Off the Rack

My flight home from New York was delayed (setting my mind on a skitterish path of worry and fret) the upside being that I was able to read the entire issue of the New Yorker cover to cover. Gluttonous feast for someone who is usually confined to grabbing an article here or snacking in the carpool line. There, on pages that seem like onion skin compared to the shelter magazines, was Agatha Christie. Yet when I first turned the page I thought for a moment that I was looking in an enchanted mirror. Needlepoint shoes, rings stacked knuckle-to-knuckle, watch on a thick black strap and, yes, beads. The swollen ankles will likely be mine as well as they surely resembled this during each pregnancy. The only unlikelihood being the hair; I fear I will always be putting off the gray for “next year.”

Also, this. Jail cell? Secret al Qaeda operative headquarters? Nope. This is where Jonathan Franzen writes. And writes well. He’s removed all distraction from the room (I’ll say) and all hope of connection to the internet from his computer. I have ordered my copy of Freedom. And will wait, somewhat impatiently, for its release next week. You can read the Time profile here.
Image, top, the New Yorker, August 16th & 23rd, 2010; photography by Lord Snowdon. Image, last, Time, August 23, 2010; photography by Dan Winters.
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17 thoughts on “Off the Rack

  1. P, I had to enlarge the pic of Agatha to check out her needle point shoes. I'm still not 100% sure. Ha! What intrigued me about the picture is that at her age she was sitting in front of a laptop. It reminded me that we are never to old to learn new tricks…and that's what probably keeps her young. Hope you had fun in NY. Kimberly

  2. That is precisely the setting I need in order to accomplish anything.
    I love Franzen's work, but wish he hadn't introduced the phrase "scalpy smell" in "The Corrections". Hard to get the idea of that out of my head.

  3. Kimberly – fast and furious, but, yes, fun.

    Susan – still, he's sticking with you and that is something.

    Toad – I know exactly what you mean. That first husband was a dope.

  4. priceless post mrs.b.
    only wish I were locked up or delayed with you – with needlepoint, stacks of unread mags and a good beverage and a biscuit to share, or perhaps a salty bag of nuts.

  5. I love seeing how writers work. In Fiction I and II at KU my work was written either on my typewriter (really) in a completely quiet apartment, or longhand on a legal pad sitting at The Bourgeois Pig. The extremes seemed fine, the middle ground with just a few distractions, seemed to be a problem.

  6. Such a coincidence, Pat! I read the NYorker issue last night, following an hour of watching David Suchet's special about riding the Orient Express.

    Ms. Christie started me reading mysteries many, many years ago, and I've been hooked on them ever since. No one created the 'red herring" better than she did.

  7. Hope you are well. Can't believe summer is already on its way out. Love this image of Agatha Christie. Have a great week.

  8. I adore Agatha Christi's work, her class, and even her plays ( some of the longest running ever in London! Mousetrap being one!

    Art by Karena

  9. Writers and their homes. What a perfect crossroads. I have several books on this topic. Looking at them seems like looking at something sacred…and its flip side, profane. Glad you're home well read.

  10. The whole issue … cover to cover! I'm envious. I've had to give up my subscription, and I do miss it.

    But I've got the online version that updates, so I'll look up the Christie piece. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Glad to hear that you're home again, safe and sound.

  11. I am playing "catch up" because we were on holiday these past two weeks. I want you to know that I find your brand of honesty refreshing. Rude — NOT! There is nothing wrong in being "tactful" or respectful of others. Glad you had such an interesting and great trip with the family. Hope that all goes well with putting the house on the market. And PLEASE Keep up the great work. Rebecca

  12. I, too, like rings stacked to the knuckle! I'm not quite there, but hopefully hubs still has some time to help me get there. I love diamonds and sapphires best. I'm glad you had a great trip!

  13. I inhaled Agatha Christie's stories as a kid and loved watching Miss Marple with Margaret Rutherford.
    Thanks for the reminder, just added some of the movies to my netflix list.



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