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June 29, 2011

We are in Avignon. From the moment we stepped off the train I was happy. The wind was whipping the sycamores into a dither. The Avis people gave us a Renault Elf. Our hotel is lovely and old. We followed the Lonely Planet’s advice and ate at a restaurant where the chef took care, personal care, of us. Vegetarian risotto for me. Huge piles of beef and lamb for my son. The city is creamy and pink with marble streets, cafes, ice cream. This is a city to write in. I have not seen one person in biking gear. Our hotel has a garden which will be perfect for trying to write my Chamonix-through-Mary-Shelley’s-eyes chapter. No ski lodges anywhere near. Somehow, I will have to wax rhapsodic about those mountains, which is why I think writing biography is like theater. You have to take on your characters, imagine yourself into their shoes, which means I will have to see Chamonix through Mary Shelley’s eyes. Now that I am safely away from Mont Blanc I think I can do it. The irony of this is not lost on me.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. alison permalink
    June 29, 2011 9:11 pm

    I so agree with you about the visceral reaction to place. It just happens, and analyzing it only takes you so far. I’m so glad you are now in the proper place for you. And it sounds wonderful.

    and also i noted your link to Dawn Potter’s blog. I don’t know Dawn, but Harmony is my hometown, and so I know of her, even though she moved there well after I left (well, well after, but let’s not dwell on age too much so close to my last birthday in my 40s!). And so that struck me in that small world way — here is Charlotte, whose writing I so respect and who is a woman I liked so much and knew in my youth, who is connected to Dawn, who I do not know but who is undeniably connected to me through that town and who knows so many people I do. Or used to do. And there was the awfulness in that same small town recently that draws it all even closer.

    Anyway, the greatness of the world and the smallness of the world are always at play. I am pleased to think of you in Chamonix. Have a beautiful time, Charlotte. I enjoy your writing so much.

  2. Rick,Sherri & Henry permalink
    July 6, 2011 8:31 pm

    What a lovely meal we had with you and your son in Avignon. It was nice to connect and share thoughts of our different travels. What a great restaurant a well !!

  3. July 6, 2011 11:22 pm

    We loved meeting you. I hope we see you when we are all back in the states.

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