Wednesday, June 21, 2023

new website up

All right, Little Miss Impatient - all things come to pass. My new website is up, I think, or nearly. Check it out. Exciting. Lots more me, what more could you possibly ask for? 

And the final re-copyedited draft went off to the publisher. 

And the cancellation of my U of T course I'll look on as - more writing time! Hooray! 

The air is so perfumed, so sweet, it's glorious, even with the smell from the sewer work. So all's well. More or less. 


My course at the U of T summer school, along with several others, was just cancelled for low enrolment. Our boss thinks students are reluctant to return to in-person classes. But also, I think there's an explosion of online writing courses and seminars and books and podcasts and Substack newsletters about writing ... Every writer and her brother is an expert in how to write and get published, a huge cottage industry. Why venture out to receive the expert guidance of yours truly when information is flooding in? 

Not a great sign for those of us who depend on teaching income.

My website launch has also been delayed, an issue with back issues of the blog that needs to be fixed. 

And the book is delayed because we are checking copyediting issues. 

I hate being stuck like this; I like things to be orderly and done. LISTS. But life is not like that. 

The city is doing something to the sewers in the street outside, there's noise and fuss and we can't use the water today. I'm going to shower at the Y. And I am going to eat carbs. And smell the roses. Frustration!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

U of T Summer Writing School July 10-14

Exciting — my revamped website launches tomorrow. Inkling Design's Andrea and Kelley have been fantastic to work with, creative, responsive, professional, prompt. I'll have to get used to the shiny new site — as will you! 

A crazy day here — the city is doing sewer work that was supposed to start at 7 a.m. today, and we were asked to let water run down all our drains just before work began, so I was up at 6 to be ready. Just went to talk to the guys, however, with their giant machines roaring outside, and they said they're starting tomorrow instead. Yay.

And the piano tuner is here now; mon dieu, the poor thing was so out of tune. Sounding better already. Too bad it's only me who plays it, and sporadically at that.

A reminder for any of you in or near Toronto: I'm teaching at U of T's Summer Writing School. An amazing week,  July10-14, intense workshopping and contact with fellow writers and writing instructors — readings, panels, discussion. Let me know if you have questions.

My downstairs tenant just brought me up some lentil soup. Blessings. The roses are blooming their peachy heads off. My pants are covered with cat hair. The neighbours to the north have a new puppy; what a pleasure to listen to young Juliet play with her. Life is complicated, but summer is sweet. Onward.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Father's Day

I don't celebrate Father's Day; there are no fathers around here. I did send a text to the fathers of my grandsons and a long email to my ex-husband, father of my children. My son came over to help me, with his very long body and arms, reach things I cannot reach. So it was another Mother's Day, really.

But I will post this in honour of my father, who cared deeply about the planet where we all live, and fought, daily, to make it a better place. How proud I am that he was a "ban-bomb apostle."

His granddaughter Anna is the same.

And Happy Father's Day to another fine father, Sir Paul, loving dad to his children and grandchildren and to John's son Julian. It's his 81st birthday today. So Happy Birthday too, Macca!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Eleanor Wachtel's last show

Here's a blessing to bestow: May you have interesting friends. It's my great good fortune that I do. And one of the most interesting is Eleanor Wachtel, whom I've known since Vancouver in the seventies. Of all the friends from the past, few have found exactly the right job and done it superbly for over three decades, as Eleanor did. 

Yesterday, the CBC celebrated her 33 years with and retirement from Writers&Company with a live broadcast of her last show, which will be on air in a few weeks. The Glenn Gould Studio was packed with fans to hear Matt Galloway interview the sublime interviewer, for a change, and then to hear Eleanor do what she does so very well, interview writers, this time Gary Shteyngart and Brandon Taylor, both witty Americans who had a great deal of good to say about Canada and Canadian writers Mavis Gallant and Mordecai Richler. But especially about Eleanor herself, as did many taped writers shown through the evening, telling her what she meant to them and to literature. One said she's the best interviewer in the world. He's right.

Every Sunday, when I've listened from 3 to 4, I write to tell her how much I enjoyed the show and what I cooked while listening. She joked, when offering me a ticket for last night, that she wondered if I'd be able to listen without utensils. I told her, after the show goes off the air, I'll go to the website on Sundays at 3, find an interview I haven't heard, listen, and cook. How she will be missed. 

Because El is all about books, here's a shot of my Little Free Library yesterday - sometimes it's empty, and sometimes it's full of fascinating stuff. An eclectic bunch of readers around here.

I'm on the deck; there's a tiny bright green bug circumnavigating the computer that I hope finds a more suitable path soon. It's a heavenly day, and there's a lot of gardening to do, but it's break time. Last week was busy, with several new editing clients, back and forth about the new book, advertising my Write in the Garden workshop on July 23 and the U of T class July 10-14 (lots of room in both!). There was a gathering at Hemingway's bar with the former members of the Nonfiction Collective's conference committee, to exchange tips for surviving as a writer and get caught up. Thursday the last of my home classes until the fall, our potluck dinner and reading, always a huge treat. And tonight, dinner with Ron Singer, who gave me a Best Performance award at the Canadian University Drama League competition in 1969 and directed the tour of Under Milk Wood in 1971, and his wife Yvonne. Ron speaks Yiddish and is a fan of my Jewish Shakespeare book. A lively evening anticipated. A bond going back 54 years. Sheesh. 

Several friends have been having serious health problems. I read the blog of Hanif Kureshi, who had a catastrophic fall in Rome that left him paralyzed. Who knows what's coming? So I am going to go out and smell the roses, literally. And the honeysuckle that's just beginning, and the mint and lavender. As poet Lorna Crozier said, the garden going on without us. 

Or, if we're lucky, with us. For now.