Bazilio, a Russian artist and one of my CouchSurfing hosts, said “La vie est belle et la poubelle,” which translates to “Life is beautiful and life is trash.”

We were talking about life as an artist in Paris. My romantic notions about it from reading Hemingway’s A Movable Feast were not totally changed, just given an update.

Bazilio does not sell much of his art; he earns his keep picking up odd jobs, making money here and there to buy wine, tobacco, paint, welding supplies, other nourishment.

I thought about squatting in that attic room in the heart of Paris across from Moliere’s birthplace forever.

The nagging thought in the back of my mind, though, was Why not do it in Los Angeles?

So here I am.

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