It finally came, the cold. Until mid-November, our weather was unbelievable, sunny, almost hot – people out on Nov. 19 in shirtsleeves. But then on Nov. 20, it came. It’s so cosy in the kitchen when there’s white outside.
I couldn’t write here, because I was trying to finish the next draft of the memoir for a Monday deadline – yesterday – with lots else going on. And also – truthfully – I was feeling depressed and gloomy about the fate of the world, about the stupidity and blindness of my fellow human beings. I know, very wrong to judge. And yet how not to judge people who decided, through their own heedless discontent and misinformation, to smash everything and unleash chaos and horror upon the world?
Let it go. We’ll get through. Or we won’t. In any case, there’s nothing you can do. Though somehow I felt guilty, surely I could have done something to stop this terrifying train wreck. No, it seems not. Let it go.
My talk at the JCC went really well. The room was full, including some of the Yiddishists I met while researching the book decades ago. The sad thing about Yiddish is that most of the fluent speakers are very old. But they are brave and feisty and helpful. Jack Newman read excerpts of Gordin’s plays in both Yiddish and English, which was very moving. Thanks to all involved. I sold five books!
And met a second cousin for the first time – Michael Shore, whose grandmother was my grandmother’s sister, though I think for decades they had nothing to do with each other, in that family where many were estranged. I went to Montreal long ago to meet Michael’s mother; her son then lived in Vancouver but recently moved to Toronto. He is, no surprise, an actor and a teacher of acting. With my American father and British mother, I’ve never had cousins in Canada, only in the U.S. and England, so having one in my own city is new and welcome.
That night, the last of my home classes with the wonderful writers who are so dear and close, they’re like adopted cousins. Today, my last class at U of T and then, except for editing and coaching, I’m off till January 16! Even though that means no teaching income, hooray. More time for my own work.
And for my family. Saturday, I went across town. Eli had come home from school with head lice which Anna caught – so now he has a crew cut, and after treatment, she had to go to a clinic to be sure hers were gone. Thomas stayed with Ben while I took Eli for sushi, to the library and to check out the local toystore, pre Santa. I asked who his best friend was at school. “Stacey,” he said. “I’m going to marry her.” “Does she know that?” I asked. “I told her,” he said. “Does she think that’s a good idea?” “When we’re seven or eleven,” he said firmly.
I need to check her out. Will go spy on the playground. IS SHE GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY BOY?
Here’s Thomas making pumpkin pie under the watchful eye of much of the family.
On Sunday, in the new thin sheet of snow and fighting the Santa Claus parade, I went to a legion to play bingo. Yes. My dear friend Stella Walker, a hilarious comedienne, musician and painter with endless talent, kindness and craziness, was shooting a music video about bingo, wearing a dress made of bingo cards, and invited a group of her friends to play the game behind her. I’ve not played in years – if ever. It was thrilling. I won once. BINGO! I shouted. My prize was a mandela colouring book. Awesome.
Then a meeting with Stephen and Lesia about Babe in the Barn, the Christmas pageant we produce every Xmas Eve. Panic – we don’t have shepherds this year, need to find two shepherds, speaking roles. But we do have one family with a baby who are willing to sit in the straw for an hour, and a possible backup. Need to talk to the Farm about making sure more animals are in the barn for the show. Oh, it’s a complicated affair.
Sunday night, Monique came over to drink wine and watch TV with me – the Durrells in Corfu and Poldark. I had to explain who everyone was, and there are a lot of people. Much fun.
All day Monday, finishing the rewrite, sitting until my bum was numb – a poem – except for a yoga class midday, delightful, the first time I’ve done yoga in years. Much missed. Will start again. Mailed the draft late last night. Mailed another draft, with a few last minute rewrites, early this morning. Let it go. And now, out to class.
So that’s it. Here’s a bouquet a friend gave me as thanks for a favour. White as snow.