Thursday, September 3, 2009


I acquired the above print, "Lady Turns into Owl and Follows Husband" when I was in Montreal. Not this past summer, but the last time I was there, in the early nineties. My then-wife and I were on vacation, and we had gone into an Inuit gallery, and we saw it, and we loved it. Or at least I loved it: I think she loved the subject matter (The story is about a woman who dies and is so moved by her husband's grief that she turns into a spirit owl -- no shadow! -- and accompanies her husband.) because when we were dividing the property, she thrust it at me and said, disgustedly, that she was no longer interested in it because of what it symbolized. Drama much? Well, yeah, there was lots of drama in that divorce. Boy howdy, but let's not go there.

You will no doubt recognize
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
Oscar Wilde said it. I don't know whether it's true. I'm not, for the most part, a believer in objective truth, so whether that sort of statement true is not a question that I could answer with any conviction. The sentiment is often used to make, for example, fans of Wagner feel better about liking his work because, according to Wild, his life is irrelevant to his work. Maybe, maybe not. It doesn't much matter because I prefer to think of Wagner's music in terms of another Wilde quote:
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

Questions of morality aside, Wagner is tedious.

But there's nothing tedious, immoral, or abhorrent about the Agnes Nanogak print that we bought in Montreal, and I was shocked, though relieved, that I didn't have to fight for it in the property settlement. I always thought that the story behind it was nice, but it was still a nice story even if I was never going to be so beat up about my ex-wife's hypothetical demise that she'd want to sprout feathers. More to the point, I love that print.

It's very rare for me to love visual art. "David," yes, but even if the Italian government had offered "David" to me for 200 $CDN, I would have had trouble getting it home and finding space for it in the living room. I've had similar reactions to other pieces of art in museums and, rarely, on people's walls, but loving a piece of work that was available and affordable has happened once. What can I say? I'm visually challenged; contrariwise, I fall in love with music all the time. (Music is generally pretty cheap, though. So are books.)

"Lady Turns into Owl and Follows Husband" hasn't had a suitable home for a while. I had it hung on the walls of various apartments, but b&c's walls have always been full (feeling like a guest in his home, even after five years, was probably not terribly helpful to our relationship, but whatever), so it was in a box for a bit, and then I put it on one of the dressers in the bedroom, leaning against a wall.

I know you've been wondering when I was going to get around to the home decorating topic du jour, and, well, here we are. It occurs to me that it might be a good idea to choose my new living/dining room colors based on the colors in the painting. The blue is a good bit less vibrant than what I'd been thinking of for the bottom third of the walls, but I think that the blue in the painting is a bit livelier than it appears in the picture here. I'll have to grab some sample cards to match it. And browns are generally not my thing, but I reckon I can find cork that reflects at least one of the browns in the painting and use it on the top half of the short wall that will face the short wall on which the painting will be hung. That way I'll have a large cork board for part of the wall. And I can pin photographs to that: it's really, really easy for me to find or take photographs that I like enough to have on my wall, and between my travel archives, Flickr, and Costco's photo center, I can probably load up the whole wall for less than a Benjamin.

I figure that I can pick up the red in the dog's tongue for the banquette cushions.

(YFU has decided that she wants at least one of the walls in her room to be a deep red, and that she also wants chalkboard paint circles on that wall. It strikes me as a good idea, but I haven't committed to it yet.)

I am still fixated on the aluminum pipe bed. It seems like only a minor extravagance, especially considering how much I'm sure I'll love it. I do have a bed frame already, but it's cheap and rickety, and I can always give it to EFU again. If I decide to be especially virtuous, I can wait a little while on the bed and use the money that I'm sure my parents will give me at Christmas for it, but I doubt that I'll want to be as virtuous as all that. I considered settling for a PVC pipe version of it. It would cost a lot less, even after factoring in the additional pipe needed for it: PVC pipe is strong, but it flexes, so I'd need a lot of cross supports. But I wouldn't love it.

In the comments from my previous entry, Père Antoine mentioned his own plan to put a bed on a pulley system attached to two bicycle hoists. Brilliant. Since I don't live in NYC, I have enough room to have dedicated bed space, but I can think of any number of other things that I'd like to suspend from the ceiling, in the bedroom and elsewhere.

His suggestion put me in mind of a New Yorker cartoon from way back in 1983, which was very likely the first year I subscribed to TNY. I didn't think I'd be able to track it down online, but I managed:

George Booth was probably joking, but I love the idea of a table hoist. I probably won't have one because I have an alternate plan: two Ikea sawhorses and two Ikea tabletops: a small one for everyday and a larger one for dinner parties. I was thinking that I'd have enough room on the cork wall to hang whichever one wasn't in use at the moment. To make the arrangement more decorative, I was thinking of stenciling on one of the tabletops a quilt pattern. On the other one, perhaps a cheap reproduction of another Inuit print. Or some New Yorker covers. Or "David."


  1. Ok, to throw in my 2 cents worth of decorating advice, this is what I would do. I like the print and I like its colors. I would use the brown color on the bottom part of the wall, so that it would look a bit like wainscotting, then put wood painted to match your molding above that (even cheap flat wood strips if you didnt want to pay for fancier chair rail), then that beautiful shade of blue on the top part. What about builidng your bed out of plastic pipe? Doesn't it come in gray too? It would be much easier to put together than metal and maybe could be painted some wild color like red or something in the painting you choose for the bedroom.

  2. Wagner tedious? Why, oh why would you write such a thing? That pains me, TED.