Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Joan at her desk

In March we went to New Orleans—I was there for the Society of Cinema Studies Conference, and Skip wanted to see New Orleans again, post Katrina, and to see friends. Large, rambling hotel largely organized around the bar. Easy to find people from the conference, but also easy to eat and drink far too much. The first night there, we put off trying to find conference friends and instead went to Magazine Street, and had dinner at the Bon Ton Restaurant. With our bill, we received a recipe card—the restaurant’s signature vinaigrette recipe on one side, bread pudding with whiskey sauce on the other.

The card ended up on the sink in my bathroom—and I see it every morning. Bread pudding with whiskey sauce. Before Skip was diagnosed, it was friendly and amusing. Now I keep it there, hoping there will be a time when he can eat such things again—when we can go to New Orleans together, eat oyster sandwiches and walk down the street sipping drinks. Strange the things that take on importance. A trip to New Orleans, a place we rarely visited. Bread pudding with whiskey sauce—something I’ve eaten maybe 5 times in my entire life.

Laurie Stone sent me the ms for her new book today—My Life as an Animal. Started reading as I downloaded it to my desktop and was captured immediately. Her prose always hits me like that—just reaches out and grabs me right away. Smart, provocative, honest. Talked to her Sunday—long, funny conversation, and a good one to have. Afterwards I mentioned to Skip that Laurie asks me questions like nobody else in my life does. He just smiled.

“She offered to come when I start teaching again,” I told him. “To help.”

“That would be a good thing, don’t you think?”

“Yes,” I said—getting that catch in my voice as I wondered what shape he’ll be in come January. Right now he fatigues quickly and is prone to stomach upset--but basically he is doing well. My friend Tamar tells me she admires the way I take things one day at a time. She doesn’t know how my mind races ahead into the future during these long white nights.

It’s late—early in the morning, really—Picasso’s birthday. I’m looking at a very bad painting I did when I was 20 years old and living in Sweden. A Picasso-esque woman with her eyes closed. It’s propped on my desk, underneath the very good graphite sketch that Skip did shortly after we started living together—a large picture of Virginia Woolf that still hangs on my study wall. I hear Skip getting up to go to the bathroom again. Time for bed.

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