Wednesday, June 17, 2015

today's males: Karl Ove, Macca, Stickers

Yesterday, Eli and his mother came to visit. She asked him at one point what he thought we should call his baby brother. He considered thoughtfully.
"Stickers?" he said. Good idea, I said.
"Or Glamma?"
Another good idea, I said, except that it'd get confusing when someone called Glamma! and he and I both turned around.
"Maybe Eli?" he said.

I'm on call. The baby is not due for four more weeks, but he's huge, and his mother is more than ready for him to make his appearance. "OUT!" she tells him. But maybe he - our new baby Stickers - sleeping in his safe, dark world, is not listening.

Tomorrow is an important day: Macca, yes, our very own PMc, turns 73. Almost ten years after his famous song about growing old, and the man is still a dynamo. Friend Juliet sent me a review of his Paris concert a few days ago: "Paul McCartney enflamme le Stade de France." To think, in January 1964 the Beatles played in Paris for weeks and no one paid much attention.

I've just had to skim the rest of Karl Ove Knausgaard's "Dancing in the Dark," book four of his "My Struggle" series about every moment of his life, because I have to take it back to the library today. It's way too long, unbelievably dense with detail, and yet is mesmerizing because he's such a good writer and so very honest about his foibles, mistakes, joys and wretchedness. He's 18 in this book and he captures so well the confusion of the virgin boy struggling to become a man, his love of music, his premature ejaculations and incessant fantasies about girls. Here's a tiny excerpt:
Pg. 212. 
Outside it was dark, autumn was wrapping its hand around the world, and I loved it. The darkness, the rain, the sudden cracks in the past that opened when the smell of damp grass and soil rose up at me from a ditch somewhere or when car headlights illuminated a house, all somehow caught and enhanced by the music in the Walkman I always carried with me. I listened to This Mortal Coil and thought about when we used to play in the dark at Tybakken, a feeling of happiness grew in me, but not a happiness of the bright weightless carefree kind, this happiness was rooted in something else, and when it met the melancholic beauty of the music and the world that was dying around me, it was like sorrow, beautiful sorrow, romantic sorrow, beauty and pain in one impossible mix, and from there sprang a wild longing to live more. To leave this, to find life where it was really lived, in the streets of cities, beneath skyscrapers, at glittering parties with beautiful people in unfamiliar apartments. To find the one great love and all the restlessness that involved, and then the acceptance, the relief, the ecstasy.
         Discard her, find a new one, discard her. Rise and be ruthless, a seducer of women, a man they all wanted but none could have. I put the music magazines in a heap on the bottom of my bookshelves and went downstairs. Mum was sitting and talking on the telephone in the clothes room, the door was open, she smiled at me. I stood still for a few seconds to hear who she was talking to.

         One of her sisters.

Vivid and unforgettable, a born writer. Highly recommended. Even if you skim. In fact, you probably should. 

And finally - a word about Harper's nefarious Bill C-24, which, among many other vile things, has now classified me as a second-class citizen. I have lived in Canada since I was two months old, but because I was born in the U.S., I can be stripped of my Canadian citizenship at any time, at the whim of any political official. Disgusting. Please God, let us be rid of this horrible man and his appalling team.

But - it's a stunning day, warm and mild; the roses are blooming, the veg garden too, and I'm off to Ryerson tonight, not in a ferocious blast of rain as last week, but in the bright sun. And ... I'm still 64. Will you still feed me, will you still need me? I think so.


  1. I haven't read "My Struggle" yet -- maybe because I know it's so long and will occupy so much time. But on the other hand, I can see that there are times when that's exactly the right thing. Winter nights, wine at hand, an extra quilt...Lovely to think of a baby on the immediate horizon, too! We expect a second grandbaby in October, a long way off yet.

  2. Theresa, how wonderful that soon we will both have our grandmotherly arms full. And ... I do seriously recommend skimming these very long books, except that they're so good. So yes - winter. Hibernate with Karl Ove.