Party in Paris

I find one of the more difficult things to describe on the page to be a party or other type of gathering where there are scores of people simultaneously engaged in various activities such as eating, drinking, talking, walking, smoking, dancing, slipping, falling, singing, listening, standing, watching, wandering, wallowing, etc. And so, quite often, as a prompt, I like to first read aloud a certain passage detailing such an event from the excellent and very hilarious French writer Grégoire Bouillier’s nonfiction book entitled The Mystery Guest (also known as, en français, L’invité mystère).


Here it is:

The room was enormous. From the center a table advanced endlessly toward the walls, spreading itself with mile after mile of silver, and a dazzling white tablecloth made up of several sheets lay like a bridal train under the bright track lights up above, and chairs and stools were drawn up all around it. At the foot of the stairs a stuffed cat was pouncing without ever touching down on its forepaws, and farther off stood a pink flamingo on one leg, and the atmosphere was cheerful. It was festive. Everywhere men and women discussed and conversed and were generally moving around, and some went and others came, and many of the guests wore black and smoked, and some were sitting and had their elbows on the table and picked at saucers holding little canapes or slices of dried sausage, and most were drinking champagne, and one woman was insisting that they put on some Spanish music while over in the corner a man in a white panama hat seemed to be in some kind of a sulk. In other words, it was a party, there was no doubt about it, it was a party like any good party, and in some sense this was reassuring. All the same, I fought back an urge to howl while I beamed a perfectly fake smile back and forth at no one in particular.

And then, afterward, I invite others (as well as myself) to narrate a scene where an event drawing a crowd (such as concert, birthday party, wedding, funeral, baptism, bat mitzvah, bris, etc.) is taking place.