A moment of bliss this morning - yours truly, weeping under the palm trees. The weather has turned sunny and hot with a bit of cloud - perfect. I went for a walk/jogette on the beach - stopping, as always, to hunt for a few shells - then for a swim - my morning routine in paradise. And then sat by the water reading in the latest "New Yorker" an article by Daniel Mendelsohn about the influence on him in his youth of the Greek novels of Mary Renault. He wrote to her, and she wrote back; they corresponded for decades.
The story is about his coming-to-terms with his homosexuality, which her novels helped him name and accept. Long after her death, a friend of hers wrote to him, and now new friendships have developed.
It made me cry not just because it's a haunting memoir, beautifully written, but because I had just watched on YouTube a long and recent David Frost interview with Paul McCartney, one of the heroes of my own youth. I'd marvelled once again that the man I chose in February 1964 is in fact such a nice guy - incredibly talented and hard-working, but also honest and open, with a sense of humour. Paul didn't influence me as a writer, as Renault did Mendelsohn, but as a girl, a woman, a person. He taught me how much I could love, and how faithfully. He taught me what music can mean.
Now to write that down. Again. Trying, again, to write that story down.
Several other notes from the deep south: yesterday I bought "Time" magazine for the first time in many years, because they chose Obama as their "Person of the Year." A remarkably fair article inside, a genuinely respectful and optimistic analysis of his past and possible future. And the other night, listening to National Public Radio, imagine my surprise on hearing the opening music of Jian Ghomeshi's show at 7. Yes, "Q" is on NPR, just as Jian tells us it is - so I can listen to my Toronto neighbour down here, as pelicans sail past the window.
I'm recuperating from these last months of stress and grief. It's wonderful to be alone in the quiet, though of course I'm not - I have newspapers, books, Daniel Mendelsohn and Jon Stewart to keep me company, not to mention email, Skype and Facebook. (Did you see Jon last night on gun control? Incredibly forceful. I love you, Jon.) Just Skyped with Chris, back from Africa. Watched Fellini's "Juliet of the Spirits" the other night, tender and moving. I'm eating Florida food - tangelos and giant red grapefruit and herring in cream sauce. Writing my speech for Mum's memorial next week.
And beginning, at last, to get back to my own work.