Wednesday, January 18, 2023

geeking out over documentaries, and a poem from a friend

Nerd excitement here: OMG! I can't wait. There's a documentary called Turn Every Page: the adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, about the relationship between the fantastic historian Caro and the best editor of his generation, Gottlieb. It's about two brilliant men fighting over semi-colons and commas. Could anything be more delicious and compelling? I must see it this weekend!

Friday, though, the plan is to see the new Bill Nighy film, Living, with Ken. I'd follow Bill Nighy anywhere. And tomorrow, getting the boys after school and taking them to their swimming lessons; their mother is at work.

It's gloomy and mild again; I rode my bike to the Y, where I was wheezing and coughing, but at least there. I definitely had a bad version of this thing. But more excitement: both U of T classes are launched. Monday night, the first level class, full again with a waiting list, one student in Dublin and another in - yes! - Bali. It was 8 a.m. in Bali, and there she was. Tuesday night, seven writers who've taken my class before coming back for more punishment. 

How I love my work. My daughter who listened to the audiobook of Harry's memoir Spare, which she loved, wonders if I'll get even more students because the entire planet is absorbed in a memoir. But I told her, the classes were already full. Still, it's amazing; apparently his book is the fastest selling of all time. 

Like with Justin T.; we watched these young men grow up and feel invested in them, somehow. At least I do.

Good news today: I want to use nine of the essays I wrote and performed for the CBC in the nineties in my new essay compilation, but there was concern I'd not be able to, that they own copyright. It has taken a month to find out: yes, they do own copyright, but they've arranged to allow me to use them. Thank you, gods that be and CBC rights department.

Back to the drawing board.

I watched a repetitive but still interesting doc on Leonard Cohen and his famous song Hallelujah on Monday, and one last night on Zora Neale Hurston, a powerful writer ahead of her time. More documentaries, give us more! "I'm seventy," growled Cohen at one point, "which is the foothills of old age." I don't have much time to finish these songs, he went on. And write them he did, putting out his last album a month before he died. Inspiring. 

I am in the foothills, Leonard, and must get busy.

My dear friend Nick Rice is also in the foothills. Nick and I were actors together, and ever since, for some reason, we call each other Nickynicknick and Bethy Beth. He's a blog reader who sends me letters and sometimes poems, always connected to Beatle songs, and last month, when I was really sick, I received this. 

Among life's great blessings: work we love, documentaries, and dear creative friends.


  1. Glad to hear you're on the mend. Sounds like it has been a rough passage of late. I saw "Hallelujah" and loved it. I was completely caught off guard by the image of from Jack Layton's funeral, which triggered a tear. Your friend's poem is wonderful. Alan in Zurich.

    1. Good to hear from you, Alan. Thanks for checking in!