Giving thanks for the breath in my lungs and for so much else, on this mild, gloomy Boxing Day. Anna is feeling better and has opened her presents. I just made lunch – hot turkey sandwiches – for old friend Kathleen, nicknamed Fla, my first roommate when I moved out of home to an apartment in Ottawa at 18. She lives in Montreal, and we see each other rarely.
Then I made turkey soup while listening to CBC 1 play Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” one of my favourite pieces of music, just magnificent – and it was the National Youth Orchestra of Canada too. He builds such tension, such strident power and darkness, and then the Juliet music shines through – how could a forty-something Russian capture the lightness of a young girl so perfectly? That last note – Juliet’s high note of hope, held forever – goosebumps.
And now Shostakovich, something sweet, unlike what I know as his music. Thank you, CBC 1.
Last night, after the family left, laden down with gifts and leftovers and Anna’s pile of presents, I did more cleaning up and then turned on the Call the Midwife Xmas special, set this time in the Outer Hebrides. This is a show brimming with heart, just beautiful; I adore it.
Wept – not just for the babies, for the loveliness of the show – but for the world, for the fact that somehow, despite the horror, the doom-laden forecasts, we have no choice but to go on. To love one another, celebrate one another, do our best to be open and caring and generous and kind.
Speaking of kind, a student wrote, on Xmas Day: I took your class at Ryerson a couple of years ago and attended your ‘writing in the garden’ workshop last summer, both experiences I hold close to my heart. Wanted to share with you that a piece I wrote was published in the Globe yesterday. I’m very proud, and wanted to say thank you for teaching me much of what I know about writing a personal essay. “No beautiful sentences” is something I try to remember!