You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.
we would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.
We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.
By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.
But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.
There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.
If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.
Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary...
People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.
I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.
But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.
The people that I liked and had not met went to the big cafes because they were lost in them and no one noticed them and they could be alone in them and be together.
My,' she said. 'We're lucky that you found the place.' We're always lucky,' I said and like a fool I did not knock on wood. There was wood everywhere in that apartment to knock on too.
I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I had ever loved anyone but her.
Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do.
I was young and not gloomy and there were always strange and comic things that happened in the worst time...
You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
He liked the works of his friends, which is beautiful as loyalty but can be disastrous as judgement.
But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.
In Dostoevsky there were things unbelievable and not to be believed, but some so true they changed you as you read them; frailty and madness, wickedness and saintliness, and the insanity of gambling were there to know as you knew the landscape and the roads in turgenev.
Life had seemed so simple that morning when I had wakened and found the false spring… But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.
I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out. It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something that they understood.
I loved her and I loved no one else and we had a lovely magic time while we were alone. I worked well and we made great trips, and I thought we were invulnerable again, and it wasn't until we were out of the mountains in late spring, and back in Paris, that the other thing started again.
Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light.
A girl came in the cafe and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair black as a crow's wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.
We need more true mystery in our lives Hem- he said. The completely unambitious writer and the really good unpublished poem are the things we lack most. There is of course the problem of sustenance.
When I had finished the book I knew that no matter what Scott did, nor how he behaved, I must know it was like a sickness and be of any help I could to him and try to be a good friend. He had many good, good friends, more than anyone I knew. But I enlisted as one more, whether I could be of any use to him or not. If he could write a book as fine as The Great Gatsby I was sure that he could write an even better one. I did not know Zelda yet, and so I did not know the terrible odds that were against him. But we were to find them out soon enough.
In a city like Paris where there was a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were, was like having a great treasure given to you.
I did not understand them but they did not have any mystery, and when I understood them they meant nothing to me. I was sorry about this but there was nothing I could do about it.
All things truly wicked start from innocence. So you live day by day and enjoy what you have and do not worry. You lie and hate it and it destroys you and every day is more dangerous, but you live day to day as in a war.
Now that the bad weather had come, we could leave Paris for a while for a place where this rain would be snow coming down through the pines and covering the road and the high hillsides and at an altitude where we would hear it creak as we walked home at night. Below Les Avants there was a chalet where the pension was wonderful and where we would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright. That was where we could go.
There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. Paris was always worth it, and you received return for whatever you brought to it….
We both touched wood on the cafe table and the waiter came to see what it was we wanted. But what we wanted he, nor anyone else, nor knocking on wood or on marble, as this cafe table-top was, could ever bring us. But we did not know it that night and we were very happy.
Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.