Brucie and I just spent two hours here in the kitchen, sitting face to face with our computers, fingers clicking, discussing among other things Paris and airbnb. I will almost certainly return end of March/beginning of April next year, as I usually do, and need to find a place.
IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO RENTS IN PARIS, please let me know. I need light and quiet and, if possible, the Latin Quarter, because I know it best and it feels like home. But really, anywhere affordable with light.
AND: at the same time, my comfortable bedroom in this beautiful house will be available for rent. So again, IF YOU KNOW A NICE QUIET PERSON COMING TO TORONTO NEXT MARCH and/or APRIL who needs a place to stay, please let me know.
Okay, business done. Brucie is reading my memoir and giving me feedback as he goes – which is strange and interesting, because it’s feedback about my life as well as my writing. My wild and crazy young life.
I have finished Marni Jackson’s “Don’t I Know You?” for which she told me the way was “paved” by my “All My Loving.” Young Beth wrote stories about her life with Paul McCartney – as boyfriend, lover, husband – in which the other Beatles figure, as does Paul’s real girlfriend of the time, the hated Jane Asher, who appears most often as a vicious alcoholic. Marni created a novel about a writer with a wry sense of humour very like Marni’s who has encounters through her life with extremely famous people, which she treats as ordinary experiences. Some of these work wonderfully – the last chapter of the book, a canoe trip in Algonquin Park with Leonard Cohen, Taylor Swift and writer Karl Ove Knausgaard – hilarious and beautiful. Some to my mind don’t work as well – Jimi Hendrix and Agnes Martin as a couple in New Mexico, Keith Richards as a surgeon in his spare time … But whether you enjoy her quirky pretext or not, Marni is a fabulous, richly imaginative writer.
Here’s what she writes about Karl Ove’s fixation with his father:
His father again. It’s dreadful, how we continue to love our parents regardless of how they treat us. How we keep returning to them, to solve the mystery of who we are. I thought of all the fathers who have turned their sons into writers, compelled to re-create the family on the page. Slowly stacking up the sentences until they resemble a human figure, like a stone inukshuk.
Marni has always been a non-fiction writer; this is her first novel and her first time on the Best Seller list. Whereas I like and appreciate non-fiction which is all I write and which is why my work is nowhere near the Best Seller list. Sigh. The protagonist argues with Karl Ove, at one point. He challenges her to write in her books “the things that matter to you … personally. The questions or regrets that won’t let you sleep.”
Her reply: “Is that what you think it takes to write something worthwhile? Just being raw and autobiographical? Exposing the people closest to you to public scrutiny?”
Well – yes, actually, though I wouldn’t put it that negative way.
Now I’m reading “The Secret Life of Trees.” Not exactly raw and autobiographical but thrilling, about how trees communicate with and protect each other. And after that, there’s an 800 page tome about the Beatles. Perhaps I will skim that one.
Bruce just sent me this with the caption The election in a nutshell. Yes indeed.