We throw our parties ... we struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep -- it's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there where our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.
- Michael Cunningham, The Hours
[The photo is of one of the windows in my kitchen -- the two whisky glasses contain Christmas cactus cuttings. I listened to Cunningham's recording of The Hours as I drove east, and it was perfect for my mood -- he's excellent both as a writer and reader, and his characters' preoccupations in sync with both the me that brought along a raft of work and the me exulting in getting away from keyboard and easel on a gloriously bright summer afternoon.]