The happy place

On writing and friendship · a repost

Beyond the wall: shaggy rocks and boulders; shaggy myrtle bushes and a golden broom hung high above the sea. -  from Voices in the Garden by Dirk Bogarde

"The happy place" by Mel Piper
Photo by Mel Piper

There it was, my happy place, in the South of France. Each time upon entering I was reassembled into a new draft of myself. For hours I would stare at the sea. I would write, and eat, and sleep. And sometimes I would walk in the garden. Alone.


2019 was to be different. I invited a friend. I would share my happy place. What was said and done prior to our time here sufficed to bridge a gap of undeniable bliss. And so began my first summer in Provence. A holiday. It took me a week to realize what holidays in the sun are about.


Sweet nothingness was different, that is to say, a challenge. Indulgence in food and wine, sun, salt, and the sea. And I slept. A lot. My friend is a kind soul, who just let me be, made me laugh and shared my enthusiasm for Provençal life. I am happy to have had her around for a while.

"The happy place" by Mel Piper
Photo by Mel Piper

She returned home yesterday. Today as I ease back into the working relationship with keyboard, notecards and emails, I recall how little I listen to my self sometimes. To my senses. In their best moments I catch them in the act, doing something silly, overly romantic and generally unimaginable.


I pin them down, tie them into a screenplay or an alternative piece of writing. What I experience may be worth a word or two. While I wrestle with them wordy creatures, I realize how unimportant it is to take it all at face-value. Life that is. There will be a new script, a new story. Lingering in my happy place, following me as I leave, perhaps for the last time.


Stretching thought into sublime nothingness reveals, that there are two main things in my life: Love in all its wondrous shapes. And telling stories. Happy places exist around us, not all of them as beautiful as this one, many in more subtler tones. We nurture them with love we keep for ourselves. They prepare us to invite others we love: stories and people alike.


The mistral was blowing the day I arrived in these parts. As I am swaying through my last afternoon here, it is blowing again. So much so that I am afraid it might lift me and my deckchair off the terrace and into oblivion. Steadfast.


Come to think of it, the view from up there must be astounding. I am not impressed by the prospect of uncontrolled air flight. And I have things to look forward to, people to get to know better, stories to read and to tell. That lingering feeling at the back of my neck. Not wanting to be carried out onto open waters is drowned in one last pot of home-brewed coffee.