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Category Archives: Paris

Van Gogh In the Road

On an exotic summer Sunday I step into the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and head not toward a vision but a sound. “It’s the light or, rather, the lack of light in The Outskirts of Paris that makes this dirt road and the man in it faceless and gray and in need of southern […]

Also posted in Mental Health, Painters, Poverty, Vincent Van Gogh

The Ragpicker

“Sir, I’ve admired you for years,” I tell The Ragpicker. “People in Paris saw a man carrying a long stick, and usually crossed the street.” “They’re forgotten. You’re a masterpiece visited by thousands a week in the Norton Simon Museum.” “They also see a bum.” “It’s your suffering people appreciate when they gaze at your […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Edouard Manet, Homeless, Norton Simon, Painters, Pasadena, Poverty

Deadly Numbers

I was an Iraqi professor of statistics until the United States and later ISIS destroyed my classroom and much of the university. I suppose I should thank each group for attacking when school wasn’t in session, but I believe that may have been coincidental. At any rate, like civilized people everywhere, I commiserate with the […]

Also posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, ISIS, Middle East

Freud and Wife Visit Picasso

In Paris Lucian and I again socialize with other glamorous and creative people, and most mornings he paints while I write, imagining myself a female Fitzgerald thirty years after Scott brought exotic but doomed Zelda to this marvelous city. Several Parisiennes tell me Lucian and I might be an even more dazzling couple. Within a […]

Also posted in Boxing, Caroline Blackwood, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Infidelity, Lucian Freud, Pablo Picasso, Painters, Zelda Fitzgerald

The Coco Chanel Style

My mother washed people’s clothes and died young in 1895 when I was twelve, and my food-peddling father deserted his five children. For six years I lived in a Catholic orphanage and learned to sew. The moment I turned eighteen they said goodbye and I escaped to sing in cabarets and thought I well did […]

Also posted in Clothes, Coco Chanel, Fashion, France, Winston Churchill

Hemingway Fifty Years Dead

Early morning on a July second Ernest Hemingway, battered by decades of alcoholism, assailed by a brain injured in one car and two plane crashes, haunted by a lifelong fear of inherited mental illness and certain that it and rapid aging had forever rendered him paranoid and defeated, quietly arose from a bedroom separate from […]

Also posted in Art, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, France, Julian Barnes, Movies, Pablo Picasso, Woody Allen, Writers