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“The War of Art”

Happy 146th Birthday to my dear country. Or, as someone posted on Facebook, “Love my country. Hate its leaders.”

I’m on the deck, of course, with a glass of rosé, still recovering from this bug, my neck still a bit sore, my legs atrophying from lack of use. I’ve spoken aloud to almost no one for days, except a few phone-calls to or from friends and family. And except for Nicole, Anna’s new housemate, who came over for two hours today; she comes regularly to help me put the stuff I brought back from Ottawa in order. Today, we dove into a pile of letters; I handed them to her, saying, “1957. 1964. 1972,” and she put them into the right folder. One pile was all the cards my mother was given in 1950 after my birth, and in 1954, after my brother’s. All my report cards, and hers too, from the 30’s. Here’s one of mine, December 1966: “Beth is doing a thoroughly commendable job. She could probably do considerably better if she were not reluctant to be outstanding. Where did she pick up this touch of the ‘Mucker Pose’?”

I Googled “Mucker Pose.” Pretending to be less than you are. Interesting.

I’ve been alone but not alone, editing, re-reading. Days of silence, peace and work – a gift. Got a book called “The War of Art” out of the library, an aggressive tome on defeating “Resistance.” It’s a kick in the pants for those who still face resistance to their creative work. I did, for many years. But I do not now. The problem these last days has been the opposite – to pry my slug body from the chair and do something else.

The roses have fluttered to oblivion but the purple Jackmani clematis are out in their place. There was an article in the “Star” today on “staycations,” people who don’t go to a cottage but stay in the city instead. Lying here, relishing the quiet, the lush garden, the patting of my fingers on the keys, the clink of ice in my wineglass, wind in the trees – who would be anywhere else? But in downtown Toronto, in the wonderful if ill-led country of Canada, on July 1 2013.

This weekend, my daughter is playing host to her friends the Stanfields, a rock band from Nova Scotia who always stay with her when in Toronto – five hairy guys, crashing all over her small place, one in a tent in the backyard. “Watch five tough guys turn into clucking hens,” one of them told her, as they confronted Eli. The heading on her Facebook pages is a command: “You are the result of 3.8 billion years of evolutionary success. Act like it.”

Below is what my son just posted on Facebook; he doesn’t know it, but his post is my Canada Day present. It is worth it, to have kids. BATL is “Backyard Axe Throwing League.” You should know that. One of his friends replied to this post, “Listen to you, ya big grown up you.” 

And another,So glad to see such nice things happening to such a nice guy!” ME TOO. 
my first management position, a great new apartment, BATL on Sundays, great friends all around….Im ecstatic. Hark!? Elijahs sick? so i clock my first walk to Anna Dobies place at under six minutes. I know my life has changed, when I call to say,”Anna, I’m around the corner, I’ll be there soon ” and almost instantly, Eli’s in the tub splashing me, fighting a fever, while I throw a ball at him and we laugh our asses off…..Anna was on day four of dealing with him. she got a much deserved break.
My first management position,a great new apartment, BATL on Sundays, great friends all around…a chance to help my sister, while she moulds this fantastic young man.
Priorities can change in as little as six minutes…clocked…i know this now.

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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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