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one of those days, including the police

A writer friend said recently, if you posted fewer blogs, Beth, you might get more of your own writing done.

Amazing how sensible people can be when they’re not you. She’s right. So I am trying to hold back JUST A LITTLE here, because I do have lots of work to do. But now I’m behind in the blog. Here goes:

Last week I volunteered to sit at our Creative Nonfiction Collective’s table at the annual huge writers’ summit at Harbourfront. Wonderful to see and meet so many writers, and that evening, to be given a ticket to hear the marvellous Tomson Highway deliver the keynote address. His talk was hilarious, profound, moving; I hope they publish it. He talked about how little CanLit existed before 1970, and of course nothing from indigenous Canadians, and how quickly that changed. To paraphrase, “Before, people were only getting murdered in London and Paris; afterward, people were getting murdered in Moose Jaw!”

He talked about the vibrancy of the Cree language – how English is a language of the head and French of the heart, but Cree encompasses the whole body and laughter, the same message Lee Maracle gave us last month. I believe them, but still, as a person who speaks English and French but apparently is missing a good part of her body, I am sorry. Because it often feels to me as if I’m all there, but obviously not.

On Saturday night, I was awake for hours with ideas flying, kept jotting cryptic notes in the notebook by my bed. What came to me, among other things, was a new opening for the memoir; the knowledge that I had to call the police about my Little Free Library, and that it was time to sell my parents’ solid teak sheet music cabinet, which is bulky and I do not need. So with list in hand, this morning, I began.

Explanation: I have a Little Free Library outside the house, a wonderful community resource, many people a day stopping to put in a book or to take one out. But for months, I’d go by and find it completely empty – denuded. Someone had scooped out every book, including kids’ books, computer manuals, everything. And it was also happening to my neighbour Gina’s library up the street. Bit by bit we heard a rumour – it was a man who lived in the rooming house up the street. Yesterday, I called the police and left a detailed message. This afternoon, a young couple who live in the rooming house went by with their pitbull (as I was loading the music cabinet into the car of the lovely elderly couple who’d just bought it, yes, it happened that fast) and confirmed that it’s indeed a man from their building; they gave me his name and room number, told me his room and the whole landing of the house is piled high with books.

The police got in touch today and went to the house. The man was out, but sure enough, the cop said, there are books everywhere. The guy is violent and abusive, and his dogs were recently taken away by the Humane Society – not a guy we want on Sackville Street. They are going to give him an order not to go near my library and possibly get him evicted as a fire hazard. Hopefully, our libraries can go back to being the fine resources they were.

Relief!

In the middle of all that, today I had a nearly two hour computer seminar from a fantastic computer guy – if you need a nice expert who makes house calls, let me know. I am in an ongoing battle with the strange fellow who’s doing the plans for the renovation. A family member got in touch and blithely said he’s arriving tomorrow for a quick visit, let’s have dinner Wednesday, he said; I teach Wednesday. It was breath-suckingly hot and there were two monumental downpours that had me outside afterward to make sure my garden had survived.

And more. Yesterday I met Megann Willson who is running to represent this riding municipally; she came to the house to meet me and talk about what I think is needed in the city and the riding, and what she can offer. I liked her a lot. Go Megann! Today I figured out how to send a MailChimp mailing to over 300 former students but sent it out with the wrong title. And that’s not to mention what else was coming in via email – requests for writing advice, a misunderstood student, devastating news about children in cages.

On the plus side, today is Macca’s 76th birthday.

So. My neck is rigid with tension. Some days, it feels like I’m standing with my bat in front of a pitching machine, and the balls keep coming straight at me, hard. All I can do is try to whack and duck. Today, I have to say, I whacked and ducked like a champ.

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2 Responses to “one of those days, including the police”

  1. theresa says:

    I see regular posts from the little library group in Victoria, showing the beautiful little houses at various locations around the city, and many have wildflowers planted around them, benches in front…So it never occurred to me that there could be a downside to a LFL! But of course. And you made me laugh. Sort of.

  2. beth says:

    These LFL's are one of the great innovations of the 21st century, the idea that if someone constructs the library, everyone will simply continue to put books in and take them out. And that's how it has worked for years. All I have to do is keep it tidy and monitor. And, on occasion, when there's a sociopath up the street, call the police.

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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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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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