At age 12 I read “The Plague” by Albert Camus. There was one character, who wanted to become a great writer. His ambition was not to create a genius novel or theater play: he wanted to write a single phrase, but in a perfect way. He was working on it day and night, remaining unsatisfied with the precision of his language. The phrase (its work-in-progress version) was “One fine morning in the month of May an elegant young horsewoman might have been seen riding a handsome sorrel mare along the flowery avenues of the Bois de Boulogne”. As a teenager I was very intrigued: what is this Bois de Boulogne? How flowery are its avenues? Do horsewomen really appear there in May? Might they have really been seen?
At age 29 I visited Paris and took a walk in the Bois de Boulogne. It was New Year’s Eve, moist sky, cold wind, ambiguous sorrow in the air; the flowery avenues were blue and lonely, as you can see on my Polaroid shot.