is cold here
muna hijazi, write me back. tell me when is a good time to telephone.
yours, amanda L. at 6:12:00 AM [+]
nicholas came to visit for the weekend. i took the blue RER to the aeroport. i listened to bright eyes and read the sheltering sky. he brought me a large sleeping bag and took pictures with a polaroid camera and left a roll of it in my green bag. my camera does not accept this type of film.
nicholas sawed a board into a smaller piece in exchange for two nights of sleep at shakespere. we drank cheap, very cheap red wine. we ate at the soup kitchen. we went to the tour eiffel. he took the RER back by himself. the RER tickets are yellow instead of blue.
i drink café noixettes at café panis.
i am reading muriel spark's autobiography, a book about site-specific art, a book called naive. super, bowles's the sheltering sky, and nabokov's speak, memory.
i am consumed with a plan conceived by my friend joey and myself: we are going to rent a house in barcelona next year and then put a bunch of beds in the rooms and make it into a youth hostel, thus easily paying our rent and allowing us to live for free in spain for a year or more. we discuss, discuss, discuss and refine this plan. a boy named daniel here at shakespere has sucessfully done this before us. joey speaks spanish. i will learn spanish.
i am considering returning home for january to prepare for this endevor.
it is raining so i hide in the internet. i talked to j laferrera just now for an extremely long time. when i do eventually get back to virginia, we are going to make videos, films, and music; i am going to sing songs. this makes me happy. i feel as if i have many choices, and that any direction i choose with be sucessful and not a failure like i normally suspect.
yours, amanda L. at 9:02:00 AM [+]
i get emails, but they are days late. there is no rhyme or reason to it, except it seems to be: important long ones. i have received every email that a friend has claimed was terribly important. just two days later than they sent it.
i woke up sort of early, that is, slightly before 10 or so. i had been sharing an opened-up sleepingbag-turned-blanket with a boy named dave at the bookstore, in a decidedly unsexual way, but that has made us friends of sorts, in the sense that i wake up and poke him in the arm and say, hey what time is it? look at your watch. and he says, it is ten. go to the train station and get your suitcase and more importantly get me a scarf. i had promised him a scarf, since i have a new, longer one. we are all cold and sleep next to each other in a room that in the daytime is a library. we sleep on benches and ragged mattresses and at ten thirty every moring george charges in and hollers at us to wake up and open the bookstore, at which point we stagger to our feet and roll everything up and push sleeping bags back into their containers and cram it all into the the spaces beneath the benches and behind the bookshelves. you would never guess if you saw it in the daylight.
opening the bookstore means carrying the inside stuff downstairs to the outside and putting it all together. this happens each morning, and at midnight the same thing happens but in reverse. we undo it then.
i say, there really is not any room in the closet for my suitcase.
he says, i will take out my bag because i am leaving and then you will have room for yours.
i say, i want to miss opening this morning.
he says, you arent supposed to do that. but he is kidding a little.
he says, if you go now you will get back before i leave to go look at my apartment and then i will have a scarf and i would really like a scarf.
i take the metro to the gard de nord where my suitcase has been and i head back immediately but it is already 11:15 when i get off at saint michel. the bookstore is open and dave has ridden his bicycle off and i go upstairs and put on clean clothes which make me feel like a new person, a person that is clean and new and not a girl who has not showered for five days. when i go back downstairs colleen is sweeping and i am immediately asked to take one of the filthy rugs outside and Beat it. i look up and catherine is already outside with the other rug. dust is everywhere and the notre dame is huge behind her. i take the rug to the ironwork out next to the sidewalk and hold it with both hands and look at the notre dame and think about how i was clean for three minutes and showers are not until tomorrow and then almost immediately after the rug is somewhat finished i find myself scrubbing the stone floor of the antiquarian bookstore next to shakespere and missing an IM appointment to clean the dirtiest floor on earth with the dirtiest rag on earth and freezing cold water.
i feel somewhat absolved from bookstore work in all forms after this and head back upstairs to the library to read and eat yesterdays bread with olive oil. people come and go and we discuss the usual topics: eating and where to do it. eventually there is a move towards cafe panis for a coffee and then joey appears and i say lets find that secondhand shop on rue la chapelle and get you a scarf since i promised my extra scarf to dave who has vanished. we concoct this excellent plan to buy a bunch of winter hats and distribute them to the soup kitchen crew as a surprise. the hats are two euros apiece but i haggle and get them five for five euros, and i do this by opening my eyes very pleadingly to the shopkeeper and, waving my hands in the air above the hats, saying pour mes amis.
we are excited about the hats. we are excited about our plan to read an entire book aloud that night, while drinking wine. the book is called the lady who turned into a fox. it sounds good. we decide reading aloud is good and we will do it often.
the gard de austerlitz is where everyone walks to eat, every night but jeudi, at seven thirty. we walk past the zoo, past the ostriches. tonight everyone is sort of loud and buoyant and six of us are wearing new hats: catherine, vera, joey, deirdra, peter and me. we stop and pester the ostriches. the soup is delicious and we get blueberry yogurt and the usual huge bag of bread. on the walk back we stop and try to throw bread chunks to the ostriches and miss. it is dark all the time and there is always talking and jokes and dry bread and reading and cheap wine. later joey's talia appears and he disappears with her and does not come back that night to read the lady that turned into a fox, but it is okay because federicka and catherine and vera and i have heard about free dancing to house music at a place called le wagg and when we get back at 3am we have to use a stick to open the door latch through the mail slot because it gets locked each night at 12. the spots to sleep are competitive and since dave is nowhere to be found jason has reclaimed most of the floor with his bed made from chairs stolen from the hallway so i take my matress and dave's sleeping bag to the childrens section and fall asleep with my shoes on.
today is shower day. shakespere has no showers and no proper toilet, just a turkish one. the public showers are incredible, especially when one has to wait six days to use them because one did not pay attention an learn that they stop on sunday not to mention one had spent saturday night sleeping in the dirt next to the sacred coeur with friends. the public showers rule. they are warm. you get twenty minutes. afterwards, you are clean and smell nice. it is very simple.
i get to the internet and it is exciting because jason laferrera is online and i am quite fond of him. and i am writing down the flight numbers for nicholas's plane and it seems that everything today will be great.
you know what, i will write about today tomorrow morning. see you then.
yours, amanda L. at 4:46:00 PM [+]
1. flea market in clignancourt
2. crepes and champagne and watching the simpsons at colin's flat
3. red wine on a bench, facing traffic, with joey and sphere
4. alphabetizing books while singing neutral milk hotel songs
5. i get to borrow this kids sleeping bag
6. things are really great, today. the best ever. perfection.
yours, amanda L. at 4:41:00 PM [+]
i walked to shakespeare and company and found george and demanded a job and a bed to sleep on. ryan mcsweeney, please take note of my courage. (does ryan mcsweeney read this?) they dont pay you at shakespeare and company, but they give you a free bed for a few weeks. george said, how long do you want to stay? and i said, one month. and he said, one week. and i said, two weeks. and he said, we'll see. help me get these papers in order. i started writing down the bank account stuff per his instructions and he immediately started hollering at me. a person named mark was outside fixing the door, and george began hollering at him, about caulk. mark and i went for coffee, he is a former ballet dancer now published writer. i showed him my lockpicking tools and he said tomorrow is the beginning of the winter season where the police cant kick people out of squats. then we walked to the artists' squat on rue rivoli and walked around through it. i was overwhelmed and went back to the hostel to mull over everything. i listened to the bright eyes cd lifted three times today. music makes everything better, yet worse you see.
yours, amanda L. at 3:13:00 PM [+]
first, in the afternoon, i rushed back on metro line 4, porte de clignancourt to porte d'orleans, but i go towards clignancourt from les halles and get off and walk from gard de l'est rather than change lines just to get off right away at jaures.
when i am very tired, i ride all the way to jaures. line 5, bobigny to porte d'italie . i go towards bobigny.
you can track this on a map.
on the way to the metro, i buy a crepe avec banane et sucre from this guy that makes the crepe part of it then and there, instead of pulling one from a stack of ones he made earlier.
but i rush back because it is six and i want to go to this concert and concerts start early here so i am hurried.
i pull the door closed, the door swings open alot and you have to close it right, and i reach for the key to room 3 and naima says ehamanda there ees a package for you and i look straight down under my hand reaching for key and there is! a! package! for! me! which i grab hard and run upstairs and collapse on to the floor and rip it open and light shoots out in all directions from it i promise.
and i open and open and open and keeping opening and finding and unzipping and unfolding and it is the most overwhelming gift of my life; i remember the show i need to get to its six thirty now i put everything back together and run out into the night LISTENING TO MUSIC as i run back to jaures to catch line 2, is it 2? the dark blue line, to pigalle. i try to buy a phone card but monoprix has closed. the urgent need to get on the telephone and holler out a earthshattering thank-you for this gift is making my head turn in loops, figuring and structuring; i cant get to the internet after the show, maybe the african place that sells phone cards will still be open at eleven, etc.
the opening band for the walkmen was some crazy french ROCK band and i laughed through the entire set, when i wasnt jumping around like a person that has nothing to fear from anyone. the singer was the spitting image of that kid in that 70s show except he acted like the singer from the animals. at one point he puts down his guitar and picks up a tambourine, and when the song starts he poses his body rock-idol-style and then just lets out this amazing scream and starts banging the tambourine sort of in time with the scream and the effect is completely insane and hilarious. they rocked.
the walkmen would not look at the audience. the singer stared at a point somewhere on the ceiling, or he would look towards us and let his eyes glaze over, and then halfway through the show their guitarist noticed that the boy standing next to me was flailing his arms around and throwing his fists in the air and clapping with his arms outstretched and after that he could not look up without laughing. this flailing boy, muna, looked exactly like a berliner version michael shields v.1995.
but the walkmen, i had them all figured out before the show, they were the only boys in the club with tight button down shirts and work pants. they were the only boys with worn spots on their pockets from wallets and choppy new york hairdos. they looked exhausted. their set was exhausting to watch. their instruments were old and scratched to fuck and held together with tape and nicholas would have liked the guitar which was hollow bodied and sure sounded it
i took the metro back LISTENING TO MUSIC
i now have a soundtrack
then, i sat down, room number three, i pulled the mattress from against the wall to on the floor and arranged myself on it with charlotte's let's go guide 2002 and the new, delicious, shimmering discman. when i look at it my teeth feel sugary. it is the newest-looking thing in all of paris. it is metallic red. i pull the weakerthans cd out and consult the letter that arrived with the package and then skip the disc forward to the songs that are not sighted as highlights and puzzle over them for awhile, wondering what jason laferrera finds less good about these than the others, and thinking of muna's house and staying there and these songs that she and i listened to together.
i copy down addresses from the book, hostels in budapest, bucharest, dubrovnik. i consider barcelona for awhile, and fall asleep without incident.
today i stepped outside listening to pinkerton and thought i would die with joy.
i went up to clignancourt and walked from there to saint-ouen to find the flea market but i couldn't, which is strange, because it is enormous but maybe it is only on weekends or maybe i was backwards; instead i bought oranges and explored the town some. some buildings inscribed défense d'afficher sous peine de poursuites judiciares in bright blue paint. i looked at the ground and it was covered in little twigs that looked like bones. yesterday i took kids from the hostel on a field trip to the catacombes. i was listening to the black heart procession/ amore del tropico and staring at these little twigs everywhere and thinking, where am i? and: this moment.
today i walked down more stairs and escalators towards more metro and accidentally discovered line 14 of the metro. the meteor line.
you get halfway down the stairs and think to yourself, something is up. everything gets spacier and spacier, and bubblier and 2001ier, and i am saying where am i this is incredible and then the metro comes wooshing in in its glass tube thing and you say, jesus christ it is totally a spaceship.
i meant to go back and study french a little, or read books at the bookstore that lets you sit and read in its library, but i was excited to talk to you and write all this down, i feel fat with talk. mouthfuls of stories.
yours, amanda L. at 9:03:00 AM [+]
i don't have that fun job. it really wasn't that fun. it was cold. anyway,
this girl who is friends with the girl that is leaving today showed up and claimed it.
this transmission is for the people that i have forgetten to tell that to.
yours, amanda L. at 8:22:00 AM [+]
The incendiary march ended at the capitol’s Bell Tower with a final rally where Muna Hijazi, a VCU student, recited a Palestinian song.
“In Palestine, there’s a song they sing, ‘I walk with my head held high an olive branch in my right hand and coffin on my back,” she said.
“Now in Palestine, they suffer, but they also sing. In Palestine, they fight but they also write.”
when i read that today i burst into tears.
what i mean is, i am right now in tears.
yours, amanda L. at 10:48:00 AM [+]
i went to the divan du monde in pigalle to hear the bands british sea power and the libertines play rock music last night. british sea power was more interesting, what with the stuffed heron that kept appearing in various roles around the stage, the foliage, the oranges in a basket that were flung into the audience, and the last song where the bassist got frustrated with his bass and chucked it backwards over his head and then walked over and pulled one guitarist's guitar off him, starting a chain reaction where the guitarist then picked up one of the drums and walked around with it, hitting it like a marching band and then everyone started taking the drums apart, and stealing each others instruments, and doing handstands, but the entire time keeping the song together somehow. the boy left singing stood in the front and sang until the bassist crept up behind him and suddenly leap into his shoulders, or tried to, and they both fell over with a horrible thud and then laid on the stage on their backs, singing and screaming together. it was good. i like showmanship like that.
the libertines just sounded like the strokes. they postured and pouted and wore leather jackets.
i mean, they were great, but nobody did any handstands or anything.
i walked home because it was a straight line along mostly rue de la chapelle and i figured i would not get too lost. halfway along, i came to this mysterious part of the neighborhood where all the shops were open, except that inside every single one of them the people were preparing enormous plates of moroccan and arabic deserts and placing them in neat rows on the floor. plate after plate after plate. and then setting out large bottles of orange soda pop. and i could not figure it out, and i kept walking past these places, twelve of them in a row at times.
it is nice to walk around by oneself
yours, amanda L. at 6:15:00 AM [+]
this is so nice i will point it out. nicholas put it in the guestmap, which only he and muna are interested in.
i always had a crush on tesla.
especially the photograph of him with electricity coming out of his hands.
i will look for it for you.
yours, amanda L. at 5:50:00 AM [+]
i think googlism is hilarious.
but when i did it using amanda, it just said this:
amanda is ready and waiting for
amanda is pretty or
if you type in anybody we know's first name you will get very excellent results.
try muna, nicholas, jason, jonathan, or andrew.
you will get medium results if you type in lafff or laferrera, but it is funny.
and if you type in andy bourne you get this:
andy bourne is looking forward to the challenge
andy bourne is unable to collect a loose
yours, amanda L. at 1:20:00 PM [+]
my new temporary job is to go to the train station and pay attention to people, draw conclusions about them based on their appearance and then try to sweet talk them into coming to our youth hostel. we wait and wait for the international trains and we sit next to the tourist information kiosk and smoke cigarettes until the police walk by and tell us to stop, at which point we throw out the cigarettes and walk over to the trains and light up again. roman from moscow and mil from mexico speak in english and french and spanish to each other and grab each other's hair and make fun of dumb american girls that are rude to us even though we are obviously offering them valuable information in the most earnest way; most of them run away like rabbits, drawing conclusions about us (that we are: pickpockets). and then roman says loudly to their backs, bon chance, bitches
you walk up to the two with backpacks (except sometimes the backpacks are shabby with odd color combinations, no they are french says mil) and you smile and say in english excuse me but are you looking for a hostel? at which point their eyes grow wide and they hurriedly say no and walk off, away to the tourist kiosk. if they are from japan or chile or somewhere where the loney planet guides do not instruct one to be afraid of any and all people at the train stations then they will stop and let you explain about the showers in every room and the large full kitchen.
a man named kamil walks around with brochures for his hotel and you have to be faster than him.
mostly you sit on the metal bar against the train information kiosk, watching the tourist kiosk, and talking about people all day, all day.
yours, amanda L. at 10:59:00 AM [+]
i went to the louvre and it was full of demons. horseheads and saints heads on plates and angels with their legs ripped off and grown men laying on the ground poisoned from breast milk and scowling marys and children strangling geese and christ out in his garden (?) with mary magdalene flinging herself at him like he is a rock star.
i didnt see the mona lisa because i dont give a fuck about the mona lisa but i have always obsessed over the winged victory of samothrace and i loved looking at it and i wished it would come alive and just fly straight out of the ceiling, straight through walls, like a bird that accidentally gets inside and flaps for its life in all directions.
yours, amanda L. at 4:39:00 PM [+]
i am just wasting time at the easyEverything. it is super ultra rainy outside and i haven't figured out what to do in paris on rainy saturday nights yet but i am sure that it is not: talking about travelling with other travellers and that is for fucking sure. people ask you, where are you from? and never, ever, what is your name? and then they launch into a long spooling paragraph generalizing the countries they've travelled to and maybe rating them on a personal point scale or something equal and its all the same exact sentences over and over again, because backpacker conversation is the memeiest of memes and i feel embarrased for the people working as bartenders at the youth hostel who have to endure this every single every day and i want to stare into someone's eyes and say, shut up. lets talk about the television shows that i have not seen and you have and i don't mean the ones they show only in canada or only in south africa i mean the really dumb ones that are universal, and tell me plot descriptions of your favorite episodes and ruin my endings. now. lets talk about our favorite deserts and books and then lets go buy those deserts and eat them slowly saying, mm thats why i love eating this and afterwards read books out loud to each other, and lets go rent bicycles, and show me how to knit since i've noticed you have needles, and tell me why you majored in politcal science what is that all about. and then lets go find a place to fucking dance and not talk okay?
i am going through fast cycles or stages of leaving a place. i first was lost and sad, and then i was giddy and making phone calls, and now i have lost my idealism and am full of sour sourness. i want very much to listen to my friend that rambles on about the things he buys to be telling me about them right now, a long story only about the getting and why (because it is neat to have it, because it is cool-looking, because it is useful in a vageuly un-useful way, because it is neat to have it.)
yours, amanda L. at 3:18:00 PM [+]
The wedding will be followed by champagne, and then by revolution, as the workers arise and take what is rightfully theirs, including the beaded Mischka wedding gown and the heaped platters of canvasback duck.
yours, amanda L. at 3:01:00 PM [+]
when i looked out of the windows of the plane it was completely dark and with stars everywhere. like outer space. and in the second half, as i held the back of my head and thought about what that pain could be, the pain that felt like a bubble in the back of my skull, i looked out the window and the netherlands looked like a toy lego world with tiny trucks and plastic trees and patchwork land in browns and green
i was unhappy in amsterdam and did not know why i was on this earth at all. and it is hard, because it is so pretty there. when i got off the train in paris the world made more sense to me
last night i rolled cigarettes and ate olives with american kate while (i forget his name) told us stories about spending money in new york city and at eleven i jumped up to run outside and use the phone and then run back inside again. then i left and almost immediately missed the last metro back, one oclock in the morning, and so walked the longest walk of my life and i have walked some long walks but this was epic, i made up stories i read signs i daydreamed about the future as i walked walked walked across three districts of paris; because it was beautiful out and i was awake and just not in the mood for a friday night taxi. it took an hour and a half and my legs were wobbly and i was broken. adel said he was going to get a sandwich and i did i want one?
if you want to see it on a map i walked from the cluny-sorbonne metro to the jaures metro.
my email does not work please everyone write me ar firstname.lastname@example.org because i have no recorded email addresses.
yours, amanda L. at 8:49:00 AM [+]
anda gail lewis 2005. stop crying every day.