Writing a book and having it published is an enormous achievement. So many people want to write that book, so few actually do it. This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending the book launch of someone that Chantal had a work relationship with. Recently retired, Frik finally birthed his baby. A novel, written in his home language, Afrikaans, that he has spent some ten years working on.
We’re celebrating the birth of his book “Mooier as die sonde self” with Frik Solms
Chantal loves to write, she knows the blood, sweat and tears that a project of this nature involves. She has several books in the pipeline. None published. Yet. Yes, she too, is one of those. It is because she has these pipeline projects that she can fully appreciate that working on a book requires the determination of a salmon swimming upstream to spawn, the skin of a crocodile and the tenacity of a honey badger. It also requires a passion for the craft.
Passion becomes the fuel for the action that has to take place to turn it into reality. It is all very well to have dreams and desires but these risk remaining just that: stories locked inside your head or heart if no action is taken to urge them into real life.
A city of gardens
On our last day in Paris we had to vacate our accommodation by 10h00. Our flight was only due out at 21h00 that evening. We had some time to kill. We stored our luggage close by to the station where we were catching our train to the airport. Feeling much lighter we were able to explore the surroundings.
Paris is a city of gardens. Beautiful, structured public gardens, many previously the gardens of a royal home, green the expanse that is the inner city. One of these, the Luxembourg Gardens, was a road cross away.
In 1612 Marie de Medici, Henry IV’s widow, started the landscape project as part of the Luxembourg palace she had constructed as her new residence. It covers 23 hectares or 56 acres of land. Marie had 2000 elm trees planted in the park. She wanted it to look like those she had known in her childhood in Florence. Today the garden is owned by the French Senate which holds its meetings in the palace. (No board rooms for them)
Abundant flowers beautifully abound in the Luxembourg Gardens
Discovering the delights
Earlier in the week we had come past the garden but had chosen to walk around it on our way to somewhere else. This time we walked in and down one of the many pathways that beckoned us to explore. It had become overcast and threatened to rain but this only increased our eagerness to forge ahead to the garden delights that awaited us.
The tree lined promenades are still there leading to open spaces filled with formal flower beds abundant with patterned colour. The manicured lawns are not for walking or sitting on but chairs and garden benches were available everywhere for the weary or dreamy visitor. We passed tennis courts that pulsated with the energy of Sunday sessions while nearby children laughed and played on colourful swings and roundabouts.
We found our way to the Grand Bassin which sits in front of the palace. This large octagonal pond was surrounded by parents watching their children sail model yachts and squeal in delight as the wind whipped them into impromptu races. Statues on pedestals looked down on the visitors in amusement. Even winked at the camera when we came across a small replica of the Statue of Liberty and took a photo.
Brushed by a brisk breeze, the boisterous bustle of children's blissful squeals floats across the waves
as they busily guide small boats.
Inspired snap shots
We wound our way to the outside of the garden and walked on quiet, empty streets. It started to drizzle. Matthew, inspired by the light, the air and the atmosphere, started to take photos. Using his Iphone he took snapshots of moments in that space.
People walking by, in groups or alone. Someone under an umbrella pausing at a traffic light. A helmeted young man driving by on a motorbike, the rasp of the engine smacking the quiet and then leaving it to settle. A bicycle lying on its side tied to a lamppost, lost and alone. Families ushering children with them as they trotted across streets to get out of the rain.
Matthew has a passion for photography and a keen eye. He did some quick editing of his photos and turned them into black and white renditions. This gave them another character altogether. All on his phone and on the fly.
He called this collection South African in Paris, a quirky tip of the hat to another album by another artist in another city. Two albums, two cities, two artists, but oh, so different! For those with a keen ear, you might hear the distant strumming of a certain Englishman's guitar in New York.
Frédéric Bartholdi crafted a smaller Statue of Liberty for the 1900 World's Fair in Paris.
It stood outside the Musée du Luxembourg from 1905 to 2014 and is now at the entrance of Musée d'Orsay.
A bronze replica (this one) is in the Luxembourg Gardens.
A dream to do
Matthew wants to exhibit them, he has always wanted to hold an exhibition of his photos. He has had some of his work exhibited with other photographers, and some published in a coffee table book, now may be the chance to do his own exhibition. But only if he acts on this desire.
There is no better feeling than to be immersed in work or a craft that you love. The flow that comes with being absorbed in the creative process of stringing words together in a way that takes the message straight to the readers heart, or editing a photo so that it feels as if one is walking in the rain in Paris too, make time disappear and with it all the concerns and worries of the world. For that moment.
It is good for the soul. And what is better is persevering through the roadblocks, the overhauls and chapter changes. Climbing over the criticisms, the self doubt and blunders that feel like boulders. It takes courage to finally have that book published, the photos on exhibition, the completed hobby project put up for sale. It does not need to be beautiful or receive rave reviews or even bring in more than one buyer, it just needs to be done.
The doing makes the difference
It is in the doing that the difference is made. The difference between the dream and the actual. The desire and the reality. It is the fear that what we produce will not stack up, will not be good enough, that paralyses and prevents the passion from being shared. Just doing it makes the difference. Just doing it allows the light to shine on the whole product, production or event that is magnificent. The crooked line, the misaligned frame, the misspelt word or clunky sentence are overlooked in the brilliance of the creation.
Hats off to the brilliant, the brave and the creative who do birth their passions for the world to witness. We need more of you, more of us to do the same. Challenge set. Challenge accepted?
Until next time.
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
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