Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the Barbarian Invasions

Received this happy note today from a student and friend:

I just wanted to share the news that a story I wrote about making soft boiled eggs with my grandfather has been selected for publication by the CBC as part of their Edible Nonfiction challenge. I came up with that story in your garden last summer!!! Thanks Beth!

If you check the Canada Writes page at, you'll be able to read her piece.

Just watched the Quebecois movie "Les Invasions Barbares" again, on TV - what a superb film. I saw it when it came out in 2003, but its exploration of the meaning of life and death, love and friendship, means much more now, only 8 years later. Haunting and rich.

Spent much of the day reading "Rewriting Russia: Jacob Gordin's Yiddish Drama," by an American "Associate professor of Russian literature and Jewish studies." I've been asked to review her book for an American academic journal. It's an odd assignment, because the author is not only writing about a once-famous Yiddish playwright, but about my blood, my family. The lucky woman went to Russia to dig through Gordin files there, which has not been done before.

She thanks six different fellowships and granting agencies for their help in funding her work; I thank my ex-husband who provided enough child support that I could spend time reading and writing. It's a miracle my book ever emerged from my cluttered life, that's for sure.

As I sit here, very late on this cold, snowy day, there's a furry beast squeezed in beside me, and when I put my hand on her back, lo, a faint rumbling deep inside. Amazing. My daughter cooked poached salmon for my mum and auntie in Ottawa this evening, and all is right with the world.

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