Reporting in from paradise: Birch Island in Muskoka. Ruth and I have settled into a gruelling regime of reading by the lake, swimming, preparing simple, delicious meals and eating a great deal, drinking also, and then watching terrific TV at night. It’s a tough life but someone’s … etc.
We have a companion – Ruth’s grand-dog Coco, a beagle with a very busy nose, also enduring this difficult life.
But the greatest treat of all is listening to Ruth read Loose Woman. She laughs and laughs, yesterday, putting down the book and wiping her eyes with laughter. Nothing could give me greater pleasure (except of course world peace, a cure for cancer, and the total disappearance of the orange blowhole). And then she asks questions – what happened to this character? And she reminisces about her own trips to France, her own young love life … I’m sitting beside her, near the lake, as she delves into my memoir. It’s a huge privilege. This feels like the first time I’ve actually been able to process the fact that the book exists in the world. It has finally been born.
Today, after swimming and reading all day, we kayaked around the island. It’s not as tranquil as it was before – it’s Saturday and the weekend people are here, zapping back and forth on loud machines. Imagine, you come to one of the most tranquil places on earth, and you spend your time roaring crazily across the water. But it’s still heaven. How lucky are we Canucks, to have these incredibly beautiful retreats of water and forest not far from our cities. So many shades of green. The smell of pine. Many creatures, including a heron stalking the water close by, the haunting loons, and apparently a beaver too.
I spent the morning, however, working – sending out emails to friends and colleagues about the book and its launch. And what lovely replies I’ve been receiving, words of support and encouragement, truly heartening for a person as insecure – as now you know – as I.
Right now, we’re having aperitif – rosé and smoked mussels on the deck, with the lapping of waves and the occasional loud marine vessel going by. Tonight, we’ll watch more episodes of Unbelievable, a true life murder mystery. And maybe go look at the sunset. Like yesterday’s.