Lewis Carroll

Welcome. Glad you could stop by for a few minutes. I gather the directions were adequate -- this is not an easy room to find, which is perfectly OK. It's nice to have a little hidey-hole where no one can find you if you don't want to be found. Oh, no, not at all -- the directions here only work once. If you want to visit again, I'll have to give you a new set. Here, just make yourself comfortable over here by the fire. It's still a little nippy out in the evening, and I like having a nice fire to warm my toes while I'm reading, since the cats would rather be warming themselves. Yes, somehow they always seem to be able to find my little refuge, but then, they're cats. Would you like a cocktail? I've got some nice scotch here, or perhaps a good dark rum? The demeraras are wonderful on the rocks with just a squeeze of lime. No, just move a cat and have a seat. Oh, those are perfectly anonymous chrome chairs from the thirties that I found at a second-hand store and had fixed up. They're really amazingly comfortable -- good cushions -- and the lines are superb. Excellent design. Sorry for the clutter -- I've just gotten a raft of new books and CDs that I'm still sorting out. I hate trying to review things willy-nilly, so I like to put them in groups that make some sort of sense, and I haven't quite gotten this batch figured out yet. There you are -- ah, I thought you'd like that. It's the lime that makes it work. Oh, the Bechstein? No, I don't play -- I figure there's one area where I should just be free to enjoy without having any sort of investment. The Bechstein was a gift -- supposedly belonged to Bartok and was smuggled out of Hungary before the War. I have no idea how one smuggles a grand piano.

I see you've noticed the photographs. Yes, I've always loved that Weston -- it's a study of his son Neil, and it has such a wonderful look, like a Roman sculpture. The cropping only reinforces that feeling -- like an ancient marble torso dug out of the ruins somewhere. I suppose these days someone would call it child pornography and want it burned, but I don't find it erotic at all, not like the Skrebneski over there. That's always been one of my favorites of his. No, my own are in sleeves in my studio, where they belong -- I don't really want to be surrounded by my own work all the time. Well, except for this one, which is about my favorite piece of my own. That's actually a digital print -- no, really. It's from a black-and-white negative and I photoshopped the hell out of it to put in the color. The flat file over there has most of the landscapes except for these Callahans -- I love the way the grasses and reeds echo each other; they make such a great pair, light and dark like that. The Victorian pornography is with the art books, over here, next to the poetry. I picked them up at auction a few years ago. They're really funny when one considers 'dirty pictures' these days, and I have to confess, I can't let go of the idea that at least some of them are tongue-in-cheek -- if you'll pardon the expression. The science fiction and fantasy are over here, next to the folklore and mythology, and then there's the anthropology, psychology, history and biography section next to the window seat. I love being able to sit there and look out into the garden from time to time while I'm reading. Then the classic and 'mainstream' literature and the oddball things that don't quite fit any other category.

And of course, there's the music wall. Ah, you noticed -- yes, there are five walls. It seemed appropriate. Actually, there are more when I need them, but that won't happen for a while yet. I think. Anyway, the LPs are in these cabinets along with the cylinders and rolls and a few other more arcane media -- crystals and glass threads and the like. Those are all too fragile to play very often. I gave up trying to keep the music separated by type -- it's all just in there by artist or composer, because I've discovered so much cross-fertilization, especially in the more modern
things, that trying to separate Western from Eastern and symphonies from new age or electropop just doesn't work any more. Good sound system and a nice Eames chair, and I'm all set when I want to listen to something. Oh, that's actually my writing table. I like to be able to look out the window while I'm writing, too, and sometimes my office is just too convenient for visitors, so I hide out here when I've got a looming deadline. There's a laptop in the drawer.

What would you like to hear? There's a new recording of piano solos by Keith Jarrett that I haven't heard yet, or perhaps some early Scottish music? The new volumes of that wonderful survey of Javanese gamelan haven't arrived, but I could pull out one of the earlier ones. There, isn't that wonderful? Much less frenetic than Balinese. We can follow up
with this new CD of medieval Icelandic music, or perhaps some Samuel Barber -- there's a nice collection that just came in, including the Adagio It's a very intelligent interpretation by Thomas Schippers that avoids all the syrup. Not quite as clean as Kronos Quartet's version, but very good.

Well, here I've been running on like a lunatic. Let's just get comfortable and have a nice chat.