I am sitting in the audience listening to my friend Honor Moore read from her new book, The Bishop’s Daughter, here at the Wesleyan Conference, and with some excitement, I hear her talk about being “in England that summer with friends”.
Hidden in that sentence was one of my favorite sprees ever, with her, a night when I met her in the Theater District in London to see Hedda Gabler and then dinner at J. Scheekey’s, one of the best restaurants in London. I remember I had Bronzino. Afterward we walked to Trafalgar Square and then I said goodnight to her and went back to my hotel in Bloomsbury, and fell asleep feeling like I was the luckiest of men.
I like how at the reading it feels like a secret. Her reading is beautiful–the book is a tour de force, and Honor’s voice is one of the best you could hope to listen to, a kind of dark musicality lives in it. I watch her, and the enormity of the masterpiece it is comes over me.
She takes questions, and talks about the challenges of writing, researching and publishing this memoir. “A memoir means,” she says, “‘As I remember it.'”
During the Q&A, from her answer to one of her questions, she describes, in detail, her father’s Bishop’s ring, and I remember being in a bar in the early 90s, on the Upper East Side, the Townhouse. It’s a classic old-New-York gay bar, but the classy uptown kind. You had to wear a jacket, I think, or, you felt like you did. This was before I knew how to drink a martini. The friend I was with asked me if I wanted to meet “the gay bishop”. I wasn’t sure what they meant, but I went and met an enormous handsome man who seemed almost to vibrate with energy as he sat there quietly smiling and wearing the most beautiful ring, the bishop’s ring. And with a shock, I realize it could only have been her father.
If you need something good to read this summer, go buy this book.
I was telling R about the article by your friend in the NYer and he paused to recollect for a moment then told me he had met “the gay bishop” at a dinner party in NY. Isn’t that funny?
This has me feeling nostalgic for somewhere I’ve never been.