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Friday the 13th and all’s well

Blogger was down for a few days. Which is just as well, because I was busy anyway, teaching, gardening and plumbing. The plumber is practically living here – replacing various pumps and water-level alarms and more. O joy.

The other day, I checked out a website called WorldCat.org, which lists books by location – you enter your postal code, and it will tell you where to find the book you want nearby. So I asked about my own book, Finding the Jewish Shakespeare. The nearest copy is at the Ryerson library, one kilometre away. I kept going – one at the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress in Washington, at Harvard, in Kansas City, in Anchorage, at the British Library, at the Sorbonne in Paris, in Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Munich, and Jerusalem, and, the farthest, at 16,280 kms, in Australia. I think I’ll go to Australia and take it out.
216 libraries. That made me feel good.
More good news: a fat new prize for creative non-fiction has been announced, the Hilary Weston Prize. For years, I’ve watched the Giller Prize award night on television, like Cinderella in rags, surveying the glittering fiction people. But now, I may be able to watch the glittering non-fiction people – MY people. A $60,000 prize, and $5000 to four runners-up. This is big news. For so long, non-fiction was ignored, uninvited, the ugly stepsister. (I’m mixing my metaphors here…) And now we’ll be chachacha’ing at the ball.
And speaking of dancing at the ball, friend and former student Laurel Croza has won yet another prestigious award – the Ezra Jack Keats Award for most promising new children’s book writer. She flew to New York, delivered a speech at the New York Public Library, accepted her $1000 award, went with her family to dine at the trendiest restaurant in NYC, Eataly, and was even upgraded to a $5000 a night suite in her hotel. Does it get better than that? All this from one short story that came out of a True to Life class writing assignment.
Moral of this story: Do your homework. With care.
Moral of this story: Sometimes hard work, talent and perseverance actually get what they deserve.
Her note to me ended:
And then your protege swooped back to her every-day life in Markham on Wednesday afternoon. Not a bad 24 hours.”

She’s good at understatement, is Laurel.


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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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