He had a device fixed to the lintel of his patio door, hung by a piece of twine. What he called a mindfulness bell, a screw inside of a 4¼-inch hole saw-bit which rang when the wind hit it a certain way. The noise clung to the air and made him think of his father’s bell, which would ring through the house every so often to remind everyone living there of their breath.
The cottage had come with a CD player but the only CD he ever found was Joni Mitchell’s Blue. He played it repeatedly. Once it reached some kind of conclusion, the disc started all over again, Joni found a new Richard. He always loved CDs because they mirrored life better than any other medium in this way, the circularity of it.
“I am a lonely painter; I live in a box of paints,” Joni sang. I am a lonely writer, he wrote. I live in a box of frames.