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Word on the Street in the heat

Again, I apologize for the blowing-own-horn that follows, but what I received today via email is so beautiful and means so much to my battered writer’s heart that I must share it with you. I’ve been corresponding with a writer who wants me to work as editor or coach on her next book, so I got her last memoir out of the library and loved it, found it powerful and profound. I wrote to tell her so, and she wrote back that she is reading “All My Loving.”


Sometimes I read at night if I can’t
sleep. I can usually do that without waking my partner who is a sound sleeper. But
I’ve been waking him up lately because All My Loving is so
damn funny it’s making me laugh out loud. You have drawn such a wonderful
portrait and I am so drawn to her and all her trials. I also realize that over
time I forgot the details, not just of us, but of our time, and you have
brought all of it back to mind so beautifully, with such virtuosity and detail
and intelligence. I am in awe. 

I forgot to adore myself at least as much as I adored Paul, and the portrait of your character is so hilariously potent and magnetic that I’ve now remembered how wildly potent I was too! It’s like reading a really smart love letter and the title so perfectly reflects the warmth that I’ve felt reading it. It is a gift to us on so many levels, and I am grateful.

Not as grateful, dear reader, as this author. As I wrote to her – we send our slaved-over, beloved works out into the world like defenceless children, without knowing if they will ever matter to anyone. So to receive something like this means more than I can express.

Okay, though I’d like to linger here … moving on. The weather, insane, surely record-breaking heat, broiling, brutal, like a mid-summer heatwave only it’s nearly October. And unfortunately, today was Word on the Street at Harbourfront, where there’s no shade. I heard someone lamenting the past venues for this great festival of the printed word, and I couldn’t agree more – I’ve been going for decades, since it was stretched out along Queen Street, and then in Queen’s Park where there were TREES and real grass. And now Harbourfront where it’s very crowded, all the little tents packed together, madness in the heat.

I was there first with Eli; we watched a show at the TVO marquee but mostly he wanted to run up and down the wavy wooden street over the water, so when his mother arrived, we sat in the shade and he ran and slid in the sun with a new friend. He is indefatigable and wherever he goes, he makes friends. Yesterday I took him to the Wellesley Street waterpark and he ran screaming through the water for a solid hour with his new BFF who was certainly on the autism spectrum, at one point punching the jets of water and shouting, “I hate you I hate you!” Eli just kept running and jumping and getting wetter. He’d just lost his first tooth, pulled out by his mama with dental floss, as her father did with her’s.

And then a sleepover with Glamma. He climbed into my bed at 3 a.m. and proceeded to thrash about and snore, so I got up and carried him back to the spare room. Once I appreciated having a handsome young man in my bed; not so much now.

Later today at WOTS I met up with Kirsten Fogg, who is also on the committee to produce the creative non-fiction conference next year, and we went about listening to possible candidates for our event and then hiding in shady places. Two more days of this blazing heat, apparently, and then it starts to fade, and soon we’ll be complaining about the cold. We’re Canadians.

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3 Responses to “Word on the Street in the heat”

  1. theresa says:

    What a lovely note from your friend. She's right too. You managed to get the details so perfectly in tune with the voice. Poignant and bittersweet and utterly memorable.

  2. alandmillen says:

    Hi Beth … Now I feel even better about being an early champion of All My Loving. Your author friend obviously gets it, and at a very deep level. As you convey, that must be profoundly satisfying. A friend from Toronto is visiting today. I'll see if I can work in reference to you and your work.

  3. beth says:

    Dear blogger friends Theresa and Alan, thank you for your faith in the book and the person behind the book, who sometimes loses faith in herself. Sometimes a yes from out there in the universe is a very welcome and much-needed sound.

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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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