30 December 2010

Tucked, tousled

Decadence, thy name is Five Leaves. Last night: house made ricotta with fresh thyme, chestnut honey, figs, Maldon sea salt and fruit bread, roasted delicata squash with creamy fregola, fresh ginger, marscarpone, and fresh soy beans and french fries and a Kir and a Blonde Redhead sighting and our (R!) almost 10 year old friendship.

29 December 2010

Let us remind us all

Reflection, for we are 2 days away, reflection, for we are always days away.

Be steady and well ordered in your life so that you may be fierce and original in your work
. -Gustave Flaubert

28 December 2010

Too elegant to be a thief, Margaret Rose

Remembered that the fur stole I keep on Coral's chair, to hide a missing button, is made to be worn in weather like this. So, here I am, last night, wearing my stole in bed, wind whipping, writing to you, thinking of black irises and symmetry, stacking rings and Tuscany.

25 December 2010

A true star can never be stolen.

Having stuffed our burlap sacks with enough greenery and crimson to garland a dozen windows, we set about choosing a tree. "It should be," muses my friend, "twice as tall as a boy. So a boy can't steal the star." The one we pick is twice as tall as me...Once a car stops, and the rich mill owner's lazy wife leans out and whines: "Giveya two-bits" cash for that ol tree." Ordinarily my friend is afraid of saying no; but on this occasion she promptly shakes her head: "We wouldn't take a dollar." The mill owner's wife persists. "A dollar, my foot! Fifty cents. That's my last offer. Goodness, woman, you can get another one." In answer, my friend gently reflects: "I doubt it.
There's never two of anything." -"A Christmas Memory", Truman Capote, 1956

23 December 2010

Hail, hail new queen!

Two Pierrots Balancing on Swans and Two Dancers, Hans Christian Andersen

Left work past dusk, but not too far, and raised a glass to celebrate my forever friend, the new Mrs. Eliz D-L, to be.

22 December 2010

My castle, my books.

Having an exclusive dreamtime relationship with toast with warm pears, marscarpone, honey and black pepper and The Magus.

21 December 2010

"that sole token of human imperfection"

...in the centre of Georgiana's left cheek there was a singular mark, deeply interwoven, as it were, with the texture and substance of her face. In the usual state of her complexion--a healthy though delicate bloom--the mark wore a tint of deeper crimson, which imperfectly defined its shape amid the surrounding rosiness. When she blushed it gradually became more indistinct, and finally vanished amid the triumphant rush of blood that bathed the whole cheek with its brilliant glow. But if any shifting motion caused her to turn pale there was the mark again, a crimson stain upon the snow, in what Aylmer sometimes deemed an almost fearful distinctness. Its shape bore not a little similarity to the human hand, though of the smallest pygmy size. Georgiana's lovers were wont to say that some fairy at her birth hour had laid her tiny hand upon the infant's cheek, and left this impress there in token of the magic endowments that were to give her such sway over all hearts. Many a desperate swain would have risked life for the privilege of pressing his lips to the mysterious hand. -"The Birthmark", Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1843

20 December 2010


The beautiful thing about hard work is that it allows us to forget that which we'd like to forget. The truth, though? It is impossible to forget.

16 December 2010

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Come visit, we're snuggling. Find me in bed with Cléo from 5 to 7. Bring me flowers and I'll mix French 75s. No parties, just tête–à–têtes, and a clear trail of candles from here to Orion's belt.

15 December 2010

Suffering and Shambolic

"What I've done in the past is the history, what I'll do in the future is a mystery." -TYSON

13 December 2010


I Am Love

In this early morning dream, Lucy Harmon stalked by me, navy and black evening gown, hair piled on her expansive head. There were attacks, plastic bags exploding underfoot, escape by cruise ship, seasickness, return to land, a performance piece in piles of French lingerie, a library, a rapt audience of movie stars and Nobel Prize winners, and then, her expansive head.

09 December 2010


It's Thursday, we stayed up too late last night watching a movie in bed, and I've just had a burst of enlightenment. 24° F is no weather for cascades of radiance, but the klieg lights of love are on. I've lined you all up in little terra cotta pots on a window with south-facing light. Let's see what happens. I'll do my part, never mind what you do, and coffee, keep brewing and perking for you are the spine of sustained eminantion of enlightenment.

08 December 2010

What to do when it's all upside-down

"We both worry about Constance. There are depths which neither of us have fully explored, but we have gained a great idea of her." -The Master, Colm Tóibín

A new way of looking. We thrive on instinct, gut reactions, first impressions, when really, we're all just a sketch to each other.

07 December 2010

Managing Misunderstanding

Mary Green sleep mask

Sometimes things don't go the way of dreams. I'd like to sleep away a few days, and wake when things are more recognizable.

06 December 2010

Fallen Kingdom

Vision isn't always easy to see.

03 December 2010

Taking you to

To be frank, shit's gone bananas (in the very best way) at work lately, and I'm wiped. If I owe you (life!) something, I strive to knock down my list on Saturday (knock it back, knock it back) before I catch up with Amal and our friend Dwr's on Saturday night. Sunday we go to visit Eleanor and her pleasure palace with our families, and Monday? I start again.

02 December 2010


Of august gold-wreathed and beautiful
Aphrodite I shall sing to whose domain
belong the battlements of all sea-loved
Cyprus where, blown by the moist breath
of Zephyros, she was carried over the
waves of the resounding sea on soft foam.
The gold-filleted Horae happily welcomed
her and clothed her with heavenly raiment.
Demetrios Chalcondyles, 1488

Dress your best, like a goddess birthed from the inside of a most iconoclast, absinthe-gurgling sort of oyster.

01 December 2010

Under new blankets

The pond is full! How lucky we were to spend the evening with replies of love and anticipation.

30 November 2010

After coffee

Looking for that which is skybound: ballerinas, constellations, magic carpets, hot air balloons, flying saucers, Esther Williams.

29 November 2010

All these years and you never knew

Pavlova and her pet swan, Jack

When he was smaller, my 12 year old brother declared he was going to be a geneticist. "Why?" asked our father. "So my grandparents never die," replied my brother.

Soon after she died he wrote a story, 'Travelling Companions', in which William, travelling in Italy from Germany, met her by chance in Milan Cathedral, having first seen her in front of Leonardo's The Last Supper. He loved describing her white umbrella with a violet lining and the sense of intelligent pleasure in her movements, her glance and her voice. He could control her destiny now that she was dead, offer her the experiences she would have wanted, and provide drama for a life which had been so cruelly shortened. He wondered if this had happened to other writers who came before him, if Hawthorne or George Eliot had written to make the dead come back to life, had worked all day and all night, like a magician or an alchemist, defying fate and time and all the implacable elements to re-create a sacred life. -The Master, Colm Tóibín

How to stay immortal, when telephone calls are no longer.

24 November 2010

The Economy of Loss.

That secret stress? The most pedestrian of all: money. I am not yet ready to say goodbye to it all.

It came down to money, the sweetness it added to the soul. Money was a kind of grace. Everywhere he had been, the having of it and the holding of it had set people apart. It gave men a beautiful distant control over the world, and it gave women a poised sense of themselves, an inner light which even old age could not obliterate. -The Master, Colm Toibin

Forgive me my failures.

23 November 2010

My castle, my books.

The secret life has been dull without my pages. Eschewing all with The Master by Colm Toibin, and all I want (untrue) is a day with him and endless coffee.

22 November 2010

Forego the popular for the truly important and always change

I went to Carla's memorial service at Politics & Prose yesterday. I've been having wretched reader's block lately, but I went wild in the remainder room and came home with The Master, Mariette in Ecstasy, The Magus, and The Bad Girl. Thanks for all of it, Carla. I wouldn't have known where Oaxaca was without you.

19 November 2010


Winter's approaching and all I want is alternating layers of lace and cashmere, the cashmere in the form of slouchy, nipped sweatpants. Proper hydration (terrible at it!), fur collar, perfume cloud, and black eyeliner complete a winter uniform, punctuated once weekly by a very short dress with 2 pairs of tights, thick black knit thigh-highs, and heels. Are you thrilled yet?

18 November 2010

T.A.T.: We do laugh.

Going to see old school chum Nick Kroll tonight. We (Amal and me) are really hoping for some Oh, Hello. I know the kids love Fabrice Fabrice, Bobby Bottleservice, and The Ed Hardy Boyz, but I'm partial to Gil Faizon and George St Geegland's white wine and cocaine soaked Upper East Side antics.

G.S.G: Why did you cheat on her?
G.F.: Well, I was on tour.
G.S.G: You were on a museum tour.
G.F.: Yeah, it was an M.C. Escher exhibit. I didn't know which way was up.


17 November 2010

Some rules you don't break

Eugène Atget

Goddess, nymph, concierge of a hôtel particulier- I've done it! I bought a wedding dress.

16 November 2010

Yawn, sigh, stretch, satisfied smile

Dusting off some old moves, my kitten. I revisited some forgotten deeds on Sunday night, and turns out, I've done a thing or two. How quickly we lose all the people that we were.

15 November 2010

Lie about

Dear Kids,

I did a lot of visualizing this weekend. Things like, where we'll live with Teepee's baby, Baby, the rings to mark our band of love and what I want to be when I grow up (a writer, want to hire me?). I did not visualize whirled peas.

Thanks, Mom, for yelling at me. I tried. I will keep trying. I think I might have been too myself this go around, so I don't expect to be chosen, but I will keep trying.

Circle talker

12 November 2010


I missed you yesterday. I was in the shadow of the Jazz Loft with my oldest friend in the world (he gave me a basket of primroses on our tenth friendship anniversary, which was fifteen years ago).

10 November 2010

The clock only ticks when I think of the sharing

A Sea of Queen Anne's Lace, Charles Burchfield

Before winter begins, a gathering of my every-winter tales: Auntie Mame, Vespertine (I listen, a love story), a dip into Proust, the Newberry & the Caldecott lists, fairy tales (H.C. Andersen's "The Snow Queen" in particular). We'll explore more as Demeter waits.

09 November 2010

The Moderns

Henri Matisse

The state of my dress, or undress as is currently stands, remains questionable. All the sAlons are booked, booked, booked. "What will you wear to a certain considerably important Sunday brunch in late March?" bellows the sphinx. "Isabel Archer's 21st century cousin is loaning me something- mauve, I think-" I shout back, good-naturedly, and we both have a good laugh.

08 November 2010


Eyes close, curtain up, in the gloaming there you are, just you and your mother's voice in its best timbre, and here it is: our first lesson in the rhythm of words as sentient beings.

In the great green room
there was a telephone
and a red balloon
and a picture of...

The cow jumping over the moon
And there were three little bears sitting on chairs

Goodnight room
Goodnight moon
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon
Goodnight light and the red balloon
Goodnight bears, goodnight chairs
Goodnight kittens
and goodnight mittens
Goodnight clocks and goodnight socks
Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse
Goodnight comb and goodnight brush
Goodnight nobody
Goodnight mush
And goodnight to the old lady whispering "hush"
Goodnight stars
goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere.

Margaret Wise Brown, 1947

earlier reconsiderations

04 November 2010


We sleep, we rise, we work, we work, we watch, we listen. Most of our hours are spent away. Keep your secret self always strong.

May G-d watch between us when we are apart.

03 November 2010


I had a rather ginny drink last night with R who's in the throes of a wonderfully Bloomsbury moment, apparel-wise, and was accompanied home by the whooshing of my near floor length black leather skirt and a Balthazar baguette (the kindness of strangers, namely when I am with R). He had rejected the skirt, I wore it anyhow. This morning, I said, "you know, R says my skirt is very on-trend." "She's right," he says, distractedly. "It is very un-trend."

02 November 2010

Best to protect yourself

I just had these evil eye rings made in India. They are oxidized sterling silver, set with 18 1.3 mm rosecut diamonds surrounding a single 2.5 mm rosecut diamond center stone. Want one? Want three? Oh, I do love you! They're $288 and are available at Catbird or you can email me directly at leighbatnick@gmail.com. Detail shots will be available shortly - I'm too impatient & excited not to share with you cabbages.

01 November 2010

Consistency lies in longing

Good morning, it's Monday. Let us begin our week with a flight of fancy, involving the M. Building and shoes for Mnemosyne, had she enjoyed champagne, and its 54 million bubbles per glass.

29 October 2010

We wait

We are about to be married, our friends have sons and daughters, and every spare moment, we slip into the world when our parents were children.

Do I say it? I never say it, at least never here, but she is sick, I am scared, and I want to be her child forever.

28 October 2010

Walk with purpose

Some days I want more, some days I want less. I brought home a spangled, bugle-beaded star from work last night; it's beautifully useless, and I needed it so. I don't like objects which fake at their utility. Be useful, or be beautiful. If you are useful, have clean lines and a thoughtful economy. If you are beautiful, be so. Absurd dictates fly out the window regarding the animated world: people and animals may be exactly as they please.

27 October 2010

Behind gardens

If you were here, we'd sneak into a corner and have a drink, and I'd tell you the truth. But you're not here, and I'm not sure I can be beautiful and direct here. Last night, though, on my walk home? If I ran into you then, I'd tell the truth.

26 October 2010

Send Me

Jeunes femmes à la guitare et aux flutes, Marie Laurencin, 1935

Emotion is hanging out in my fingertips this morning. But! L.D. is back from India today, with her heroine charm, her New York dollishness, and my diamond evil eye rings, which can be your diamond evil eye rings. Details soon.

25 October 2010


I'm not sure what I want to say this morning, but I want us to share: Camille, Cleo from 5 to 7, Contempt, The Thin Man, Eva, Annie, Morocco, Pépé le Moko, Mississippi Mermaid, The Sandpiper, My Man Godfrey, Nights of Cabiria, Jazz on a Summer's Day, Bay of Angels, Wild Strawberries, The Magus, Daisies, Loves of a Blonde, Stealing Beauty, Don't Look Now, Don't Look Back, Shadows, The Philadelphia Story, just a few, some fizzy bubbles. Don't forget what I didn't say. Next time, the people, a list. To begin: Lombard, Losey, Bergman, Von Sternberg, Tati, etc, etc, etc.

20 October 2010

12:00 Noon

I know someone whose star is on the rise. Know him quite well, in fact.

19 October 2010

Music for life

The truly exorbitant creativity and vanguard visuals of the early Silly Symphonies is mind-boggling. See here, the anthropomorphizing and transmogrification of a small patch of forest. In just shy of 8 minutes: love, jealousy, community, creation, rage, destruction, rebirth, commitment.

Disney's first Technicolor animation, Flowers & Trees 1932, via Sea of Shoes, earlier Silly Symphonies post here

18 October 2010

Lights off, Lights on.

Marilyn Monroe, The Misfits, Inge Morath

Though I'm late for a train at Pennsylvania Station I run to a news stand. Girl behind the counter looks at my Vanity Fair, confused. "Ma'am," she says, pointing at the cover, "who's that, ma'am?" "Marilyn Monroe," I say. "Ma'am," says she, "is she dead, ma'am?" "Yes," says I, "she's dead." "How," she asks, "an accident?" "Yes," I answer, "a suicide."

Her eyes widen. She looks at the beautiful woman on the cover of the magazine, looks at me, late for my train. "But why, Ma'am? Why she kill herself, ma'am?" I wanted to take her for a coffee, talk to her about the price of privilege and unassailable loneliness, but I was late for my train, so all I could say was, "Read the article!"

And the curtain rises.

15 October 2010

Illusion drawn in furs and gold

There is one secret stress in my shabby closet, the one I think of as my eyes fall at night, and open in the morning, a secret stress I am sure I share with many of you, though not all of you. I will walk briskly this morning, write hard this weekend, push it from the forefront, and one day secret stress will wither and die. Do you have a secret stress?

14 October 2010


I've been learning lately that death is a quotidian waltz. I am attending a funeral today for a relation I haven't seen in years. I will say goodbye to him, to his mother who I will likely never see again, to his sisters who I might only see on a Manhattan street, to my family when I was a child. Would they know me in a crowd at dusk? Were I still ten years old, yes. I will tell them I am getting married, I will think of my grandmother in her arm chair, my grandfather living only to say the blessing over the challah, the house we all once lived in, the desk, the paintings, our cat who has gone. I will think of my dog, my cat, the man who will be my husband, our apartment, the family we will have, and I will never understand that he will never know what made me before I was the person he loved.

13 October 2010

Give what you've got

Dolce & Gabbana via Alice Wemple

Coming at it from all angles. Would pizza and champagne be so terrible?