Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pam McConnell RIP

I was very sorry to hear about Councillor Pam McConnell's death at the age of 71. Pam was elected to Toronto city council in 1994 and represented this ward from 2000 until her death - so she was my representative at city hall for decades, and how glad I was of that. She was indefatigable in support of social justice, equality, education, the arts - everything good. She told me once how Regents Park came to have its state-of-the-art swimming pool - she made a concession to Donald Trump that his Toronto Trump tower could have two extra stories - if he agreed to pay for the swimming pool. Pam may be the only person on earth to have elicited something good from Trump. And if anyone could do that, she could. And then there was the time our insane bully of a mayor, Rob Ford, shoved past and pushed her over - the one and only time Pam was a pushover.

Thank you,  Councillor McConnell, for your years of service to Toronto and to Cabbagetown specifically. We owe you a great deal. I can't imagine this city without you.

We are having an odd, heavy, wet summer, wonderful for the garden - my raspberries and tomatoes are happy - but not so great for farmers, I gather. Very few of those muggy Toronto days so far, which is wonderful. Tonight is my last Ryerson class, and then, except for my garden workshop next weekend, I'm done teaching till September. I love my day job, but it's good to get a break, for sure.

Finished a terrific book yesterday: The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson, an extraordinary hybrid, part philosophical treatise, part intimate, very personal memoir that delves into the mind of a brilliant, extremely well-educated, interestingly kinky person. Nelson has a fascinating life, married to an artist who is, as she says, "neither male nor female," once called Becky, now Harry, bearded and with surgically removed breasts. They have a child, Iggy, whose birth she describes in powerful detail, along with the death of Harry's mother. Bits of the book, her deep dives into philosophy, were hard to wade through; I don't often read work that dense. But what's amazing is her combination of philosophical critiques and enquiries with the intensely personal story of her love life and her embracing of coupledom and motherhood - a riveting section on biology and hormones, when she is pregnant, and Harry is taking testosterone, both of their bodies transforming daily. Engaging and beautifully written.

Thanks to my blog friend Theresa Kishkan, who urged me to stick with the book when, at the beginning of my reading, I was about to give up. Well worth the effort.

And now from the sublime to the more sublime: Sunday night's Grantchester - OMG! Sydney finally breaks, grabs his adored Amanda and wow - SPOILER ALERT - they do it on the stairs. Uncomfortable but passionate. It's too bad the actress who plays Amanda just isn't at James Norton's level, either physically or emotionally; I don't understand why this incredibly handsome, sensitive man adores this remote woman so. When, if he but knew it, he could have ME. James, James, just get in touch.

And then I watched a fab documentary on James Brown. I don't watch much TV, but when I do, it's love.


  1. I'm glad you persisted with The Argonauts. I also found it engaging -- and strange and enlightening (if that doesn't sound weird). I also loved her Bluets.

  2. Can put Bluets at the bottom of my To Read list, which is currently 4,762 books long. I'll get there.