¶ Matins: Head scarves for women — in Turkey! How transgressive! But, wait: Does this mean that Orhan Pamuk completely fabricated the head-scarf controversy that kicks off his last novel, Snow? It was translated into English, by the way, four years ago.
¶ Prime: Once again, Kathleen and I will be spending Thanksgiving at a pleasant old place on St Croix. But if it weren’t so far away, I’d prefer to do my beachcoming along the Gill Sands, on that remote and longed-for Indian Island jewel, San Serriffe.
¶ Tierce: I thought that it would be very clever to say that I’m having my head examined today, but I Googled the phrase first, and it led me to the creator of FeedDemon. I don’t know anything about this app, but it looks very useful. Unfortunately, as a head case, I can’t deal with technology today — I’m leaving that to the doctors.
§ Matins. In lucky-guy mode, I got to read Snow while I was in Istanbul, accompanying Kathleen on a business trip the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since childhood. It is my ambition to read a complete paragraph of Kar (the novel’s title in Turkish) before macular degeneration sets in. I bought a copy at the Robinson Crusoe Bookshop in Istiklal Street. Beklemek istimyorum!
If I were awarded the McArthur Prize (hint), I would spend it on a sabbatical in Beyoğlu, the part of town built by the Genoese and formerly known as Pera. I would revel in the melancholy of the town, which is nothing more than a slant of mind to which the city lends itself whenever a cloud crosses the cerulean sky. Thinking about how old the city is — Jerusalem isn’t really much older — is like contemplating the size and heat of the sun. You have to lie down afterward, or at least have tea with matrons who speak fluent, Provençal-scented convent French.
§ Tierce. Actually, I’m having my head examined twice. First, by my “therapist,” as New Yorkers call psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychopharmacologists. It’s really rather late in the day for me to be fixing my psyche, but a monthly checkup is good for the old alignment.
The second opinion, in the afternoon, may suggest that my unfathomable strangeness may spring from extracranial growths. Here’s hoping they get them all out. UPDATE: They did. Thanks for the good wishes!
§ Vespers. I’m taking this as an early warning that such moderate Republicans as still live and breathe are heading for the exits at Elephant Camp. That’s a good sign, no matter what happens, because it signals the long-awaited break between good, solid, perhaps slightly selfish people from rabid ideologues.