Snow and snow and snow and snow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day … Sigh. We are snowed in here, more than a foot since yesterday, and it’s still coming down. Luckily, I, unlike my daughter, do not have a houseful of sons and nephews and nieces to keep busy in inclement weather. And to top it all, Anna’s plan for midday was to take some of them to Nathan Phillips Square, for the protest against the verdict just handed down in the Colten Boushie trial. Boushie, a First Nations youth, a drunk prankster, was shot dead by a farmer whose yard he had entered. The farmer was just found not guilty of murder, and many are very upset, taking this as evidence of systemic racism in Canada. So Anna went off to protest in the snow.
It is a monochrome world out there – white and dark. Very very white with some dark brown, black, green. Mostly, however, white. As usual during these conditions, I think of the pioneers in log cabins in the middle of nowhere. How did they survive the deprivation and isolation? I am feeling very shut off, here in the middle of the metropolis with a furnace, running water, a full fridge, and a million amusements at my disposal, including FIVE library books and an episode of “Call the Midwife” tonight. Who could ask for more? Besides a tiny bit of sunlight, perhaps?
On Thursday I went to the Bloor to see one of a series of lectures on the life and career of Leonard Cohen; my friend Lynn again had been given tickets. The huge theatre was jam packed at 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning. It was fascinating to hear the circumstances around the songs and then to hear the actual songs. For example, he went into Cohen’s brief, unfortunate partnership with Phil Spector, which turned his plaintive poetic folksongs into massive pop songs awash with horns and strings. Horrible.
One of Sam’s childhood friends, William Di Novi, runs this lecture series there; he spoke beforehand, and it was great to see him for the first time since he was about twelve, when the boys went in separate directions. William called me last year to ask if I could put together a six part lecture series on the Sixties in Paris – or on any other topic. Much as I’d love to – my mouth watered, seeing that packed auditorium – still, I can’t think of anything I know well enough to talk about for many hours to thousands of people. Certainly not Paris in the Sixties, since I was only there for a year. If you think of anything, let me know.
Another meeting about the reno – it looks as if I’ve got a contractor, that is, if he’s free in June when I hope we can start. It’ll be a massive project, beginning next week when John will smash through some walls to see what’s there. So it begins, along with all the dust and mess. The worst part is that I’ll have to sort and organize and get rid of a ton of stuff. Though I know I need to do it, it’ll take forever, and it’ll hurt.
But it’ll be summer. No snow. Sunshine. We’ll get there.
The library books:
Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney – a novel about a fascinating young woman and her relationships. Beautifully written, fabulous dialogue, enjoying it very much.
Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, by John McPhee, a series of essays by a master non-fiction writer about his process
Thinking about Memoir, by Abigail Thomas: a lovely writer on one of my favourite subjects
Transit, by Rachel Cusk: I have the feeling I won’t like this novel but felt I should at least try, as it’s getting such buzz
Conversations with Canadians, by Lee Maracle: Lee is speaking at our CCNFC conference, so I want to know what she is writing about.
This plus both big weekend papers, many New Yorkers stacked up and some other mags, and a stack of at least 40 books to get to if I am ever stuck on a desert island. Or snowed in.