Daily Office


Matins: Looking forward to getting my reading chair back from Mr Solo, refinisher and reupholsterer to stars like me. You can see his shop for yourself if you know where to look, on East 85th Street. Otherwise, content yourself with the fabric.

Lauds: We watched Death at a Funeral. I was so pleased with myself for finding it at the Video Room. Ha.

Sext: At the Huff Post, Jane Smileys says of the Clintons: “They are, indeed, now part of the ‘vast right wing conspiracy’.”

Vespers: Here in New York, we are all waiting to see what Governor Spitzer, having been snared in a “prostitution ring,” does next.

Compline: Books on Monday: J M Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year, at Portico.


§ Matins. Is this going to work in the bedroom, this pattern? This color way? O the anxiety! The red is actually more pink in life, and the green less pea-soupy. (Yes, green.) Mr Solo says that it “looks good.” He’s never never said before. Not in years of DIY reupholstery. (By “DIY,” of course, what I mean is: without a decorator. Sorry: “interior designer.”)

The fabric, for those of you who don’t click through, is by Thibaut. We’d never heard of them before, but that just means that we didn’t have a little place near White Point Gardens that needed a few new antimacassars.

§ Lauds. Kathleen laughed at several points — she really, really laughed. I was so pleased! I’d thought it was the perfect escapist movie. Kathleen was so tired, and we’d had so much bad news about good friends.

Then, when it was over, Kathleen called the movie “cute and amusing.” Brouhaha ensued. “Cute” and “amusing” are words that only I get to use in this household.

Three times this weekend, I listened to friends talk about life’s getting the better of them. It wasn’t really serious; I was assured that nobody was going to do anything. But after the argument with Kathleen, I was thinking about dying, too. All this over a silly farce!

— At least I understand what you’re carrying on about, Kathleen said. If you’d been drinking martinis, I’d only have heard the shouting.

§ Sext. Of course, I see what Ms Smiley means. But I can’t agree. For one thing — and this is the most important thing of all, hair-tearingly important — there is the matter of the courts. Forget the Supreme Court. Forget the hot-button social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. The conservative judges that the Republicans have been appointing to the Federal bench are such self-righteous capitalists that they seem to want to overturn MacPherson v Buick Motor Co, a case that I wish were taught in liberal-arts curricula. Now I overstate — but still. It really doesn’t matter if the Democrats install Dick Cheney in the White House, so long as they maintain a grip on judicial nominations.

§ Vespers. I’ve heard from everyone I know that Governor Spitzer is about to resign. For the past several hours, that is what I have heard. I’ve waited for the news before commenting myself. Now, however, I want to say that I hope that he holds on to office. And, what’s more, turns the tide against the bulwarks of patriarchal hypocrisy. I for one am ashamed to live in a jurisdiction that criminalized prostitution. Just because it’s regrettable doesn’t mean that it ought to be illegal. Death is regrettable, too — and just as intractably inevitable. It’s true that not everybody engages or engages in prostitution during the course of a lifetime. Maybe there’s something wrong with that.

It degrades honor itself to pin human sexuality to its tail.

§ Compline. I read this book a few weeks ago, i e in January. Regular readers, familiar with photographs of the tall stacks of books in my life, will not be surprised to learn of the shelf of books that I read last year but never wrote up. Book-report bankruptcy is an option — perhaps an inevitability. Naturally, however, I resist. All that copy!

This afternoon, I finished Colm Tóibín’s very beautiful The Story of the Night, which appeared twelve years ago, when my ban on Irish writers burned most intensely. A few weeks ago, I read The Blackwater Lightship. Something about these novels— something very alluring and agreeable — eludes me, however; I can feel it but I can’t quite express it. I am still learning from Mr Tóibín how a novel can be put together.

One Response to “Daily Office

  1. Migs says:

    Ah, “The Blackwater Lightship”. Something about it eluded me, too, I felt; something not present in “To The Lighthouse” – if I may be permitted to risk blasphemy. The daughter’s mourning scene in the bedroom tugs at the heart, and I am being neither sentimental nor frayed.

    I’m looking forward to when you write up “The Story of the Night”!