Tonight I spent some time going through and editing some old photos. I tried to post one on tumblr, and was told by that august institution that I had to shrink it or be damned. So it was that I went onto my deviant art account and actually posted some work. The result, among other things: this adorable rhinoceros.
Eventually I came across my Père Lachaise folder. One of the reasons I went to the cemetery when I was in Paris was to check out some of the old cemetery traditions there. The most famous might be fucking on Jim Morrison’s grave, but good luck – it’s reportedly guarded nowadays, but I wouldn’t know as I couldn’t find the damn thing. The Père Lachaise is a labyrinthine place. Step away from the (very few) maps and you become instantly lost, so take a picture of it for reference. I did write a love note and throw it on the graves of Abelard and Héloïse.
The Oscar Wilde tradition might be my favourite. In years past, people would kiss his monument in red lipstick. His gravestone, an art deco angel, is adorned with messages of love for him. I find this especially moving, being as he was in exile when he died. Messages of love and thanks in so many different languages. In looking at them tonight I found one in English: “Dorian Grey made me love literature. Thx for that.” Such a quiet honesty to it, it made me smile.
Unfortunately I believe this practice has been stopped. Something about it being disrespectful (???) and the process of washing all the lipstick off degrading the stone. To which one might reply “so don’t wash it”, but there we are. Perhaps it was the lipstick that was meant to degrade the stone. At any rate, yes, I added my own kiss – glancing over my shoulder in case someone noticed me – but it’s been so long since I looked at these photographs, I can’t remember which smooch was mine.
Some more messages, from Oscar’s grave: quotations, hearts, peace signs and initials, love in a dozen languages –
What is a dreamer?
Le plus important c’est de vivre, la plupart de gens se contente d’exister
Thank you, Uncle Oscar
She was sitting in a cupcake shop, reading you.
L’absynthe apporte l’oubli mais payer en migraine
Legends Never Die
de profundis ♥