Sunday, February 21, 2016

the Abigail Thomas Fan Club

It's a glorious day, warmish and bright; I am sitting outside right now to write - February, where are you? This morning I went for a walk on the Don Valley Trail, and on the way back, passed a mother with her two children, a daughter of about 12 and a son of about 9. "Mum! Mum! Look at this!" the boy cried, and when I turned around, he was showing her something on the ground. They were holding hands.

I was overwhelmed, for a brief moment. Once upon a time, that was me, with a 12 year old daughter and a 9 year old son. It was a terrible time in my life, newly divorced, terrified, exhausted, overwhelmed. But somehow, we got through. I visited that daughter yesterday, spent the afternoon with her and Eli's dad Thomas and the boys - those shining boys. Today, she has a special treat - a friend who works for Porter is flying her to Montreal for the day, while her sons spend the day with Thomas and her best friend Holly. "All I want to do is eat smoked meat at Schwartz's," she said, though I'm sure there will be lots of other things to do. Her appetite for life, and, yes, for smoked meat, is immense. She is a generous, capable, strong, contented woman, and her children reflect that.

We got through.

 His skunk bicycle "hemoot"

I have fallen in love with a writer - Abigail Thomas, author of the memoirs "Three Dog Life" and the newer one "What happens next and how to like it," which I have from the library. Her voice is instantly compelling, breathtakingly honest, funny, rueful. You are at her kitchen table as the ups and downs hit her. "Three Dog Life" was voted one of the best books of 2006, and yet when I went to Indigo to buy it - must own this book and the new one too - it was unavailable.  For a moment, I thought - what's the point, if a book of this calibre falls off the radar, why am I bothering to write anything at all? But I got over that, went home and ordered some of her other books from the library, will buy a bunch of them from Amazon, and was cheered to find out that "Life" may be made into a movie. So her day will come. Whether she likes it or not.

And now - as I sit here in a t-shirt marvelling at the sun - more pleasures in store on this Sunday. I will ride my bike to see the dance theatre piece Betroffenheit, which has had rave reviews around the world, and tonight, Wayson is coming with Chinese food and we'll watch the penultimate Downton.

This describes just how I feel.

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