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the next world war, Cuisine, Leonard

People at the Y still talking about it. An elderly woman said, “Why should the young always be subjugated to the old and right-wing?” Another said, “We’ve already seen the world descend into madness with a lunatic dictator. We don’t want that again.”

No we don’t. Here’s a superb article giving a historical perspective on where we are now. It’s worse than you thought. I spoke this morning to a friend in Washington, who said a friend of his saw a sign in an Atlanta restaurant yesterday: “Whites only.”

It’s worse than we thought.

I am in a FB battle. It’s pointless, I know, but so hard to resist – the friend of a friend posted a nauseating bit about how she was concerned about Trump but couldn’t stand Hillary’s lies and deceit so voted for Trump and thinks he will be wonderful. My fingers trembled and I tried not to reply, because it’s pointless. We will all just stand and shout at each other. I did reply, and just now posted this article. Will she read it? Of course not, just as I won’t read the latest vile diatribe from Fox News or wherever she gets her “information.”

Oh it’s ugly. Worse than anyone thought.

Okay, as I wrote yesterday, to cheer myself up, I took my son for his birthday to dinner and a play, both superb. “Cuisine and Confessions” is extraordinary – nine rubber-bodied Cirque-du-Soleil type performers do incredible feats of athleticism and daring while cooking a meal in front of our eyes, bringing audience members up to help them, and standing at a mike to tell us about their lives. One beautiful moment – a young man tells us about his father, one of the “disappeared” of Argentina, taken away, tortured and murdered when the narrator was eight months old. And then he leaps onto the long pole that spans the height of the stage and does dangerous, almost violent feats. Breath-taking. On for a few more weeks and highly recommended.

My son is a good person, and so is my daughter – caring, thoughtful, generous, loyal. How much, how very much values like that are going to matter in the dark days ahead.

Oh Leonard Cohen, you gave up the ghost at a fraught time; you were ready to go. I spent my entire 17th year obsessively reading your books of poetry and singing “Suzanne” a thousand times with my Goya guitar. What a joy to see you in concert a few years ago, with your haunting gravelly voice, singing quite a few songs on your knees, accompanied by a chorus of angels. A beautiful soul of sublime gravitas. Hallelujah to you, and thank you.

And now, to eat a lot of very good chocolate.



4 Responses to “the next world war, Cuisine, Leonard”

  1. theresa says:

    it's hard to resist those battles on social media. I'm not on Facebook and I'm glad. It's already hard to find hope. But the play sounds fabulous. A few years ago we attended an evening of 3 one-act operas in Brno, in the Czech Republic. We loved Opera Diversa's Pumpkin Demon in a Vegetarian Restaurant, in which a huge saute pan was front and centre and the chorus cooked the most delicious feast — old Reduta Theatre (where Mozart performed at age 11) filled with the smell of ginger and garlic and other spices — then brought out pieces of flatbread to the audience, topped with sauteed pumpkin. The Czechs know how to embed their entertainments with subversive meaning and this was our best memory of it.

  2. beth says:

    Mmm – your theatre experience there sounds wonderful. Last night's was fascinating too for the diversity of the performers, from Finland, Russia, and Argentina, among other places, but most trained at the circus school in Montreal. What they can do with their bodies defies belief. But we've all seen Cirque stuff. The cooking and truth-telling were the special new bits.

  3. alandmillen says:

    Re:Leonard. When I learned that he had actually passed away on Monday the 7th it dawned on me that this had been Joni Mitchell's 72nd birthday. My understanding is that it was Leonard's face that was drawn twice on the map of Canada as described in the lyrics to "A Case Of You". This little bit of poetic alignment provided some comfort on Friday as I reminisced and flipped through my tattered copy of Selected Poems 1956-68, which I bought at a shop in Nanaimo on November 8, 1968 (the date is inscribed on the inside of the back cover), which happened to be three days after the election of one Richard M. Nixon. I bought You Want It Darker at a shop near Covent Garden on Wednesday morning, believing Leonard was still alive. This was a few hours after the election of one Donald J. Trump. When I made the connection between the two purchases 48 years apart, I felt as if my 64-year-old self and my 16-year-old self were somehow acknowledging each other. It was quite a pleasant notion, the political bad taste notwithstanding. But that little bubble burst on Friday morning. This is all rather whimsical, I realise. So perhaps I am indulging myself slightly by offering these words as a comment on your blog. It's one of those phases when I once again feel like "some Joseph looking for a manger". Glad to know that Leonard's family was able to bid farewell to him back in Montreal without any fanfare or media circus. And that's about all I can think of to say at the moment. Cheers, Beth. Your blog is a ray of light in times of darkness. From "un Canadien errant".

  4. beth says:

    Alan, how wonderful to read about your young self and your older self, appreciating the genius of that fine poet, songwriter and human being. It's heartening to realize that even when we're young, we can make some good choices – as I feel, and perhaps you do too, about Macca. Leonard was one of a kind, so humble and gentle, funny and kind, yet with that magnificent talent. Though it was tragic that he died so young, still, his death reminded us of fundamental human decency at a time when we needed it most.

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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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