In 1973, Georgia O'Keeffe employed C. S. Merrill to catalog her library for her estate. Merrill, a poet who was a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, was 26 years old and O'Keeffe was 85 and almost blind but still painting. Over seven years, Merrill was called upon for secretarial assistance, cooking, and personal care for the artist.
Merrill's journals reveal details of the daily life of a genius. The author describes how O'Keeffe stretched the canvas for her 26-foot cloud painting and reports on O'Keeffe's favorite classical music and preferred performers. Merrill provided descriptions of nature when she and the artist went for walks; She read to O'Keeffe from her favorite books and helped keep her space in meticulous order.
Throughout the audiobook, there are descriptions of O'Keeffe's studio and an account of once assisting O'Keeffe at the easel. Visitors came from far and wide, among them Eliot Porter, Laura Gilpin, Nanao Sakaki, and even Allen Ginsberg. All this is revealed in Merrill's straightforward and deeply respectful writing. Listening to her audiobook is like spending a weekend with O'Keeffe in the incomparable light and clear air of northern New Mexico mountains and desert.