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The Mountaintop and Carole

You do know, don’t you, that I focus on all things good in this blog, and that sometimes things are not all that good? There’s a reason I’m still seeing my beloved shrink – because of the stuff I don’t write about. Nasty difficulties with certain people, for example, which can turn me blind with hatred and rage in a nanosecond; my worries and sleepless nights.

Right now a bug is sitting in my sore throat and trying to get into the rest of my aching body, and I’m fighting to keep it at bay.

But even when things are going wrong, my cheer is not fake. I feel blessed and can’t help but tell you so. The glass is almost always half-full – of red red wine. Or, right now, honey and lemon tea.

I had to say that because I’m about to go into raptures again, and I thought, maybe they’re sick of raptures. Maybe they want some good old-fashioned misery. I’m sure life will comply, my friends, but right now, only good things to tell.

So – “The Mountaintop,” a production I wanted very much to see at the Shaw Festival this summer, that has ended up two blocks away at the end of my street, what kind of gift is that? The great arts centre Daniels Spectrum on Dundas East is a huge local resource – who knew it could also host world-class theatre? But there it was, a stunning production of a very fine play – about Martin Luther King the night before he was murdered in Memphis, a fantasy that an angel came to his seedy motel room to comfort and accompany him. But the angel is a sassy and savvy black woman – as, in this universe, is God Herself. King does not want to die – he has too much work to do. But by the end, he is more or less resigned. There’s a montage of what’s to come for Americans of colour, ending with the miracle of Barack Obama. But we in the audience know what became of that particular dream. Of all that fine HOPE.

Well, fabulous theatre can just fill you with it, all over again. And then we walked the two blocks home.

This morning I went to the Y, not to a class, but to their Volunteer Recognition event – each year they celebrate members who contribute to the Y, and one of them, today, was our very own Carole of the Wednesday Runfit class, which she has been teaching, and I have been taking, since 1990. The other recipients were just as admirable, people who donate their skills, energy and time. As I left the Y, tiny kids were pouring in with their parents for the Saturday morning classes – swimming, gymnastics, judo, as my kids used to. How I cherish the Y, which has been in my life since I was nearly that small – 8 or 9, anyway – in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver and now Metro Central on Grosvenor Street.

And this afternoon, I had a long talk, for the first time since 1966 except for a brief encounter in the 80’s, with the man who is named Al in the memoir. It has been quite an experience for him to read about himself and our mutual friends, to encounter the force of my feelings for him back then, even to regret a few of the things he said and did. When the conversation began we both started to laugh – how wonderful that connections endure over decades and thousands of miles – he has lived almost all his adult life in the States and lives now in L.A. We had a great talk – his work and mine, his kids and happy third marriage. He told me his second marriage was a terrible mistake and I said, “Paul McCartney knows all about that.” And his third wife, like Paul’s, is named Nancy. I think in all other ways, however, he and Macca are not similar. He asked how long I’d been divorced. “Since 1990?” he exclaimed. “And you haven’t married again?” Married again?! Except for a few mostly blessedly short relationships, I’ve barely had a DATE since then. Woo hoo!

Great article in the Globe today by the razor-sharp Elizabeth Renzetti about how hard it is to make a living as an artist. The Writer’s Union of Canada estimates that writers make an average of $12, 000 a year from their work. That sounds high to me.

For example, this cheery blog, which I have kept 2135 times, it tells me when I log in. 2136, soon, for zero renumeration. Why? God – that wise black woman – knows. For you, yes. And also, very much for me. Once I write an experience or thought down, once I tell you about it, it’s out there in the universe. It lives forever.



2 Responses to “The Mountaintop and Carole”

  1. theresa says:

    A glass of (dry white) wine to you, Beth.

  2. beth says:

    And to you, Theresa – a full-bodied red.

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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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