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drenched

It was as if the skies were mourning with us today – a horrible day, constant drizzle or cold rain, black clouds all day long without let up. Anna phoned to warn me not to look at the right-wing “Sun” newspaper’s front page, something gloating and nasty, she said. I did have to see Harper’s face, with the sweet little glasses, on the front page of the “Star,” looking as joyful as the man can look, which means like a human fence post.

However. It’s not the end of the world. He doesn’t have the power and resources George Bush had to firebomb another country. He’ll do his best to destroy the fabric of Canada, and then move on. He’ll be like Mike Harris, making buckets on the boards of vast corporations owned by his friends, and Jim Flaherty will take over his job. I can’t wait.
In the meantime, I was too busy to think about it. Much. The U of T term started today – always a treat, to meet new students. After that, I rushed through the rain to meet my friend Lynn, to see another documentary at the Hot Docs Festival – this one about an extraordinary New Orleans tradition in which black communities dress up in elaborate Indian costumes at Mardi Gras, to honour the protection native tribes gave runaway slaves. When Katrina hit, all was destroyed – but the chiefs came back, to make sure the traditions continue. A hopeful and moving film.
Rushed from there to meet another friend and see another documentary, this one called “Buck,” which won a prize at Sundance, and deservedly so. It’s about Buck Brannaman, the prototype for “the Horse Whisperer,” a man who travels the country showing people how to train their horses with gentleness and respect rather than brutality and intimidation. We find out that Buck’s own father was brutal with his sons, so much so that Buck and his brother were eventually, blessedly, taken away and put into a loving foster home.
He tells us that often he’s not working so much with the horses as with the owners, and we watch as he does so – teaching people to better understand themselves, so that they can be better with their horses.
I realized, as I watched, that my own work has something in common with Buck’s. I’m not working with horses but with writing, but I have found I have to deal with the person behind the words – not because I want to do therapy, but because I need as a teacher to help people understand themselves better, so that they can be better writers.
Watching Buck Brannaman with horses and horse people helped me understand my own job. Which is also what I teach – that if you tell your own story with passion and skill, it will resonate with me. You can see what I’m talking about at buckthefilm.com.
And then home, in the rain, to find my son hanging out here drinking beer and watching the hockey game. O Canada!
So life goes on. Okay, skies, it’s terrible that the Conservatives won a majority. But no need to cry forever. We’ll get through. A little sun tomorrow, please.

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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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