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one of my favourite words: bookish

My friends, I am making a serious effort not to accumulate any more possessions, particularly books. As God is my witness – IS God my witness? – I am trying. Yet today, I was walking innocently along Gerrard Street toward home when kids waved a sign in my face: “GIANT BOOK GIVE AWAY.” “There are thousands!” they cried. “Go on in!”

I swear that this is true. I’d seen the book giveaway when it started a few days before and assumed it was for my poorer neighbours. Now I thought, well, what can be the harm, they’ve taken all the good books, I’ll just stay a sec.

Half an hour later, I staggered out. Under the limit, which was 25 books, but still, loaded down, some to give away to students, and a few books – hardcovers! – I’d wanted myself. “Stet,” by Diana Athill, about her career as an editor. “The Paris Wife,” about Hemingway and his first wife Hadley living in the Latin Quarter, just down the street from my own Paris flat. “The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund de Waal, a classic memoir I’d taken from the library but am thrilled to own. And “Favorite Garden Tips” by Marjorie Nichol, among many others. How could I resist? And now to find time to read them, along with the newspapers and the “New Yorker” and all the other books stacked up everywhere. Oh for a desert isle.

When I was assaulted with free books, I was on my way back from across town, my weekly visit with the delicious Eli. I was hungry to hug and squeeze and smell and watch him, and had my wish, for this time he was awake nearly my whole visit. He was asleep in his stroller when Anna and I met at a pretty café on Sorauren, so we had lunch mostly in peace until he woke and we took turns holding him. But then he was hungry, even though he’d eaten before leaving home, and we had to hustle back. I gave him a bottle of pumped breast milk and then we played bouncy; he’s very strong, his legs and neck amazingly sturdy considering that he’s only 3 1/2 weeks old. Is that possible? Surely he’s been part of our lives for much longer than that.

And his mother, so very beautiful she takes my breath away. So confident and loving. You are the best mother, I told her today, in the history of the world. This is entirely objective. I absolutely think it’s true.

We are having a heavenly spring, not too hot yet. And all the anxiety-producing matters in my own small life have settled down for now, she said, touching wood. Baby could not be better, and my mother is reluctantly settling into a great new life. The roofer spent days fixing the roof and now I can sleep in my own bed, without bucket. The front steps are newly painted, and though my toes are still purple, my ankle is much better, and I have moved things around in the hall, so if I tumble down the stairs again, I’ll have more room and a little mat at the bottom to land on. Both classes are blooming into honesty and craft. I received a call informing me that a polyp that had been removed was benign. My bank manager Dave’s team won the competition, though the other team did too – it was a tie, but Dave was the star. Riverdale Farm is saved, for now. Luminato, the wonderful arts festival, is blazing through the city, and in some kind of record-breaking feat, this year I may manage to catch not a single bit of it.

I’m working on essays.  I love essays – so manageable. One big disappointment – I’ve only just realized that Monday is Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday. I should have written something to be published or aired that day, but was too disorganized. Paul, I’ll be ready for the 75th. Friends just came back from the States with a present for me – a special edition of “Time”, all about my Beatle: “The legend rocks on at 70.” Pictures and stories. Be still my beating heart.

If only I do not think about politics – an article in this week’s “New Yorker,” about a vicious Southern pastor from the far right of the Tea Party, dedicated to defeating Obama, and he just may succeed; the sound of Harper’s vile voice on the radio; the news from Syria, from Greece. And then the news that the Ontario Government has enshrined the rights of transgendered people in our constitution. A tiny justice. We’ll take it.



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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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