Sometimes, in the course of preparing for another So True reading event, I wonder why I’m doing this. It’s a lot of time and work – we’ve done it 11 times, and each time, it’s at least 8 essays to find and edit, some extensively, 8 readers to coach and prepare, then the event itself, sitting there like mama bird nervously watching fledglings take flight – and then I have to stand on stage and do something myself, talk and read and wrap it all up. I feel it as a huge responsibility and weight.
But today – once again, for the 11th time, when I’m actually sitting in the audience watching one writer after another read fantastic, powerful, moving stories, and then standing there myself to speak directly to that long dark warm room – well, it’s wonderful and I wouldn’t stop doing it for anything. It’s fabulous. One writer has already emailed, Thank you for this wonderful experience. It was a privilege to read in public with such wonderful story tellers. I learned so much and left inspired. I’m grateful.
And so am I. This time, I told them with our world as dark as it is now, what we were doing there – telling the truth, bearing witness, and especially listening, listening hard to other people – matters more than ever. That I wished I could bottle the kindness, empathy, and honesty in that room and send it south to the giant orange blowhole. We just might save the world.
So yes, one proud mama tonight. Tired, though. And disappointed – lots of friends, though often invited, do not come. I guess they imagine it’s a bunch of whining people feeling sorry for themselves, instead of a series of the most moving, funny, uplifting, human stories. Just received another email, from a woman whom I don’t know: What an incredible afternoon ! I’m hooked and have November 5th in ink in my calendar. You and the other readers and writers have truly inspired me.
Yesterday, I spent much of the day riding my new bike, Marilyn, around town in the soft sun. I’m crazy about her – so comfortable, her handlebars so high, I feel like a little kid with his first BMX. Here she is at the Y today. Sea foam blue, Norco named her colour. Not sure I’ve ever seen sea foam that colour, but who cares?
Have you ever seen a bike so beautiful? I think not.
I confess that apart from my new bike, So True, and my classes, this was not a good week. I was confronted with the task of rewriting the first 50 pages of my memoir, and I failed miserably, doing everything possible to avoid the work, including, at one point, sitting at my desk with a tooth pick in my hand, cleaning gunk from the edges of my computer keys. That took a good 20 minutes. Now my keys are clean and the new pages are not there. I have the self-discipline of a toddler. However. It has to be done and I will do it. At some point. Soon.
As Eli might say, I DON WANNA.
But I will.
At some point.
Read an interesting book – “The Blue Touch Paper,” a memoir by playwright David Hare. Lots of gossip in a restrained British way. But in the end, brilliant as he is, he had an affair and left his wife when she had five month old twins and an older child. Phooey, is what I say to that. Now reading Etgar Keret, “The Seven Good Years.” Etgar’s wife, according to his writing, has his number; he won’t be going anywhere. He is a very funny writer.
Bravo to the So True team today. What a joy to hear you, such a diverse group in ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, approaches to the work. Spectacular. And now, Sunday night TV for me. Tomorrow morning, I will go to my desk once more and try to ignore the toothpick.