I find a trip to the library always time well spent. The quiet calms me, while the productive energy of study and exploration fosters my own feelings of inspiration. I returned two books this weekend, only to bring home yet one more book, two movies, and two CDS. Our days feel even more enriching and stimulating when we take regular trips to the library and make good use of what we find there.
After finishing The Count of Monte Cristo, I found myself seeking an altogether different experience. Chocolat by Joanne Harris provides just that, while still gratifying my current curiosity with all things abroad (which at the moment happens to be all things French, it seems). The story centers upon a woman named Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk as they begin to create a life of their own in a small French village. Several townspeople are quick to ostracize the little family, as they view the colorful young woman, her imaginative daughter, and their chocolaterie as particularly decadent, if not immoral. Though Harris creates an obvious tension between forces in her book, she explores meaningful themes with a lighthearted wit that is pleasurably thought provoking. I’m going to have to watch the film again once I’m through with the novel.
As for the movies, Will and I have already watched one of the two that I took out. On one of his nights off, we watched a former favorite of mine — a Lebanese film by Nadine Labaki titled Caramel (or Sekkar Banat in Arabic). I really enjoy foreign films, and watching Caramel again after many years reminded why. The cinematography remains convincingly real while at the same time lending artistic expression to critical moments in the film. There is also such a lively humor present that highlights well the themes explored and crosses cultural boundaries in a reminder that we all experience essentially similar things in life. The other movie we have yet to watch together is none other than Marie Antoinette — what did I tell you just now about my current fixation?
These days while cooking breakfast, though more often while cooking dinner, I’ll pop in one of the two CDS I took out, a compilation of Billie Holiday’s music titled From the Heart, and an awesome jazz album featuring Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, titled The Great Summit/The Master Takes. Words cannot do justice to this last work, you just have to hear it for yourself. The music is so uplifting, playful, soulful, that I feel entirely inspired just listening to it. The music seems to accentuate whatever it is we happen to be doing at the moment, for me most of the time that means cooking — though Piper and I have enjoyed a few memorable and ecstatic dance sessions already.
We have been eating so well, that even our food seems soulful. I guess that it has been infused with this general feeling of inspiration as well as with all that jazz. Though simple meals, we just seem to be enjoying the experience more — candle lit and seated extra close together. Some meals we have enjoyed recently are: artichokes with millet and Israeli salad, roasted sweet potatoes and peaches with quinoa and leftover kale salad, pancakes for breakfast one morning and cottage potatoes for breakfast another, Cuban black bean soup, peanut noodles, and more – but you can see how we love to eat!
Wishing you a day filled with joy and inspiration — and maybe a bit of jazz and chocolate, too.