Pin-pricked Dante

Oh, I’m in love. Sean gifted me this Dante book with the words “Jalina and Sean visit Florence” pricked into the title page. I love the accidental braille on the back side of the inscription. When I die one day this’ll turn up in a used bookshop – perhaps the Oxfam shop on St. Giles…

sketching chagall into my novel

These are quick illustrations I made of the Chagall windows at St. Stephen’s in Mainz, Germany in 2010. I needed the illustrations to help me write a chapter in my memoir ‘One Hour to Madness & Joy’ that takes place at St. Stephen’s. Now my drawings and whimsical interpretations are folded up in Sean’s wallet, and have been for…

annotated virgil

Sean gave me an old copy of Virgil’s Georgics. I love it. The inscription reads “17 Banbury Rd, Oxford” – which is right down the street from where I live. I’ve researched the previous owner, who made these annotations in 1916. I’m looking forward to writing to his son (or grandson?) and asking if he’d like to have the book. I absolutely love the…

I’ll keep my window open

This week Sean is reading one of my old diaries from 2011. He emailed me the following entry, which is all about Phil reading Peter Pan to me at bedtime.   Sean used to read Peter Pan to me on our early picnics at Minster Lovell and Blenheim Palace, even before he knew my affection for the story. He brought…

a flock of hand-stitched angels

I’ve started collecting antique English christening gowns. They will be my English keepsake when I move back to the U.S.; I imagine a high wall in my house one day covered in twenty or so tiny hand-stitched gowns like a flock of angels. I’m in awe of the details and the undersides, where the hand…

your body clock

A quote from Sean after a particularly sleepless night on my end: Early morning is a normal Jalina bed time, your body clock being aligned with India, as much as your taste buds are. If I wish to know what you are doing, or gauge the state of your wakefulness, I need only glance towards Mumbai,…

finding meaning in dreams

I had an anxious dream last night – I was on a quest to find the meaning of the word “exegesis.” I was looking in libraries, asking experts, researching ancient archives and dusty old books, but couldn’t find the definition. When I awoke I could feel that I’d been grinding my teeth…I looked up the definition the moment…

twelve goodnight kisses

Sean rewrote Bemelman: “In an old house in oxford, all covered in vines, lived twelve small Jalina’s in two straight lines. In two straight lines they giggled and said  ‘we shall soon brush our teeth’  then hopped into bed. Twelve goodnight kisses, twelve candles to light, twelve small Jalina’s tucked in for the night.”

little clouds and blind spots

I love Sean’s portraits of self-portraits – he dissolves into a fairy tale, a Little Prince, a Pierrot. He becomes his truest self twice over. When I paint my face I create a self-portrait on the most immediate canvas. The mirror provides me with a portrait, then I paint a self-portrait on its reflection until…