Did you know that I’ve been studying French for over a decade and studied French as one of my majors in college? And that I studied abroad in Paris for a semester?
Well, you do now!
Although it may seem I wrote this story to just show off my French skills, that’s not at all why I wrote it. In fact, I didn’t think it was going to be set in Paris at all until far later in the outlining process.
The seed of this story was the title: The Museum of Moving Paintings. I wanted to try my hand at writing a contemporary tale, although clearly I just couldn’t help myself, and I added in a bit of low fantasy in there.
As I started imagining this museum, my first thought was about the paintings. What made them move? Why were they so special? When thinking about it, artwork that has that kind of moving element for me is impressionist artwork.
When thinking about impressionist artwork, my memories instantly took me back to my time in Paris. I took an art history course while I studied there, and just about each time we had class, we met in a museum. We got to see the paintings we were learning about in person. It was the first time in my life where I felt artwork had a true impact on me, because I understood it a lot more.
The impressionist movement had the biggest impact on me because of the story behind it. The idea of these artists creating their own salon to spite this jury that claims to know true art, it just seemed so funny yet brilliant at the same time. Not to mention, impressionist paintings just take my breath away.
When I knew I wanted to have impressionism as the basis for this story, I realized there was no better setting than the City of Lights. Though I had taken that art history class, that was over two years ago, and I had forgotten some details. So, I had to do some research, and with my research, the story was taking shape.
Naturally with all this research, the story became more historical fiction rather than contemporary, but I was okay with that. I really liked the way the story was going along.
The music for this story has a very distinct sound. It’s a lot of piano and violin mixed with brooding and sad tones. Hearing this, I realized the usual intro music of my show was not going to work. It’s too heavy on the fantasy, which is not what this story is about.
However, lucky for me, a pianist I absolutely love named Salome Scheidegger has a cover of “Legends of Azeroth”, the intro music to my show. It’s a beautiful pianist rendition of the fantasy theme, and it just melted with the rest of the playlist. I think that switch tells listeners right off the bat that this is a completely different story, and I love that.
Side fun fact: the reason I chose the name Noémie is because that was my French name in my French classes in middle and high school.
Lastly, I will say I couldn’t help myself when writing Noémie and Emile’s love story. I included my absolute favorite sentence in all of French literature: “Parce que c’était lui; parce que c’était moi.”
Michel de Montaigne wrote this in his essays about friendship, and I had heard it before. However, when I learned more about it in a French literature class, I completely fell in love with that sentence. I aspire to write a sentence as simple, as ambiguous, and as all-encompassing as that one.
In today’s pop culture, most people know this line from the film “Call Me by Your Name” when the father says it to his son. Exceptional film. If you don’t know what the sentence means, this will give you a good idea. (Or, you know, google translate can help too.)
I hope you enjoyed this story. It’s probably the only story that will have very little fantasy elements, but sometimes, it’s good to take a refreshing breath of air with a new style of writing.