above: in situ on Facebook. below: cut and pasted here.
Evolution of a Bedroom
The most recent "on this day" reminders Facebook has been coughing up included, today, pics of my first onerous trip to Ikea - which I made a year ago. God I hated that place (tho thank it on my knees for my bed!). But as I thought of the bed I love which I got there and the bedroom I love that it's in, my memory's dominoes tumbled further back to the plans I'd drawn for my-home-to-be a few months before ferrying in the cold to Ikea Hell.
I love looking at the drawings I drew. Because they turned out to be of what's here now! To all you architects and contractors and interior designers, this would be daily fare: drawings (duh) become reality. But to me! - and especially because the architect who thought they were fine is a Yalie (among whose impressive architect grads I know more than a few) - hooo-eee did this ever seem not only like a personal best, but evidence (which god knows I tracked and reported every bit of here) that this thing WAS going to happen. So the grim memory of Ikea (which again I bless) spawned what I feature here: this visual depiction of the Evolution of my Bedroom. Which is to say, the creation of a kind of heaven.
The pics: first you'll see the library I slept in on east 10th street for a long long time. It's a kind of rich Edwardian excess, like the whole rest of that apartment was, something I liked a lot - once loved a lot - enough to think I would still probably engender some version of it in any new home. But oh, the more THAT notion ripened, the more it rotted. I do not (it turns out) LIKE Victorian/Edwardian clutter. And this had been that, god knows. So the difference between that shot and the solo shot of my bedroom next to it mostly underscores the blunt fact of that shift. I am in a clear well-lighted large space and in the 9 going on 10 months I've been here I've not deposited anywhere in it ONE single blobby mass of piled stuff. So it turns out I really do like it this way better....
But a bedroom is more than space, open or cluttered. And to have a studio AND a bedroom - is to be granted prospects of personal life which still seem beyond luxury to me. That they reflect me in essential ways - and are so different - describes another kind of richness: whose divisions proceed from gentle separations in me -- what I guess I must always unconsciously have intended to be reflected in the identities of each of these rooms. To know the luxury not only of being able to shift your energy from one space to another, but to have that space welcome and make an exactly appropriate body for it - well, I don't know, maybe all you guys out there have long been doing this, particularly if you live in actual houses, but to me it's new stuff.
It isn't new stuff that New Yorkers tend to create wonderful personal spaces. I've long maintained that New Yorkers who love New York (ergo who stay here no matter what) know how to create home almost instinctively - partly the instinct of self-preservation: you need a haven here - and (it turns out) I need a haven here not least, dare I use a word I mightily dislike, "artistically" - which is to say, to have a place that invites me to make manifest in very specific ways those particular portions I glean daily from the enormous content of the city's glory. New York is like a great big Id. It requires a supple ego to learn how to be a generous but discerning arbiter of what gets 'in' & played with - to moderate the city's overwhelming DRIVES - and for that, you need a 'home' which embraces and encourages - not generally, but which does so for the specific eccentric peculiar YOU. I know so many people - I'll immodestly claim I've been one - who've made studio apartments seem like les enfants du paradis - 'children' (if you can call homes that) of each of our very particular sense of - (only word I can think of) - the sublime. (Dick Bories, Reed Woodhouse, Donna Boguslav, David Schechter, Frank Koumantaris, Rick Shupper - oh so many others! - I'm thinking of you.) You don't know you're in a 'small space' - even if by a tape measure somebody decides it is one.
This was really true of Quentin Crisp's home. Like Whitman, it contained multitudes, but they did not swamp you. They were the visual & spatial reflection of something that you experienced as indistinguishable from what you knew of Quentin's core. And that was one amazing core.
Anyway, this is very heady stuff to the likes of me. Which is why I've gone on about it now and probably will continue to do so for the rest of my wackadookacockatoo existence.