Huge moments of pleasure on a cold and snowy day: this morning, looking out at the all-white landscape, and there, an impossibly scarlet cardinal and his pretty brown and red wife, pecking at my feeder. Later, talking with my Vancouver friend Nettie Wild, staying here for the weekend, whose film Koneline for some incomprehensible and unjust reason did not win Best Documentary at the Canadian Film Awards on Sunday night, but who was there and had stories to tell before flying home. And cheesy though some of it may have been, as I watched the awards on TV, still, the Canadian diversity celebrated on that stage was impressive – black actors, Asian actors, First Nation actors, Quebecois filmmakers speaking French, Christopher Plummer who is as old as time and still magnificent and very funny … Rick Mercer talked about the phenomenon of Canadian humour. “It’s one of our greatest exports,” he said, “between canola and asbestos.”
Tonight, a great class at Ryerson, coming home ready to snack on the superb goat cheddar by Black River Cheese, from Maddoc, Ontario, I’ve recently discovered and had taken out of the fridge, ready for my palate. To discover that Carol, my tenant and friend, had made turkey-vegetable soup and left a note for me to help myself. A bowl of soup, a glass of wine, a large slice of sourdough bread and cheese, and a beautiful, hopeful op-ed by Timothy Egan in the NYT, seeing light in our dark time, while the snow glistens outside – all I can say is yes. Yes and yes and yes.
On Sunday, I went to the Toronto Reference Library, their fantastic program of writers being interviewed, free tickets, to hear the Israeli writer Etgar Keret.
I very rarely look at a man and say, Please come home with me. But I said that to Mr. Keret. Unfortunately, surrounded by his admirers, he didn’t hear me, and in any case, he’s happily married. Aren’t they all. It was a fantastic interview, funny and wise. He told us he is the child of Holocaust survivors and spent his childhood making sure he never caused any pain to his mother, who’d had too much pain in her life already. So, he made clear, his devilish side, adventures, rebellions, all had to be carried out on paper. I’ve heard many reasons for becoming a writer, but that’s one of the most interesting. He told us his wife asked him once why there are so many unfaithful men in his stories. He told her, would you prefer me not to write about it and actually BE unfaithful? He said that though he adores his wife, of course he meets women and fantasizes, and then immediately goes and writes a story, and that’s that.
What a guy.
I’ve ordered his new memoir, Seven Good Years, from the library, and look forward to reading it when I get back from France. OMG, should not have brought that up. Panic. I have to get ready, and there is too much to do.