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the sun, and Margaret Atwood

My friend Isobel wrote to point out that I’d titled the last post “anals of aging.” If you look up ‘anal,’ you’ll know what a mistake that was. Thanks for your editing eye, Isobel! Especially embarrassing for me, because I am keeping a file of absurd spelling mistakes.

As I am finally able to pour through my Abbey Road super deluxe Anniversary Edition …

2 of these groups pray on week and the vulnerable with no ability to communicate …


The weather is beautiful, a little gift for us, warm and sunny – well, relatively warm, enough to melt the snow and allow us to wear light coats and shoes, not boots. Very welcome.

On Monday night, the last class of the Ryerson terms, a terrific bunch. As usual, we had a party with food and drink, though we also worked, of course. When I left at the end of class, no one noticed, they were busy eating and drinking and talking about setting up an ongoing writing group. Now that felt like success.

Ran home to watch the Gillers but only caught the end. It’s great to catch glimpses of people I know; loved watching Anne Collins, one of Canada’s best editors and publishers, erupt into tears when her author, Ian Williams, won. And what an amazing story that guy has. It’s too bad I don’t have time to read much fiction. Maybe one day.

And then a documentary about Margaret Atwood, A word after a word after a word is power. This must be the week for docs on Canadian artistic celebrities. It shows what a focussed woman she has always been, winning a GG award with her very first book of poetry and then continuing with novels, polemics, a children’s book, more poetry, more activism, countless novels – historical fiction, dystopian fiction – an extraordinary talent.

I was shocked to realize, however, that I don’t think I have read a single of her novels straight through. To me, there was always something sour about them, at least the early ones. Reading, I felt my mouth pucker as if I was sucking lemons. Maybe it’s just a reaction to her way of speaking, the way her dry voice seems to come through her nose. But I do admire her enormously, her limitless drive and sense of humour, the spotlight she has never stopped shining on some of the world’s intractable problems.

I met her once at a party at the home of an acquaintance who was very well connected. She and her husband Graeme Gibson were there along with other famous Canadians including the then current governor general and her husband – a stellar assembly. I ended up in a circle with Peggy – if I may be so bold – and others talking about childhood, and Brownies came up. She told her Brownies story, and then I told mine.

That’s all, but it felt huge to be telling a story next to one of the world’s great storytellers. Incidentally, I was never invited to another of this man’s parties again.

Today, a big CNFC meeting and raking leaves in the sun. Tonight, the film McCabe and Mrs. Miller is on. It was shot in B.C., some actor friends are in it, and I’ve never seen it. Perhaps tonight I’ll rectify that. Can you go wrong with Julie Christie, Warren Beatty, and the mountains of British Columbia?



2 Responses to “the sun, and Margaret Atwood”

  1. alandmillen says:

    Add the music of Leonard Cohen to McCabe and Mrs. Miller … a dark, brooding film. And the weather is atrocious. Loved it.

  2. beth says:

    Alan, the music is gorgeous, as are the stars and the scenery, but the mud is overwhelming!

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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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