Someone at the Y asked today, Seen any good movies lately? Not a one. Have I been anywhere except my kitchen and garden and the Y? It doesn’t feel that way. Besides, oh yes, Ottawa.
On Tuesday I spent the afternoon celebrating Ben’s third birthday with him and his family. We picked up his big brother from day camp; what joy to see them run to hug each other and set off hand in hand, one tiny for his age and one very tall. Sometimes they try to murder each other, and Ben will be one tough dude from a childhood fending off his teasing, mischievous brother. But more importantly, they adore one another. So they’re set for life.
Wednesday night was a potluck dinner with the Word Sisters, a group of fascinating, accomplished women who work in publishing – editors, publicists, agents, and one lone writer and teacher lucky enough to be included. They casually toss out hallowed names to me – Knopf, Penguin, Louise (Dennys, legendary editor), Ellen (Seligman, ditto.) We sat outside in Rosemary’s garden sheltered by her enormous trees and ate delicious offerings – “I didn’t know when I assembled this group 8 years ago,” said Marilyn, “that you were all such good cooks!” Dinah brought sangria stuffed with fruit she’d marinated in vodka for days: lethal. I brought gazpacho, made with my own cucumbers, mint, basil, and cherry tomatoes. Rosemary said it was like drinking the garden.
But mostly, this week, I have been ploughing through the rewrite of the memoir. It’s funny how that goes – either I can’t stand the thing and won’t go near it for weeks, or I am addicted to it and can’t get away. I’ve been so focused after supper, yesterday and today, I forgot both days to call my aunt, which makes me feel very guilty as I’ve been phoning her daily. A quiche I was making for my workshop on Sunday burned to a dark brown crisp. I have found another editor, someone who doesn’t know me or the story, who can read the manuscript fresh, an objective pair of eyes I will need a lot when I’m done, as I have no idea if this new draft works or not. I think it’s better, but is that wishful thinking? Is it good enough?
Today, across town to rent a car with Anna; she will have it for the weekend and then next week we go to Ottawa again. Road trip with two hyperactive young boys – hooray!
Every morning, I juggle the best and the worst. I read the newspaper and mourn the latest horrors going on in the world. And then I go into the garden to pick raspberries, cukes, tomatoes, and now beans, to water and smell and revel in the glory of it all.
And on Sunday, I get to share it all with ten writers who’ll spend the day there and get to eat burned quiche. And a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans.