I have a longtime favorite author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. She writes prose with a poetic voice, describes silken fabrics and golden threads with tactile elegance, and infuses her words with the pungent sweetspice aroma of Indian flavors. The first book I read of hers was a collection of short stories called, “The Unknown Errors of our Lives”, a poignant description of a myriad of missed connections between caring, well-meaning people. I have since read the works of other Indian authors: Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories in “Interpreter of Maladies” were especially moving, and I loved the darkly layered, rich complexities of Bharati Mukherjee’s “Desirable Daughters”. Even Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”, a brutal portrayal of the seedy underbelly of Indian society, had hard won moments of transcendent clarity and beauty. One of Chitra Divakaruni’s longer explorations is a book following the lives of two young girls raised side-by-side as siblings, “Sister of My Heart” and its sequel, “The Vine of Desire”, which follows their relationship into adulthood. Today I want to write about my friend Danielle, a sister of my heart.
The New York Times Magazine for April 4th features an article on Norris Church Mailer, the former model and last wife of Norman Mailer. In it she talks about her new book describing her long relationship with Norman, about living with his children from his earlier marriages, and about living with her own art and with art by other family members in her home. There’s only one picture of Norris in the article and you can only see one of her paintings, but I thought I’d share a couple of the other works Norris has which were painted by my friend Danielle.
Both of these pieces are from Danielle’s “Good Daughter” series in which she cradles a book of her father’s and clearly reveals a tenderness in their relationship.
I used to love sitting with Danielle in her studio, knitting and painting, and I used to love our long walks in the forest sharing secrets. Now we live with our families on opposite sides of the country but still have our studio talks by phone and still keep each other close at heart.
Born a day apart, we both started out as child artists, she painting elaborate patterns on kid gloves which she sold at Henri Bendel’s in New York and me making intricately patterned textile designs which I also sold in New York, to the trade. We didn’t know each other then nor when we overlapped junior year at Smith (living in neighboring houses), but met years later as adults in our tiny town in Connecticut. In time we returned to New York for a show of our figurative works in a gallery on Lexington Avenue.
While gazing at the cover of The New York Times Magazine this week, I imagine I can find all the colors of Danielle’s rainbow.
I will be away next week for the Chicago International miniature show where I’ll be offering my paper dolls, miniature buttons & wooden shops, www.bishopshow.com, and so will write a double post the following week using today’s fabulous New York Times Magazine covers plus other surprise covers yet to come. In the meantime, please visit Danielle’s site, and enjoy! www.daniellemailer.com
And PS, about the gay bunnies and the 450+ other species of animals that have been known to exhibit homosexual behavior (according to today’s cover story)… well… I hope these findings will give the antigay movement a thing or two to contemplate.