Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My heart is full of love for you too, darling, let's go live on islands. Mellow hour, light fading fast, songs on the radio, my salvation lies in your love, a young man sings. Now a young woman is singing. The aroma of roasting chicken wafts up the stairs. My hair is pinned up. I'm wearing my readers. I feel physically tired, took a long walk today, perhaps a little too long, I've done it before, but it's quite a number of miles, including up the busy highway here. A guy whose house is on the road was checking his mail and stuck around as I approached. Do I need a ride someplace? Oh no, I'm just out for a walk, I said, but thanks. Finished editing a Finnish fairy tale and finally emailed it off to its author. I have really enjoyed the editing process, but I think I might enjoy it better if it operated within formal professional constraints. What on earth do I mean by that, I wonder? (Please forgive me, I am very tired.) Well, for one, I wish that his stories were actually in the hands of a publisher, and that if I'm editing them, then that I'm doing so just as it ought to be done, with an eye towards their ultimate publication.

Darling, I wonder how you are doing, it's late where you are, midnight. When do you work, when do you sleep, I wonder. But I sense you all the time, I do, and I've come to a realization about a lot of page hits that used to seem random to me. You mean a lot to me, you really do.


I did other reading besides today, more of the fascinating Bonnard study, which led me to look up poems by William Butler Yeats, and by Gerard Manley Hopkins ('Pied Beauty'). The author of the Bonnard study, Timothy Hyman, writes,
I would like to place beside such Bonnard interiors as Dining Room in the Country, some lines from Yeats's 'Vacillation', published in 1932:
My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table top.

While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was bless├Ęd and could bless.
When I read those lines, darling, I think of you.

In the Bonnard study I'm reading is a ravishing, haunting, beautiful 1908 photograph of one of Bonnard's greatest subjects, his eventual wife, Marthe (whom he encountered in her youth and married many, many years later). I can't find the photo online to include it here. But the image, of the lithe Marthe preoccupied in her ablutions (perhaps not unlike your peeling the clementine) includes, somehow, seemingly, Bonnard's own hands (perhaps?) framing the image, as if it's a photo of him taking the photo of her. Yet how is that possible? I think there are surreal aspects to the photo. I am sorry to be so cryptic even mentioning it here, without the image. And yet from what I'm reading in the study - and can see for myself - Bonnard's subject was the perspective of the viewer, the lover, in apprehending his love. She's not a separate "object," he's included, in all the peripheral vision and associations and allusions - they combine.

Once years ago, I saw an exhibition at the Met of David Hockney images, and I was especially struck by his beatiful photomontages (is that the word?) where, in trying to render how we really view things, he, wielding a camera, would take a snapshot starting with his sneakered feet, then capture glimpse after glimpse of the scene before him, all in scattered shots, because that's how we perceive...

Oh this post is such a mess, my love, but I guess I'm just trying to throw down a few crumbs so that I don't have some Overwhelming Story to try to tell from scratch another day.

I have a beautiful, beautiful snapshot of you, peeling a clementine. Such a sideways, offhand image to have of you. I completely cherish it.

Too tired to copy-edit to perfection. Publication with kisses on your beautiful lips is all I desire.


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