Two confirmed book-related events in the fall:
– on Wednesday September 12 I will be speaking in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the Halifax Grammar School, the school co-founded by my father. This will be a true homecoming in many ways, organised by two of my oldest friends, Donna and Ian Thompson, helped by Frog Hollow Books and HGS’s Gay Silverman. I am now contacting old Halifax friends to let them know, most importantly the extraordinary Muriel Duckworth, who is 97. Muriel, however, is at her summer home in Quebec and won’t return to Halifax till the end of September. We had a long talk, and I, forty years younger, felt rejuvenated by her openness and joie de vivre. Her husband Jack ran the YMCA in Halifax and dragooned the Kaplan family into joining a volleyball club in 1960 or so; I did not enjoy having to play volleyball with my family but I have stayed a member of the Y in every Canadian city I’ve lived in ever since, and the Y here is one of the cornerstones of my life. I told her I owe it all to Jack and his volleyballs. She had a good laugh. How I’d love to see her, but I will get to see lots of other old friends and the Atlantic Ocean, which feels like a great old friend too, much missed.
– on October 7, I will be speaking at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusets. I had to look at a map with a magnifying glass to see where the town is, though I know so much about the Center itself, started by the aimiable and unstoppable Aaron Lansky. Aaron began rescuing Yiddish books one by one from dumpsters, which led eventually to the building of the vast Center and the cataloguing of millions of Yiddish books. I will be very proud to speak at a place that honours writers and their books in such a vital way.
I forgot to mention one moment from my July trip to New York. My second cousin Lola and I went to a free klezmer concert outside at Lincoln Centre, and on the way stopped at the Barnes and Noble nearby. We enquired about the book and were told it was in the Judaica section, but I really couldn’t believe that it would actually be there. But it was – my book, at the Barnes and Noble near Lincoln Centre. Lola even offered to buy it, but she already has a copy, and anyway, then it wouldn’t be there any more – there was only one. So I gave it a little squeeze and put it back on the shelf.