"In Purgatory," I went on, "near the beginning...:
We were still beside the edge of the sea
like people who are thinking about their journey
who in their hearts go and their bodies stay."

She was some kind of genius, always off studying the lesser potamogeton, whatever those were. (Insects? I wondered vaguely. Galaxies? Note: Look it up; maybe use in 56 Water Street.)


It was a large bare room, hung only with Otto's unspeakable "surrealist" paintings and, above a small flat-screen TV, a floating shelf with a boxed set of Jean Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy and nothing else.


It turned out to be the Count To Ten game.

...the occasional art postcard (Toulouse-Lautrec's Chat Noir is a perennial favorite)

A mistake! The Chat Noir is actually a poster by Théophile Steinlen.

I read, but barely wrote, and then only vaporous, repetitive ambiences which I convinced myself were poems....
...in the Asian rug on the dining room floor two googly-eyed dragons with clawed feet chased each other playfully around the yellow background, through woven clouds, like a parable of time...

...even Slovenia's paltry twenty-nine miles of coastline was enough to prompt a two-week e-mail exchange with the National and University Library in Ljubljana...

Best of all, of course, is to copy something longhand, word for word—the way Shakespeare copied out Ovid and Virgil as a schoolboy, the way the classical Chinese education system worked for centuries...