Thursday, June 30, 2011

Darling, very much at low ebb all day, but just a quick post now to check in with you in case you're coming off a plane perhaps & checking for my presence. I did some weeding today, and unloaded the dishwasher, and cleared (though not cleaned) the sink, and went about flower borders with scarily sharp pointed lethal shears snipping flowers for vases, one that sits on the downstairs sideboard, the other, a small violet glass made in Poland (obtained via smith & hawken) on my desk as I quickly type to you. I've been immersed all day in a very unusual, gripping, mordant account by a writer who I mentioned a few weeks ago, Caroline Blackwood - a sort of latter day - so hard to explain (and I'm fading) account of her wishing to get at the facts of the widowed Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, the Baltimore divorcée who caused Edward to renounce, in a big way, British stability in favor of his comfort. Blackwood's initial inquiry was as to the state of the Dutchess, in her ancient widowhood, and she comes up hard against an extremely creepy character, "Maîre (Suzanne) Blum," who is the Dutchess' all-too-powerful lawyer, and keeper. It is the creepiest psychological horror story ever, as the story, and Blackwood's inquiries and forays and explorations unfold. And now I'm near the end of the book, where Blackwood draws comparisons between Blum and the Duchess, an incisive psychological portrait of sheer horror, the thoroughly repressed Blum worshiping in a very weird way, the object of her desire. One of the strangest and most astute books I've ever read. And Blackwood, at least towards the end of the book, when she recounts Wallis Simpson's biography, her upbringing in Baltimore, bad marriage to an abusive alcoholic - makes her out to be a very sympathetic character - not what I expected to read from the iconic images of Simpson that get repeated again & again. Anyway. Darling, I'm too tired (with dialup) to fish around for proper links, so I'll come back tomorrow morning - the book is called The Last of the Duchess, by Caroline Blackwood. I have peered over at the library copy of the book, open and lying face down on an NYRB (open to a page of a review of an exhibition of Manet). And I see that in this post I have been misspelling Duchess. It's Dutchess County - but the Duchess of Windsor.

Darling, wherever you are, many thoughts of you, happy landing, many kisses, and I'll meet up with you later - in our dreams. XOXO

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