We’re having summer now, in mid-September – hot hot every day, stunning. The roses have decided it’s July and are out again in full glory, and so is the fall-blooming clematis, like a swath of white stars climbing up my neighbour’s giant pine tree.
Other people are out there busily having lives, especially at TIFF, where Jean-Marc and Richard have undoubtedly seen every soon-to-be-Oscar-nominated film, several a day. The theatre season is revving up, music, art, concerts, even TV. But for this writer, the world is this chair by the back door, the frozen bum on the seat, finishing this opus. Yes, it is nearly finished, at least, I think so. I’ve written to several friends who might help open doors to publishers and/or an agent. I’m going over and over now, taking out every single word that doesn’t belong. Best of all, my home class started last night – wonderful to see those dear writers again – and at the end of class, I read them the first few pages of the last rewrite. They have followed this journey from the start, have heard some of the other beginnings – how many have their been? A dozen, anyway – and so when they said they thought it worked well, that it was much better and ready to go, it was a tremendous relief, a gift. I felt it, though, before they said so. I know it’s more solid than it has ever been. Whether that’s enough for my “nobody memoir” to interest a publisher, however, in this age of mass confusion in the publishing world, who knows?
In any case, I am hoping to have it finished and out there by the end of the weekend, because on Monday, my Ryerson term begins with a full class, on Wednesday it’s the U of T event welcoming instructors, on Sunday it’s Word on the Street, and the following week the U of T term begins and the home class continues. I have to tend to the rest of my life. My clothes are in a giant pile in the bedroom, the fridge is nearly empty, the garden is parched, my body is falling apart. Time to put this squalling, demanding baby to bed.
The English conversation group continues with my new friends Nurun, Foyzun, Razia, Delwara, Roshnaza, Rokeya, Moymun, Jesmin, and Neghisti. Our topic this week was things to do in Toronto, and they spoke with great animation about the swim just for women at the Regent Park pool. Twice a week they pull down the blinds so the glass walls of the pool are covered and women can swim in whatever they want. I talked about swimming at Hanlan’s Point wearing nothing at all, but I’m not sure they understood, I think that was just too far from their experience. I’ve been to that women-only swim and many wear t-shirts and leggings, even with only females. However. They’re there, that’s what matters, and nine of them or so are at our conversation group, chatting, more or less, in English. It’s wonderful.
Sam Bee had an extremely moving segment on Wednesday, with the founder of an organization called “Life after Hate,” which helps white supremacists overcome their rage and find peace. Magnificent. He said Obama gave them a big grant and Trump immediately rescinded it, of course, but they are crowd-funding. The segment pointed out with statistics how very much more violence in the States comes from white supremacists, not Muslims. But you wouldn’t know it from the media. Sam Bee is a lifeline, fearless and full of heart. I adore her.
This is my life, perfectly captured by Roz Chast in this week’s New Yorker: