Saturday, June 21, 2008


My Newfoundland friend Debbie called this month Junuary.  Definitely an odd late spring, with already a few days of muggy breathless heat, followed by days so cold I wanted to get my wool hat back out.  Lots and lots of rain, a blessing because it means the garden is watered from above.  There's no rush, my Toronto friends - the heavy weight of real summer will come.

No more about writing classes and workshops - both the U of T and the garden one will run in July, and there will be another garden workshop in August; please contact me for details.  I am happy to report that something has shifted in my own work.  I've been struggling for a long time with how to get an important story onto the page - what voice,  structure,  time line, will allow me to tell this tale.  One day, it was just there, in a flash - a name and voice, and the pages slowly piling up. 

We'll see if I'm right.  I did test it on my Ryerson class - to show them the tortuous process of rewriting to make something work, I brought in several previous drafts of the first pages of the story and read them and the current one.  Unanimously, to my enormous relief, they preferred the latter.  I could tell it was working as I read - often there's a point, when you're reading your own work out loud, where your voice falters and you lose steam.  That didn't happen with this one.  

At least, not yet, said the writer pessimistically.

This is my rigourous fitness regime, on the days I don't go to a class at the Y: I put on my running gear, warm up a bit, and then set out - for Riverdale Farm, which is three minutes away.  Yes, a whole three minutes of jogging, and then I'm at the Farm where I walk around and look at animals, especially, these days, the baby goats which are black with white spots or vice versa - "Glory be to God for dappled things," as poet Gerald Hopkins wrote - and the rust-coloured piglets, sleeping in the mud with their massive rusty-haired mama.  I may jog slowly down to the ponds and back up again.  On the way out, I often ask at the cafe window if they have any eggs for sale.  Last time they had none from chickens but they did have duck eggs.  I tentatively took two - huge ivory spheres.  I who live, as I tediously repeat, an eight minute bike ride from Bloor and Yonge, had poached duck egg, just out of the duck, for lunch. 

And now - back to work.   

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