Novelist Patricia Storace on How Shopping in Morocco Changed Her Life | The Wall Street Journal

An novelist writes about a fateful discovery on a trip to Marrakesh:

wall street journal wsjI HAVE SEEN many styles of salesmanship in bazaars and entrepôts around the world, from bullying to seductive, maternal to elegantly cunning. It was in Marrakesh, though, that I learned that the greatest merchants are interpreters of dreams.

I was visiting Marrakesh on a magazine assignment and found myself with a few hours before dinner to enjoy the luxury of wandering aimlessly. I stopped in the spice souk to buy a packet of saffron, and some incense that the seller assured me would ward off the evil eye—as long as I believed that it would—before veering off into a tangle of neighboring streets. Lured by earthenware cooking vessels ornamented with metalwork so fine that they must have been part of a fortunate bride’s dowry, I entered what appeared to be an antiques shop filled with a jumble of estate and personal merchandise. There was no one inside except for the shopkeeper, a scholarly looking and ascetically thin man.

I saw it immediately, propped up against a dressing table—an intricately carved door whose rich, nocturnally dark wood was studded with stars that I would soon learn were formed of brass, camel bone and silver, and which seemed to pulse and shimmer as my eyes moved over them. The door, framed by a border of stylized clouds crafted from beaten silver, looked like the gate of heaven, luminous and narrow. No matter how long I stared at it, I found more to see…[full story]



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