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How to survive winter: Beth’s invaluable tip

The tip? Art! Patronize artists. Go to bookstores and buy books. Go to the theatre, film, galleries, dance. Time will fly, and the cold outside, while still there, will shrink to manageable size.

Last night, Monique, our mutual friend Jacqueline Swartz and I had dinner at Monique’s and went to see the Mark Morris choreography of Burt Bacharach songs. It was a lovely way to spend a very cold night, though I have to say that my appreciation of choreography has been forever changed by the brilliant Crystal Pite, whose “Assembly Hall” I saw recently. Last night the songs were marvellous, so familiar: I say a little prayer, Raindrops keep falling on my head, I’ll never fall in love again, Close to you — what a sublimely talented composer he was. The dancers were good. But I found the choreography to be repetitious and shallow. Mark Morris is a famous American dance master, but Crystal Pite’s work is, IMHO, far richer, deeper, better.

So there.

Today, a cold grey Saturday with not much planned beyond work, I read two great reviews of a new play with an odd title: The shadow whose prey the hunter becomes. There was a matinee at a theatre not far away, so I bought a ticket, swathed myself in warm clothes, leapt on my bike, and twenty minutes later I was watching an unforgettable piece of theatre. It was written and presented by three people with disabilities – neuro-divergent, they prefer – talking to themselves and to us about our preconceptions of disability, and how people like them have been mistreated, often appallingly, through the ages. And then, the devastating premise: when AI takes over the world, as it will, we will ALL be treated like they are now, as inferior and damaged, needing to be controlled. Prey, in fact.

Food for thought, indeed. The show took me back to my months living and working with men with disabilities at L’Arche, how it changed me. I’ve almost finished Rona Maynard’s lovely memoir Starter Dog, in which she describes how her dog Casey opened her heart to the world. For me, as written in my memoir Loose Woman, it was Jean-Luc, Patrick, Yannick, and the others, who taught me to slow down and listen, to pay attention and care and be open. I was reminded of that valuable lesson today, in an hour, at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theatre.


Go take in some art. Because, otherwise, the world looks a bit like this:



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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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