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inspiring Marni Jackson

Got a book out of the library yesterday which I’m looking forward to reading: Marni Jackson’s “Do I Know You?” It has had lots of publicity and good reviews, which is wonderful; Marni is a friend and neighbour and a very funny, talented, widely-published writer. But I have a special reason for interest in this book. When I read a review of it, a book about a woman who through her life intersects casually with famous heroes of hers like John Updike and Meryl Streep – she goes canoeing with Leonard Cohen – something stirred. Marni came to the book launch of “All My Loving” and emailed me after how much she enjoyed my book – about a young woman who has various kinds of intense imaginary relationships, described in detail, with her Beatle.

Here was Marni’s book, with a similar theme, two years after mine. Was it possible, I thought, there’s a connection? I wrote to congratulate her on her smash hit and said,”I can only wish my own small book about fantasy bonds with famous people had the heft and draw of yours. Brava.”

She replied, “Yes, you paved the way with your book!” She pointed out her book is not about fantasies of love but how “stars invade our psyches even when we don’t give a hoot about them.”

I’m thrilled if my book in any sense “paved the way” for such a terrific writer, particularly because it was my 14-year old self who wrote the stories that inspired her. “All My Loving,” in the end, is about how writers, even very young ones, create fantasies that can save their lives. I have a feeling Marni understands. Now I can read her and find out.

It’s Thanksgiving, and it’s definitely fall – though the days are hot and beautiful, the nights have turned cold. I’m starting to close windows, and tonight will have to bring the houseplants in from the deck, and then put them out again tomorrow morning. The slide to the cold time has truly begun.

My daughter is cooking her usual ginormous meal for her partner’s family today. We are celebrating here on Wednesday, when we can toast not only Thanksgiving but the arrival of my very dear friend Lynn, from Provence via Montreal, to stay for a week, and the 32nd birthday of my giraffey son Sam, who I hope is enjoying his new job at Harry’s, which opened on Thursday. He has been too busy to GET IN TOUCH WITH HIS MOTHER and let her know. But I’ll find out soon.

Yesterday, heartbreak and celebration – I went to visit a dear friend who has ALS and is the bravest woman I know. Then to a Thanksgiving dinner on the Common, a shared green space behind a row of houses nearby, with tables set up outside, all of us sitting in the sun under huge trees reconnecting with neighbours and watching the next generation, the kids who grew up nearby and are the same age as mine, and their kids, the grandchildren. A wonderful event produced by Gretchen and Jack. Thanks to them.

And then – usually I go nowhere but yesterday was non-stop – to a dinner party, again very close by, at a spectacular mansion on Carlton Street built in 1882, so five years older than my house and utterly amazing. A great gathering, including a reunion with a woman who took my class many years ago.

And now a quiet Sunday to prepare for busyness next week. My fingers work, my legs work. Never before have I been so grateful for the most fundamental of gifts.

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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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