Reading, or for a moment, fitfully submerged in, Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights. Hardwick, on Billie Holiday:
She was late for her mother's funeral. At last she arrived, ferociously appropriate in a black turban...Her mother, Sadie Holiday, was short and sentimental, bewildered to be the bearer of such news to the world...The great singer was one of those for whom the word changeling was invented...She shared the changeling's spectacular destiny and was acquainted with malevolent forces.
Her whole life had taken place in the dark. The spotlight shone down on the black, hushed circle in a cafe; the moon slowly slid through the clouds. Night-working, smiling, in makeup, in long, silky dresses, singing over and over, again and again. The aim of it all is just to be drifting off to sleep when the first rays of the sun's brightness begin to threaten the theatrical eyelids.