For most people, a trip to New York is either an exciting treat or a business necessity. For me, it’s both, and also, right now, an exhausting goal I’ll just manage to hit by early tomorrow, when I fly away. The lists are proliferating on every counter. Fill the bird-feeder. Leave some food in the fridge for Carol, my tenant, who’s flying from Ecuador to Toronto tomorrow, just after I leave. Check in with NYC family, Cousin Ted whose apartment I’m staying in till Monday when I leave, Cousin Lola who’s in hospital (at 91) but hoping to be out by Friday. Pack. Kitty litter plants dishwasher etc etc.
Note to self: do not forget the tickets. I’m going to a Moth storytelling event on Thursday night, thrilling, as they only take place about twice a month in New York and I’ve only once before been there on the right night. Friday, a very busy day – seeing the special Vermeer exhibit at the Frick in the morning, and in the afternoon, meeting my brother at Sotheby’s. He and I inherited a portrait of my father by the artist Alice Neel, and we are in New York to sell it, either at auction or at the dealer we’re visiting later that afternoon. And then to the theatre together that night.
This is Dad, painted by the bohemian Alice Neel in 1949. He was only 27 years old! She made him seem so sombre, but I’m sure he was a lot of fun.
More theatre Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I’ll tell you all about it – I’ll be seeing my favourite actor, the British genius Mark Rylance, play Olivia in “Twelfth Night,” in an all male production from London. And “Richard III” too, by the same troupe. And then, of course, there’s New York itself in the freezing pre-Christmas cold, the overwhelming hustle, the conspicuous consumption – more ground-length fur coats than you can imagine, at least, there were in previous years – and the shop windows jammed with sparkle. Stay tuned.
Last Sunday night, I went to my daughter’s for Sunday dinner, a first. Even after the kids left home, we maintained our Sunday ritual of gathering for a feast. And now, my girl has taken over the job. We dined royally and played with the Boo, who now pushes two little rag dolls around in his pink pushchair, saying “Baby. Baby.” Let’s encourage that maternal feeling.
Tuesday, dear Ken, who’s an AGO member, took me to see their latest show – The Great Upheaval, an exposition from the Guggenheim. It shows the incredible revolution in modern art in Eastern and Western Europe from 1900 to 1920. Such brave men and women, those artists, to defy every expectation and create in a startling new way – I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have liked their stuff much myself, if I’d chanced upon it in 1913. Maybe I should give Damian Hirst and his shark in formaldehyde another chance. Mmm, there’s lots of multi-coloured Kandinsky in the exhibit, my definition of eye candy. Eye Kandinsky.
And last night, dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, F’Amelia up the street, to thank my friends Rosemary and Sally who’ve been so helpful with the manuscript. Both are wonderfully supportive and positive. The plan: self-publish the memoir as a book book and e-book, and get on with the big work, the family story. Yes, get down to some serious writing. As soon as life stops getting in the way.
But first, I’ll just have to endure a trip to the city of my birth.