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the Moth

This is a paradise I’ve never experienced in New York – it turns out that my cousin does have the internet, so I’m connected, don’t have to go to friendly, noisy Café Noi on Second Ave. Plus he gets the NYTimes delivered during the week. I made coffee and oatmeal and got back into bed with computer and paper, thin watery sunshine filtering through the windows – could this be better? There’s a rave review for a new play from the brilliant Irish playwright Conor McPherson in the paper, and maybe I’ll call and see if there are tickets. It’ll be overkill – I’m seeing a play tonight and a matinee both Sat. and Sun. – had planned to leave Saturday night free. But “The Night Alive” sounds glorious.

But so does the African circus musical that just opened, and several Broadway shows, plus I’d planned instead to go down to the Village for a walking carolfest that happens every year … oh it’s endless, this city.

I’ve done my first stupid thing – yesterday I went for a walk across the park, which always saves my soul, and then – ulterior motive alert – I went to Harry’s Shoes on the West Side. I only discovered this huge shoe emporium a few years ago, but I’ve managed each time I come to find a pair of shoes in my difficult size (my right foot size 10, my left foot 10 1/2 with a bunion, good luck with that.) I need a pair of high black boots so tried on these ones and those ones, none quite right, at least, in my price range. But I saw a pair of shoes that I adored. He only had them in size 9 1/2 – but they fit big, he assured me, at least half a size. I loved them so much, so pretty, the leather so soft, incredibly comfortable – I’ll stretch them for you, he said, and of course they’ll stretch out by themselves, as you wear them.

Reader, I bought them. Size 9 1/2. They’ll be fine if I cut my big toe off, like Cinderella’s sisters. Remind me, please, to take a deep breath and go for a walk around the block before buying anything. I so rarely shop retail in Toronto that I go a little mad when faced with such choice.

The Moth, last night – for those who don’t know, the Moth (based on the image of moths beating against screen doors as people sit telling stories into the night) organizes storytelling events – competitive and not. Last night’s Moth was held in the Player’s Club downtown – a dignified club for actors, with old posters, programs and oil portraits of the greats on the wood-panelled walls – Edwin Booth, David Garrick, Christopher Plummer. We were there to hear five people tell us stories. A young woman told us about losing her Mormon faith, a black comedian told us about his divorce and remarriage to the same woman – the mother of his 7 children! The best was Etgar Keret, an Israeli writer and filmmaker, wryly funny about his time in the Israeli army which became a powerful story about the suicide of his best friend; he survived by writing his first story. The last speaker was Mona Simpson, a well-known novelist – and what I’d suspected proved true, writers are often not the best storytellers in person. A good story but a shy, hesitant presentation.

On the jammed subway home, I thought, I’m spoiled. In my work, I hear gripping, heartfelt stories all the time, so something like the Moth – presumably the best of the best, here in the centre of the universe – holds nothing special for me. I was happy to have seen how it works – I’ve been once before, to a competitive event which was a lot of fun. Stories are stories, no matter where they’re told. Though sitting in that room, under the eyes of great actors, was a treat.

Now, up and out – to the Frick, to visit Lola who’s home from the hospital, then to Sotheby’s to meet my brother and Emilie, then to an art dealer downtown, then to dinner, then to the theatre. Which is about a week’s worth of activity at home.



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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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