l’esprit de l’escalier

view looking down at metal fire escape steps

Fire escapes are good places to sit on hot evenings and last weekend found me at the top of a rather attractive red and yellow metal staircase with a glass of wine by my side.

I was very tempted to break into song, but didn’t really think the neighbours would appreciate my rendition of Moon River, so instead I read my book. But it was a long summer evening and I’d already spent several hours on a train, so the light lasted well past the last page.

Reading turned to thinking.

Thinking didn’t turn to writing, at least, not then. But I suppose it has now, even if it’s required a whole lot of other photos to expand and complete the ideas.

Follow me down as I take some steps through life:


The last two photos are clearly focused on things going downhill. Sometimes, though, life seems to be on the up.

Birmingham library central escalator

Occasionally, the ups can be quite vertiginous and without any clear destination.

steep stone steps

At other times the changes are barely appreciable.

stone steps

And sometimes,in order to make any progress you have to go sideways.

stone steps

Sometimes life offers you a wide and cushioned path.

snow on stone steps

And sometimes, you seem to be going in circles and not getting very far.

red metal spiral fire escape  with snow

Life can be as spartan and functional.

metal fire escape steps

It can be prettily domestic.

garden steps

Sometimes, it’s rather more glamorous or mysterious.

stone staircase

But, whatever direction the path of life goes, there’s no denying that there are days when we are better shod for the ups and downs than other days.

high heels

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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