“Home Away from Home” by Cynthia Morris
5 x 8.5 inches, Watercolour and ink
“Montmartre Stole her Heart” (2:40 mins) © Helen Davey
(for voice, 4 accordions, two pianos, spoken word)
When I travel, I book myself an apartment so I can cook breakfast and enjoy the local market produce. A homebody at heart, this is how I can travel and feel the comforts of a home at the same time.
This painting is from a trip to Paris in January, 2013, when I spoke at the American Library about my novel Chasing Sylvia Beach. This entryway led me to a lovely flat that was perfect for my stay.
A little clichè to use accordions? Perhaps… But frankly, I couldn’t resist. I recall my first trip to Paris with wistful affection. Arriving there with a backpack, no idea of where to stay, yet an overwhelming sense that I’d stepped into a watercolour painting.
To this day, I still remember smiling in disbelief, as my ears led my feet to a small, out of the way café, where an accordion player was serenading his meagre audience of two… His music, caressing those cobbled streets, completed the painting for me. In my memory, it is still captivatingly vivid.
As a young traveller, Montmartre was one of the places I first experienced that surreal sense of living IN the dream, knowing I’d carry those memories with me forever.
Tucked away in this piece, are some of those recollections, plus… sounding with as much of the colour red as I could muster; using harmonic progressions (and a quote) from “Home Sweet Home” and “La Marseillaise”; adding some voices from the fleeting and enduring inhabitants of Cynthia’s home away from home in Montmartre.
Thank-you for reading thus far. Wonder if this prompted memories for you? I welcome your feedback and please feel free to share this around to anyone interested in art & music (via those little icons below).