Friday, October 8, 2010

fanelli at dawn

lucy greeley introduced me to fanelli's. i knew her in boston before her bestselling memoir was published and i came down to stay with her when she got her loft on mercer st. she lived there with her cats, stinky and tripod (three legged cat, of course.)

her writing- pithy, terse. a woman writer in the tradition of emily dickinson, beryl markham, joan didion. NOT oprah book club. because she had more observations than needy questions or preachy answers oprah didn't understand her; and terry gross could only ask (paraphrasing) "you're ugly- how does that make you feel?"

lucy was on a lot of medications due to frequent surgeries to improve her ravaged, barely existent jaw. drugs eventually got the better of her, but we'd lost touch some time before that. as her star rose she lived an adventurous life in new york and gradually she became harder to reach. she .was very very popular and, contrary to terry gross' s opinion, she was foxy and had both male and female lovers.

once, scanning a book review in the sunday times i started to feel that it was exceptionally beautifully written. on checking i was startled and charmed to find lucy had written it!

a couple/few years later a friend called to ask if i knew she'd died.

when i met lucy i was trying to make living as a painter, mostly selling paintings to friends and acquaintances. lucy bought one of my paintings and had it hanging in her loft 2 blocks down from fanelli. a nude in a very dark room. her head bent over and hidden by a deep red towel she's wrapping around her just washed hair.


  1. I didn't know that you knew Lucy Greeley. I read Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett's story of their friendship with both great appreciation for her honesty and also the realization that my life ran parallel to theirs. I was in Iowa City around the same time they were, in the same English department.

    wouldn't it be cool if the painting you describe was recognized by someone reading your blog & you got to see it again?