In other news … if there is, on any Canadian’s mind, any other news:
Friend Pam, whom I’ve never met but who’s been a faithful blog reader for years, just wrote about my Zoomer experience, “Seeing the picture of you in your booth reminded me of a film review I once read, which described Tilda Swinton as ‘a unicorn in a feedlot.'”
Now that’s an image I can live with. Thanks, Pam. I’m surprised by how deeply the experience affected me. I really hated it.
I came home after the Zoomer Show to good news and bad news. At my door, as I unloaded all the stuff from the show – tables, chairs, all the boxes of books coming back – was a box from Amazon which got lost in the chaos. Later I opened it, to find the most stunning book, a gift from one of my oldest and dearest friends Patsy: “Letters of Note: Correspondence deserving of a wider audience”, compiled by Shaun Usher, who has a website www.lettersofnote.com. It’s a big book of letters, famous, fascinating, moving, some reprinted as they were written, some transcribed. Patsy and I have been writing each other long letters since we met in 1970. There could not be a more appropriate gift for me from her, not could it have come at a better time.
Then I got an email from the family that owns my beloved Paris flat, where I’ve stayed 4 or 5 times – so inexpensive that it made my trips possible, so wonderfully located, quiet, flooded with sunlight, just the right size for a unicorn from Toronto, there to write in peace and to eat in company. They are selling the place and will not be renting it next year.
It hurt. Later, I watched a wonderful documentary on the artist Manet, and at one point the host walked in the Jardin des Plantes near the flat, where last year I scattered the ashes of my father, where I hoped to return each year to visit him. And I wept. I know – there may actually be another flat or two in Paris. I just mourn this familiar one where I was so very happy every year, on each visit.
And then after the Manet documentary, BBC’s “The Choir” came on with Gareth Malone, and I wept again, because my mother loved Gareth and used to call me during the show which we’d watch together. So it was an emotional evening, still sick, exhausted from the Zoomer Show, holding my delicious book from Patsy, missing my parents and Paris.
Yesterday was the third So True reading event, the topic “Working” – eight students reading beautiful pieces and then my 25 minute storytelling about life as an actress. I don’t know about my contribution, but I know the others were spectacular. The room was full this time, a warm and appreciative crowd, huge applause for Jason as host and reader and for Ginette. Christopher, Sam, Valerie, Jennie, Maggie and Carol. Bravo to everyone; I am very proud of you, especially those taking your words public for the first time. The next event is Sunday March 1, the topic Epiphany. Writers, start your computers.
This frantic period is over: two books to get out, two book launches to organize with speeches, the day-long summer writing workshop, the trip to Halifax with speeches and another launch, my own forlorn attempts at publicity and then a publicist to find and hire, the @#$# Zoomer Show, three of the reading series events, launching the terms at both universities.
I know that in comparison with the amazing Carrie Snyder, my life is comatose – she the marathon runner, prize-winning best-selling author, mother of 4. But the past months have been a lot for this unicorn, and she’s glad it’s over. Now just teaching, living – and, soon, starting the next book.
And all I can say to that is: Woo hoo!
One more thing: “Murder comes to Pemberley” was on PBS last night. Mmmm, superb – not just imagining but seeing proud, dignified Mr. Darcy as husband and father. Too bad Colin Firth was not involved, but this guy will do. Loved it. Life is full of pleasure, like this splash of hot sun I’m sitting in right now, and the gardenia plant nearby, brought in from the deck, which has five sweet creamy flowers blooming right now. Thank you, gods.