Creative Corner is a space to share your creative writing at Roar! We hope you’ll enjoy the short stories we publish, all of which are written by current KCL students.
The sun had finally made its appearance after a long week of continuous rainfall, making it a lovely day for families, friends, and couples to stroll around Paris, and take in the clear skies and fresh air. I, too, decided to join these groups of people, as I set off for a solitary walk around the Jardin du Luxembourg, helplessly succumbing to the ‘main character syndrome’.
As I progressed with my promenade, I recalled the idea of solitude among others, whereby the solitary is within a crowd, merely playing the role of an observer; a sociologist, even. In Jean-Paul Sartre’s work, “The Childhood of a Leader”, the protagonist, Lucien, submerges himself into solitude as he sits in a café and observes those around him. No one approaches him, and vice versa. I find that there is some sort of liberation to this, as one is able to create stories of strangers they watch from afar, enriching the mind with creativity.
I found myself doing the same thing as I reclined on my chair in the garden and watched over the scene before me. There was a certain peace to seeing an old couple bask in each other’s presence, a child running by a large fountain, or others like me who seemed to enjoy the tranquil chaos of everything. One can only imagine the intense love felt by the couple, especially at a time when you may have nothing to hold onto but the one constant presence in your life. What about the naïve and innocent joy of the child who finds great pleasure in chasing his own watery reflection? All of these reminded me of Georges Seurat’s famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette” minus the 19th century fashion.
Nothing is better company than some quiet music, and in my ears Debussy’s “Deux Arabesques” was playing. I would like to think that this piece could be “Vinteuil’s sonata” Charles Swann hears, causing him to have an “involuntary memory” of his relationship with Odette in Marcel Proust’s “In Search of a Lost Time”. Proust’s concept of involuntary memory is when one finds themselves suddenly reminiscing a happy memory by undertaking a certain action in the present. “Deux Arabesques” reminds me of my return to the piano after having not played it for the past two years; meals with my friend who never fails to make me laugh; the forming of a new friendship. The melody projects an image of flowers blooming gracefully, emphasising the beauty of nature much like the natural progression of love and affection; Swann’s love for Odette; my returning love for the piano; the beginnings and continuations of strong friendships.
We are now in a time that is slowly returning to some form of normalcy, which means going back to fast-paced routines and being too tired to make time for ourselves. We might be constantly surrounded by negativity, and it would only get harder to come out of this environment. So, when we do find ourselves in this solitary and somewhat meditative state, we should cherish and savour it, and hold onto these fleeting moments of happiness and optimism.