“Je voyage pour vèrifier mes rêves.”

Gérard de Nerval, I thought I did that, or was doing it, on this trip. That may not be the case,

I am in real trouble. Not wanting to overwork the “traveling light” motif, I need to explain nevertheless that ‘light’ has come to mean not having a camera. (I’m not counting an iPhone that has not been lost — yet.) It also means not having a normal writing instrument — i.e., a pen. this is the first time in my life that I can recall being in a room where I couldn’t reach out and grab a pen or at least a pencil.

Is it the fault of all the brushes, pastels, and spatulas currently being used here in Joudes (Jura) to make marks on the page? Are they more important than the comfortable pen?

One does have a problem under these circumstances if one is the sort, perhaps a dying breed, who still likes to write — not print — drafts of things that will only later be uploaded to the internet. The only salvation has been a Progress Aquarell, a kind of watercolor graphite stick that is designed without wood and is also used for creating marks. Good for the environment, less so for keeping the hands unsmudged.

It’s not the same as writing with a pencil. no matter how good an imagination one has. You’re also probably thinking that you’ve gone through two pens and must have left the third under the bed in the last hotel, after it rolled there. You think at first that there’s an easy solution: Run to a store, almost any store, and get another.

Not so easy when you’re in Joudes, a hamlet of 388 inhabitants. You haven’t seen either the hamlet or the the people who live in it, but you can imagine there’s no store, unless it’s a bakery or a bar. Therefore, there is no pen nor pencil to be had.

Saint-Amour is only a few minutes away and there are stores with pens in that town, small as it is. However, the schedule for the atelier I’m attending doesn’t allow us to be away for that long. Solutions: 1. Borrow a pen. Somebody must have one. Seriously. 2. Don’t write or post anything. 3. Draw pretty pictures instead.

Interesting how creative we can be when necessary.

Why write when we can draw or paint, anyway?