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Canada Reads and reads and reads

Wayson, my hot date, sure knows how to show a girl a wild time. This morning, he came over … to listen to the radio. For those of you not here in Canuckistan, the CBC is running a literary competition called Canada Reads, in which five important Canadians pick five important Canadian books they think every Canadian should read and battle to defend them. Each day, a book is voted off the island. The winner enjoys astounding sales. Wayson’s “Jade Peony” was picked by Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child International. Some have criticized the book, apparently, because “too little happens.” The fact that the prose is as liquid, clear and vital as a freshwater stream does not matter; there’s almost no sex and not a single car chase.

So Mr. Choy came here to have company, in case today was the day he was axed. How many times, recently, no, ever, has my heart raced while listening to the radio? It did today. My neighbour Jian Ghomeshi did a great job as host, balancing the speakers, asking pertinent questions. Then, they cast their ballots for the weakest link. I clutched Wayson, and Jian said the fateful words: “Tune in tomorrow to find out the result.” Phooey!
As we calmed down, we had a great talk about teaching. I opined that a good teacher gives a great deal of him or herself, but Wayson disagreed. “A good teacher opens up so wide,” he said, “that students can reach in and take what they want and need.” A great, if slightly disconcerting, image.
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The weather is beyond heavenly – 14 degrees, hot sun, sweet breezes. There may be snow by the weekend, but for now, spring has sprang.
Last night, my Ryerson student Scott lent me “A Man without a Country” by Kurt Vonnegut, because he thought I’d like it. I do.
If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
Kurt Vonnegut

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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