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Motown, Beckett, Book City, friendship

Busy. Busy busy busy. But I’ve found a patch of sunshine in my bedroom and have sat down to get caught up, briefly. It’s beautiful out there, and my best friend Lynn is here for a few days on a rare visit from France. But today, she has gone to visit an old friend in London, Ontario; I teach tonight and tomorrow, the roof still leaks, my cold is still in my chest tho’ fading, and there is just too much to do. But so much pleasure. Incomparable.

Lynn and I have been to two shows: I took her to the musical “Motown,” because she has always been a Motown, Marvin Gaye fan. The music is fabulous, the show itself – direction, script – a bit clunky, especially in comparison with “Jersey Boys,” Des McAnuff’s terrific production. But still, a girl who lives in Montpellier is not going to get to see a musical called “Motown” close to home. Then, from the ridiculous to the sublime or vice versa, we saw the Samuel Beckett trilogy, one hour of a brilliant actress performing 3 dense, extremely challenging and infuriatingly incomprehensible plays. The couple behind us were in the wrong theatre, I’m sure; they had no idea what was going on. Lynn and I, just a bit more. Still – we did it.

Most importantly, Lynn was there yesterday when we held the sixth So True reading event at the Black Swan. This one was the best yet, if I say so myself – a packed house of more than 60 people, eight writers, eight fantastic stories read beautifully, moving, powerful, funny – spectacular. I’m so proud to watch these writers who have the courage to take their stories directly out to the world. Bravo to you all. And then I spoke and told a story; I was more at ease than I’ve been in the past, and it worked. I’m always completely wrung out by the time the event is over, but it’s a wonderful experience. Lots of former students were there, family and friends of the readers, and some complete strangers who’ve heard about it. As I said at the beginning of my talk, looking out at the crowded room, “This is my idea of heaven – a room full of storytellers and people who want to hear stories – and a bar.”

A highlight of my life, all round. After, Lynn and I went for souvlaki nearby on the Danforth with Ken, an old friend who knew Lynn from her earliest days at L’Arche, and Lynn had to tell him about the scandal there. At the very beginning, when Jean Vanier founded this benevolent Christian community to provide a home for the handicapped, he aligned himself with Pere Thomas, a beloved priest who became a guru and spiritual counsellor to many; he is on the L’Arche constitution as the co-founder. You know what’s coming, don’t you? A few months ago – years after Thomas’s death – fourteen women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse from their time through the decades as assistants at L’Arche. All apparently were beautiful, came to him for counsel and ended up in a sexual relationship. All were adults if young; that’s the only light in this horrifying story. Ken converted to Catholicism at L’Arche; Pere Thomas was his spiritual guide. It should be hard to imagine a priest being so duplicitous, except, of course, that it isn’t.

But for some good news, our handsome young Prime Minister has just invited Elizabeth May and all the premiers and Thomas Mulcair to the climate conference in Paris. Love.

 The colours not quite there yet, but soon …

I was near the terrific Book City on the Danforth so went in because I’d heard they’d ordered my book – and there it is, in the Biography section. It’s green and pink and, to its mother at least, very beautiful. Please, my Toronto readers, if you need a gift for a reader – or for a non-reader who might learn to enjoy reading – please consider going to Book City on the Danforth and buying this book. They’ve ordered two copies of a self-published memoir by an unknown writer; I’m extremely grateful and I want to help them move it out.

Now for my nap.



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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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