So often when I write, I'm trying for the same effect with language that the Impressionists attempted with light. Obviously, I fail more often than I succeed; the generic yin to their genius yang, I suppose. And given that at least a third, if not a half, of The Novel From Hell® takes place in Argenteuil, I would be remiss and a deserving candidate for rendition to a dusty, faraway prison if I didn't mention that today was the birthday of a man who lived and painted à cette banlieu for more than a few years, one Monsieur Claude Oscar Monet.
Nothing can top autumn, but let's try some snow.
That's better. Oh, what the hell, here's some summer, you bastards.
The water was nearly a blinding white. The sun had, without fanfare, begun its descent, moving closer to rest, saturating the earth and all her inhabitants with its penultimate throes of brilliance as I sat motionless on the ground, squinting as I explored the undulating shapes of the current streaming past, blue-black behind me, a glittering pane of orange glass ahead. I stood up and walked down to the edge, dipping my finger in the warm water to see if it was as fragile as it seemed to be. The mirror rippled, then cracked, splintering my image, making it even more difficult to dismiss the increasingly disturbing belief that I alone – not through any arcane process I had stumbled upon within my small library or, more likely, one of the ancient texts housed in the Bibliothèque Nationale, but through the day-to-day observation that we all, even if subconsciously, participate in – knew the secret and that I was, perhaps, afraid to handle the unexpected revelation of Madeleine: that a kindred spirit did exist, in the form of, all things, my ideal. How could I arrive at such a conclusion on so little, I wondered to myself, most probably aloud, the way one is shocked upon seeing an exceptional painting of a minor master consistently left out of the catalogs or in hearing a piece of music written by an unknown composer performed in the home of a vague acquaintance or distant relation and you, by a whim of the fates who feel especially beneficent that day, discover through your audible surprise that rarest of commodities, a being who shares the same passion for this obscurity as you, is drawn to the many of the same brushstrokes and measures, sharing the same sentiments that cannot help but be associated with these particular creative fragments, so elusive to others – so vital – and where an individual detail or chord may strike the one more powerfully than the other through the inherent differences we all share, even those of us so closely attuned on an unseen preternatural level, that once its effect upon you is explained without resorting to thickly applied histrionics better suited to the classroom but instead a few choice words, a silent glance or even a knowing smile, they immediately understand.