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Idea of North

Record-breaking heat – 34 feeling like 43! 43 degrees – that’s 109 in our old world. And my A.C. has decided not to work. No idea why, but this, dear machine, is not a good day to crap out. So I’m huddled in the living room with the fan and a glass of cold white wine. Could be worse. (The liquor store has no more good rosé. Imagine!)

I do have a U of T event tonight, but I just cannot cycle across the city in 43 degrees, full sun all the way, plus I am just not up for it. Mon dieu, BK not up for free food and wine and meeting with colleagues – something must be wrong. Well – I went to my Y class today, my legs hurt, it’s too hot. For once, I will go to the Cabbagetown Short Film Festival, run by my friend Gina, instead of a work event. I’m allowed – have not missed one in the 9 years I’ve been working there.

Went yesterday with Margaret to the AGO to see “Idea of North,” an exhibition of Lawren Harris paintings curated by Steve Martin. There is something annoyingly Canadian about this – that an American movie star discovers one of our great painters and suddenly we all do too. Except that we all knew how wonderful Lawren Harris was – his beautiful paintings of Toronto and then the north. It’s interesting that he moved directly from houses to mountains. It all gets a bit religious later, and then weird and abstract, but still, his work is glorious.

I am reading Ian Brown’s “Sixty” from the library. I admire his writing, his moving book about his handicapped son and long heartfelt essays in the Globe. But I have to say I dislike this book and am not going to finish it. He writes about how he has not achieved success and is jealous of others, while detailing the many successes of his rich and interesting life. He is trying to be Karl Ove Knausgaard, writing with disarming honesty about body functions and every single depressing and intimate detail of his aging body and mind. But it’s not charming, somehow, the way Knausgaard does it, it’s just whiney, self-pitying and annoying. A big misstep for a very good writer, I think. 
Right now an Idea of North sounds like a good idea – a blast of cold air would be a big help. But then, it’ll come soon enough, and we’ll all be pining for heat. O Canada.

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2 Responses to “Idea of North”

  1. theresa says:

    agree about the Brown. It should be better. The sense of entitlement is off-putting.

  2. beth says:

    Another friend has said the same thing. I'm glad to have support – I was beginning to wonder if I was merely crabby, because the reviews have been glowing – his "warmth, honesty and charm" etc. Proof, perhaps, of the small world of Canadian writing – perhaps everyone knows him and I'm sure he's a really nice guy.

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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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