February 19, 2024

Flâneur ...

This week the temperatures broke into the upper 30s and the entire city was dripping, ending the longest stretch of below-freezing temps in 19 years. So much moisture in the air blurred a sun that actually felt warm on the skin. People freak out in Minnesota when the temps first get up into the balmy 40s. Everyone's running around at lunch without their jackets on, smiling for a change. The acedia of February has given way to something else -- a compulsion to do things. I've got a lot of shit on my desk. Unfinished projects, ideas for poems, stories, essays. Nothing seems to get done. Of course, by not doing anything, I'm also not failing. I blame it on the cold that's knocked me down this week, or on feeling tired and uninspired. The problem is I've never felt more inspired. I'm just afraid to do anything about it -- afraid I might fail.

Lately I have been thinking about the idea of the flâneur. I came across a new magazine that I've subscribed to: It's called smoke: a london peculiar. Photos, essays, writings on the city of London -- how could I not love it, I figure. Thinking about my own journeys through that city, I remember an article I once read in The Guardian. It argued that if the flâneur of French origin explored the streets on foot (lookin' for hookers, knowing the French), then the British equivalent experienced the streets from the top of a double-decker bus. Not far from the truth for me. I'd leave Brixton at six or seven pm, and with no where to go and many, many hours ahead with no destination, no one to see, I'd start off taking the bus into the center of town, headphones on. I'd walk for a little bit, but often my meditations on loneliness took place from the tops of double decker buses, where if I was lucky I found a seat right up front. I don't do that here in Minneapolis. Aimless hours aren't spent riding the 6 to Southdale. Sometimes I go out to the Mall of America, but only if I'm feeling particularly sadistic. Anyway, I came across an online literary mag called Flâneur. It's nice to read, but I'd much rather be walking.

Posted by Jason at February 19, 2024 09:33 PM | TrackBack
Posted to walking in the city

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