No, NOT A BABY! Sorry for that teaser, but it gave you a thrill, didn’t it? This afternoon, the postman delivered a large box – the author’s copies of the paperback of my book. It’s got the same image on the cover as the hardcover, except at the bottom is written, in orange:
“A witty, shrewd, elegant book.”
– Tony Kushner.
JOY. And on the back, excerpts of some other good reviews, including the complete version of Kushner’s very kind rave. Sometimes those blurbs make the difference between someone picking up the book and then putting it down, and picking it up, opening it, and carrying it to the cashier. That’s the hope, anyway.
In this new edition, I’m happy that one name, Irene Blum, has been added to the list of Acknowledgements. When my old friend Irene heard in 1982 that I needed a Yiddish translator, she introduced me to her friends the Torchinskys, which began a partnership that lasted decades. Without Ben and Sarah, therefore without Irene, the book would not have existed. But when I wrote the Acknowledgements nearly 25 years later, I forgot Irene’s vital contribution. She flew from Edmonton for the book launch, and I was able, with relief, to thank her in my talk. As she was dying of cancer two years ago, at 59, I apologized again and promised that her name would appear in the paperback. And there it is.
It is a stunningly beautiful, perfect spring day, hot already. I have started to move my stuff from below to above, because tomorrow the big shift begins – the Belgians go home, I reclaim my house, Heather moves into the basement. Tonight the apartment will be cleaned, and I will spend my last night there. Thursday morning, I will wake up in my own bed, looking out at the ivy and its birds, the fading lilac, the lush greens of the garden. The light.
My mother has moved too – from a hospital ward to the Geriatric Assessment Unit, where they will provide rehab and lots of expert advice on what’s next in her long life.
But no big shift in Anna’s life yet. She can’t sleep, sometimes finds it hard to eat or even breathe, with a foot pushed into her stomach, an elbow in her lungs. Mirvish is offering discount tickets for “War Horse” this week, and I’ve offered her a ticket to this most beautiful show as a distraction. But she doesn’t have the energy. “I like to stay home when I’m not pregnant,” she said, “and now, it’s nearly impossible to get me out.” But she is walking, a lot.
And so – a new life for my book, for my mother, and very very soon – are you listening, young man? VERY SOON! – for my daughter and her son. And for me, waking up Thursday morning to a faceful of birdsong.