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breathing in the sweet, sweet air

Why, why, why are we on this fragile planet wasting time on a vile bag of orange-haired gas? The election of that ghastly man is one of the great tragedies of our century so far. So much to do on climate change, hunger, disease, homelessness, water shortage, disaffected young men turning to violence and religious extremism, the destructive power of new drugs – my son just lost a young friend to Fentanyl – a million important things, and busy, intelligent people, every day, are wasting their fucking time dealing with a cretinous lying idiot, his villainous sycophantic lying henchmen, and almost every single ghastly excuse for a human being in his reprehensible lying party, none of whom are worth one iota of our valuable grey matter.

Okay, thank you, that’s all for today. My rage simmers some days and explodes others. Just hearing the orange blow-hole’s voice turns my stomach. Disgusting. And millions still support him. It’s enough to make you give up on humanity, some days.

But stop. The scent of gardenia, rose, and lavender, the birds in full voice at dusk, the incredibly lush green after yesterday’s torrential downpour – so much to celebrate. My daughter correcting my not-quite-left-enough sensibilities. I texted that, to protest the forced exclusion of police in uniform by Black Lives Matter, a gay friend who used to be a Pride parade marshal is boycotting the parade on Sunday.
“A white man, I presume?” she wrote back.
“An older gay man who has suffered from discrimination and believes in tolerance and inclusion,” I wrote.
“So yes,” she replied. “A white man.”

I see her side, and his too. Marching together is vital, the fact that gay police in uniform are part of the event – how extraordinary that is in a world where it’s illegal to be gay in many countries and can even lead to death. But then, according to the people of colour I’ve heard on this issue, the very next day, after marching merrily in the parade, the police, gay or not, continue racist practices like carding.

Anna has a thing or two to teach me. On a happier note, she took her older son for his yearly check up, and the doctor thought he was in Grade one, not JK. He’s a big boy and mature for his age, our Eli.

Busy as always, three classes this week, all thrilling. I’m already recruiting for So True which isn’t till November, but you can never start too early. Two new library books, Maggie Nelson’s ground-breaking “The Argonauts,” which may have broken ground but I’m not sure I like its disjointed, aggressive style, and – of course – “Dreaming the Beatles – the love story of one band and the whole world,” by Rob Sheffield, telling me nothing I don’t know. Watched the dramatic finale of “Genius” on Wednesday night, about Einstein, a magnificent man and a lousy father – so what’s new already?

Yesterday was Brucie’s 70th birthday. He’s doing better all the time and will soon move to a rehab hospital. He has to learn to walk again, because his apartment building is not wheelchair-accessible, and he wants to go home. May those legs soon start moving again, my beloved friend. To think, only a few months ago, the two of us went on a long hike on the Cote d’Azur. What a beautiful memory.

Today Wayson kindly drove me to the liquor store – there’s serious talk of an LCBO strike, so I bought two full cases of wine and some beer, yes I did, better safe than sorry! And then he read a few new pages of the memoir, ones I thought pushed through my block. And he had quite a bit to say. You’re such a good writer, he says, and yet you refuse to confront the issue holding you back. Which has to do with telling and showing, how I prefer telling, standing at a distance and reporting, rather than showing, unpacking, painting the picture vividly with detail and dialogue – SCENE. Much harder than reporting. Once again, it’s easy to tell other people how to write, not easy to come through myself.

Wayson has a thing or two to teach me too. I know, my dear bloggees, you think I am perfection itself, but it turns out I’m riddled with flaws. Only not quite as riddled, as potholed, as holy as Swiss cheese as the current President of the United States. At least there’s that.



2 Responses to “breathing in the sweet, sweet air”

  1. theresa says:

    Oh, Beth, these squabbles make me feel so old. Yes to both sides but why not simply have a parade and ask people to celebrate and talk. Sing. Poltical thinking changes incrementally, never overnight. And yeah, it should but it won't. So let everyone march, in all colours and genders, with feathers, balloons, and lots of laughing, and even in uniform if that's the way they declare who they are. Or at least part of who they are. The world is changed one mind at a time. I confess to feeling a little like our man wondering about peaches, in 1915.

    I grow old … I grow old …
    I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

    "Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

    I do not think that they will sing to me."

    And give Maggie Nelson a chance. I thought that book was amazing, though I argued with it for many of the same reasons we feel the way we do about such things as a parade.

  2. beth says:

    Ah, one of my absolutely favourite poems, one that blew the top of my head off when we studied it in English in 1966. And yes, I think inclusion is always better than exclusion, but I guess BLM had an important point to make about racist tactics and policies. So gay Toronto police will not be allowed to march in uniform, and instead will march in the Pride parade in NYC. I agree with you – it's sad.

    And yes, I've only read 13 pages of the Nelson book so will plunge back in. Cheers to you on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Theresa.

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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.

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