A JOURNEY ROUND MY BATHROOM

From The Public Domain Review:

“In 1790, Xavier de Maistre was 27 years old, and a soldier in the army of the Sardinian Kingdom, which covered swathes of modern-day Northern Italy and Southern France. An impetuous young soldier, he was placed under house-arrest in Turin for fighting an illegal duel; there is no record of what happened to the other guy. It was during the 42 days of his confinement here that he wrote the manuscript that would become Voyage autour de ma chambre.

Inspired by the works of Laurence Sterne, with their digressive and colloquial style, de Maistre decided to make the most of his sentence by recording an exploration of the room as a travel journal. Like a modern teenager cataloguing their daily routine in a series of finely-tuned Instagram posts, de Maistre’s book imbues the tour of his chamber with great mythology and grand scale. As he wanders the few steps that it takes to circumnavigate the space, his mind spins off into the ether. It parodies the travel journals of the eighteenth-century (such as A Voyage Around the World by Louis de Bougainville, 1771), and could be read today as an early take on the modern vogue for “psychogeography” — each tiny thing that he encounters sends de Maistre into rhapsodies, and mundane journeys become magnificent voyages:”

But you must not let yourself think that instead of keeping my promise to describe my journey around my room, I am beating the bush to see how I can evade the difficulty. This would be a great mistake on your part. For our journey is really going: and, while my soul, falling back on her own resources, was in the last chapter threading the mazy paths of metaphysics, I had so placed myself in my arm-chair…

In that spirit, I offer….

14 Replies to “A JOURNEY ROUND MY BATHROOM”

  1. Lovely! Especially St Dymphna. I had one but her head fell off suddenly one day. I think it may have been cracked when I bought it at the church yard sale. quite prophetic considering how she died!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha, exactly! Talk about a dysfunctional family! Always glad to meet another St. Dymphna fan!

  2. Andrea Stewart says: Reply

    I think I saw Fr. Solanus. He is on our fridge.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Love Fr. Solanus! I did a piece about him for Magnificat. And you’ve given me an idea–the tour of my fridge (also covered in prayer cards and saints) will be next! Thanks, Andrea.

  3. I love the corner sink. Blessings.

    1. Isn’t it great, Tom? Probably about 50 years old, too. I forgot to zero in on the two stones that are arranged kitty-corner on the ledge above the faucets, both painted with eyes by my dear NYC friend, Anthony S!

  4. Timothy O'Regan says: Reply

    Heather, I love it! You’re a woman after my own heart. Thank you for inviting us in and I look forward to seeing your fridge.

    1. Oh now that there’s some interest, Tim, I’m quite excited! Have to wait for the leaf blowers to leave, but I may get to this today and if not, soon! Thank you so much–

  5. Absolutely fantastic Heather! I would love to see your desk next, where you sit when you write, and your book shelves too, the books you read. Every sentence you write is gold to me, I love your thoughts.
    God Bless
    Chris

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Coming up, Chris! I think I’ll do the fridge first, then move on to my combination office/music conservatory/monastic bedroom. But the desk definitely deserves its own video. It’s super fun to share this way–God bless you as well.

  6. Heather, this was absolutely delightful. I no longer feel that I have never seen anyone else decorate the way I do, haha! And I am *honored* that you’ve placed Therese up where she can keep an eye on things. It was lovely to see her and know I can visit her from time to time. From the standpoint of “what do you like to place your gaze upon”, especially in a small space, it is all a grand landscape. Thank you so much for giving us the gift of welcoming us into your home, transcending time and distance. Is this not the way the Risen Jesus shows up all over the place during this time before His Ascension? He continues to delight us with His presence in all sorts of unexpected ways. Thank you for this reminder. XO, MB

    1. Mary Beth, so glad you saw this and the shout-out for the wonderful St. Therese snow globe! Yes, Christ is like yeast, all through the loaf…our gardens…our bathrooms…our refrigerator magnets…never have I been so glad for my cloister and the way it’s been set up constantly to…draw my mind and heart upward…rearrange…dust….much love to you, my Columbus, Ohio friend!!

  7. Heather, it’s good to see another Maistre fan and I love your take on his book.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Varis, perfect book to re-visit during this time of quarantine…our rooms really are pretty wondrous–thanks for your readership!

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!