Tag Archives: Paris


IMG_0422I am seeped in history to the bone. Today I took myself on a walking tour of Maastricht using an old guide book someone had
IMG_0566recommended. I was just swept away by narrow alleys and bits of old wall and relics in churches.  Historian Dirk Jansen has shared all his theories and research about d’Artagnan. He’s taken me to city archives to look at old maps. We took a train to Paris and went to the war museum and looked at a special exhibit on the musketeers and talked with a French historian and curator IMG_0706he knows. Yesterday, I thought to have a quiet day and ended up seeing the American WWII soldiers’ cemetery maintained by the Dutch, then heard Bach’s Matthew’s Passion, then went to Dirk’s friend’s house and wonderful garden outside of town and ate her homemade soup.

My cup runneth over.



a thinner veil

I’m in Taos on a writer’s residency. I’m called a “fellow.” Somehow that impressed me. But what really impresses me is what surrounds me….such physical beauty. Toas is very different from Paris, but when I was in Paris, in its old heart, I was enchanted with the architecture, with a sense of history everywhere, with the verve every shop exhibited. How can someone not be creative here? I thought during a visit to the corner townhouse of Victor Hugo in an old square in the Marais district. Well, Taos is in the mountains of New Mexico. It has one major street. Population is about 5,000 without tourists and skiers. But its natural beauty is astounding. It sits at the bottom of a mountain owned by the Taos Pueblo. They own a lot of land, and it’s likely a good thing. Because the Anglo way would be to develop it right out of beauty. So there are meadow vistas that lead to the great mountain and its chain of sisters. My little house is set in a meadow a rich woman bought a long time ago. So I see dandelions and hummingbirds and mountain lilac and fairy primrose.…the names are poetry. Yesterday at sunset, I swear I saw some kind of hawk or falcon, not one, but about 20, skimming the wind currents. How can one not be creative here? When I sit and gaze at my meadow, a silence fills me that is so rare and so restful. Taosenos say the mountain picks who’ll stay. They say the veil between the two worlds is thinner here………………

Note: I have a whining blog about being a writer at www.karleenkoen.net. Sort of the daily grind of it when even Taos’s beauty can’t help. Just in case you wanted to know…….

When Sunday night rolls

When Sunday night rolls around, and I haven’t noticed that tiny little pop around something that has happened in the week (fodder for this blog), I turn to my journals. I don’t keep them on any kind of regular basis. But when I do, I write one or two lines (more if so inclined) on what inspired me that particular day, what surprised me that day, what touched me that day. Those prompts are from Rachel Remen’s My Grandfather’s Blessings. Remen is a M.D. who specializes in the treatment of those who have chronic or fatal diseases, not only patients, but the doctors who treat them. Those three questions make me think about my day in a new way (they were Remen’s advice to an extremely successful and extremely burned out physician–a kind of physician, heal thyself), and when I go back and read what I’ve written, I find I have often captured the day’s tiny nuggets of gold that I cover over with fret and worry and unexamined ambition otherwise. 

All of which is to say that I don’t know what to write about tonight, so I flipped open a journal and came across the page I wrote after seeing The Bucket List with my mother as my movie companion. I loved the idea of the movie, writing down the things you would do before you die and doing as many of them as possible. What a way to live. So I’ll share some of my list with you.

  • learn French
  • live for several months in Paris
  • learn to embroider
  • make a quilt for each of my grandchildren
  • write a young adult novel
  • learn to watercolor

I’ve already jumped out of an airplane, as the movie heroes did, and already kiss beautiful men (my son, son-in-law, husband, and grandson) on a regular basis. Kiss a beautiful woman was on the movie heroes’ list, and that moment in the film is priceless. Anyway, looking at this list reminds me that answering those three questions in my journal is also priceless. Already, the texture of my day has changed by my simply writing this….