Good evening from New York.
Last Sunday, I returned to the shop after my gloriously relaxing and self indulgent weeks off.
Truth teller that I am, how I wish that I could have been able to have many more weeks at home, reading, painting, visiting with friends, writing, walking in the Park, looking a good and bad art in galleries and museums. Truth teller that I am, it was necessary to return to the job.
And so I did.
Unsurprisingly, nothing terrible occured during my absence, but also many chores and responsibilities were also left unattended to. I just felt so "wanted" upon my return. Last Sunday was a bit of a demon day, with so many unanswered phone calls, e-mails, customer-related questions, etc. But all in all, it was not awful to go back to the scene.
My new mom assistant had returned to work while I was away, so we had many items to discuss during the past week. I cannot expect her to catch up instantly, yet need to update her as quickly as possible about the most pressing developments/changes during her six months' leave. We are getting there.
I am a bit concerned about the eventual impact on our business of the current sub-prime mortgage credit crisis flowing through the economic system, but so far our customers still seem quite ready to hand their credit cards across the counter, when they find clothes that they do like.
I played a bit of catch up with my own clothing selections, choosing three new items from the current collections, a very bright orangy-red wide v-neck merino wool tunic, black velvet narrow leg trousers and a black velvel cap-sleeved, ballet necklined, knee length dress/tunic. I still have to choose additional items, but these three will add some interesting combination possibilities to my existing wardrobe. The idea is to illustrate for the customers how flexible our clothing can be. Everyone can find her own way to wear it.
Now. On to culture and mortality. Abrupt swerve from the frivolity of fashion.
This morning's radio news told me that Norman Mailer had died earlier this morning. When I was a young adult in New York, he was very much a presence in the city, even running for mayor at one point, but aside from that he was a prize winning novelist, who was politically attuned. In Brooklyn, everyone knew just which was his house ... the one with the beautiful blue stained glass swan window.
He was a talent, an icon, but also an accessible icon. Nowadays, the celebrities of art and culture often seem to live in another universe. In the 1960's and 70's, this was less true.
About ten years ago, I went to a book reading at a neighborhood bookshop. The featured author was Mr. Mailer. That bookshop fell under the relentless pressure of Barnes and Noble some time ago.
Anyhow, I took along to the reading my aged copy of Mailer's great Vietnam War era book, Armies of the Night, hoping that he would sign it for me. Well, of course, he did. But what memory I still smile at is that the legendary macho icon Mailer, just looked up at me from the signing desk at which he was seated, smiled with a twinkle, and said, "I never can remember, is it Frances with an i or an e?" We chatted a bit more, and then he wrote a sweet note in my yellow-paged old book.
And so tonight, another literary person of note has left us. Perhaps those of you who live in other parts of the world will also feel, as you grow older, a bit of sadness when you learn that someone you have known all your adult life as part of the cultural world, will no longer write, paint, play music. Of course, it is good to appreciate the future talents, but how I do cherish the art that has accompanied me so far though my own live.
Pleasant dreams to all.