First, most importantly, I spoke to Chris today, in hospital in Nanaimo. He was not perky, but he was okay. They checked his heart; his arteries, he says, are beautifully clear, so no stent. It’s the electric impulses that make his heart beat that are wonky. On Friday he goes to Victoria by ambulance to have a pacemaker put in and then he goes home. In the meantime, a neighbour couple have been taking it in turns to sleep at his house and care for his pets. What good friends!
I conveyed to him the best wishes of the many fans he has made through my blog, from England, Sechelt, Paris, Nova Scotia, and more. What a year so far – Patsy, me, Toronto Lynn, Chris, all of us stricken, not one of us with Covid.
Spent most of today right here in this chair, which eventually will grow around and envelop me so I can never leave it again. Taught the last class of the U of T term, a wonderfully positive group, a real pleasure. Spent time before and after cutting 175 precious but expendable words from an essay I’m considering for a competition with a 3000 word maximum. Yesterday, after a mammogram that took all of ten minutes and then teaching the seniors group, I spent the rest of the day dealing with an edit of the piece that’ll go in The New Quarterly in the fall. How I love the work of fiddling with each word, with rhythm and spacing and pace, colons and semi-colons and commas. Much more fun than the actual writing, for sure. My last pass at it involved inspecting the sentence “She had just said the same things” and cutting the ‘s’ from ‘things.’ And then it was done.
Today the estate of Alice Neel in NYC gave me permission to use Alice’s portrait of my father in the essay. That will make a huge difference. The magazine has asked for photos of Dad at that time and a pic of me and him, so now I have to go through the mountain of family shots. More fun.
My most urgent task, though, is to find a present for Ben’s sixth birthday on Friday. The stores are open. I can go shopping! The most fun!