Edward Gorey, The Curious Sofa, A pornography work by Ogdred Weary
When I was growing up in Central PA, my parents had an old Manhattan phone directory sitting around. One day when I was 18 and newly obsessed with Edward Gorey, it occurred to me to look him up in it.
Astonishingly, I found his listing there, just as if he were any ordinary mortal. I tore the page out of the book and have guarded it like a religious relic ever since.* I mention this because on my way back from Provincetown yesterday, I stopped off in Yarmouth Port to see his summer house, which has been turned into a museum.
It was rather a powerful experience to be there. But I didn’t cry (like I did when I visited the Norman Rockwell museum years ago). The people who run the place had set up a Gashlycrumb Tinies scavenger hunt–all around the house you could find evidence of each of the 26 dead children. Like Zillah’s gin bottle.
Here’s the huge cat who lives in the house.
Holly, who didn’t know anything about Edward Gorey before this visit, flustered the docent by asking the obvious question: did Gorey have a partner? The man said no, that no one knew of any romantic attachments, and Gorey seemed quite content with his work and his cats. Holly pressed on, saying “but everyone has work and cats.” But to no avail. I think they were glad when we left.
Here I am out in the yard with the wire sculpture of The Doubtful Guest.
*In an odd coincidence, I just noticed that the listing for the Gotham Book Mart is on the other side of the scrap from the phone book. This was a legendary, real-deal bookstore on 47th St. which closed last year, as real-deal bookstores tend to do. They were a great champion of Edward Gorey, and always had signed copies of his books on display. In the mid-eighties, I worked a block away from the Gotham Book Mart, and spent many a lunch hour lost in its aisles.