10.18.2012

Tiny diorama: Secret Study


My friend Kathleen, who used to live here in San Francisco but who has since moved to New York, is visiting the Bay Area this week to promote her debut novel. Yesterday was her birthday, and I had an unexpected afternoon off, so with much too much coffee I whipped up this tiny paper diorama in a jewelry box for her. You enter by way of a secret door behind a bookcase.


Inside is a secret writing study, with everything you could possibly need for long stretches of writing prose: a cozy fireplace, an elegant tufted armchair, an ornate Louis XV writing desk, a potted palm, a zebra print rug (faux, of course)...


and a rotary phone, off the hook:

Here is what that's about. Earlier this year, I read somewhere that "the poets Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin famously used to telephone each other and work for hours composing verses, each with her phone beside her so that she might try out a phrase or line, or just seek sustenance from the other without having to redial. (When one wanted the other's attention, she whistled into the receiver.)" When Kathleen still lived in San Francisco, we enjoyed working together at cafes, but now that we're on opposite sides of the country, a tiny paper study with a tiny rotary phone off the hook is where we'll have to work together in spirit.


Anyway, you should read her book, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. The Wall Street Journal calls it a "beautiful story of love and heartbreak" and a "joyously good first novel."