Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pain and Glory

Funny - we had winter and then it went away, no snow anywhere and mild weather, and now, they tell us, it's coming back in a big way tonight. Suzette and I were invited to spend the night at Jessica's cottage in Prince Edward County tomorrow; Jess has made a pot of chili, we old friends were going to explore vineyards, eat lunch at a local restaurant, walk in the woods, have chili and wine that night by the fire. But we do not want to navigate a snowstorm on country roads, so Jess is bringing the chili here for dinner tomorrow; we'll explore her country locale in better weather.

Good smells here - I'm making leek and potato soup for us. How I love leeks!

Today I saw Pain and Glory, an autobiographical film by the great Spaniard Pedro Almadovar. Beautiful, slow-moving but always compelling, the film mirrors Almadovar's life. It stars the gorgeous Antonio Banderas playing a famous filmmaker stymied by age and physical and mental pain, reconnecting with an actor with whom he had a major falling out after they made a film together decades before - just as Almadovar stopped speaking to Banderas after the actor's work decades ago in one of his movies. A contemplation of aging, creativity, addiction, success, and writing, a completely open vision of bisexuality and the dawn of homosexual desire - much, much to think about. Highly recommended.

Incidentally, what an encompassing title - don't we all know pain and glory? Ain't that life?

Thursday, the not so painful and totally glorious last session of my home class, seven fabulous writers taking us on a trip around the world, from Israel in the fifties to Hanoi in the sixties and many other places. We are family.

Speaking of family, welcome to a new Cabbagetowner: Shani, my basement tenant whom I've known since she was 5, is home with Tiger Lily, her new baby born yesterday, a perfect tiny person, less than 6 pounds, with minuscule wrinkled hands and a busy mouth. Amazing to have a newborn living under this roof for the first time; Sam was a robust 22 months when we moved here. Blessings.

And, in my persona as a grouchy, opinionated, mouthy, aging woman, I have been writing letters. Yes, the dreaded letters! Today I visited the site of a Canadian winter coat manufacturer; a friend at the Y had bought one of their coats and raved about its lightness and warmth. All my winter coats are second hand except for one that's 25 years old; I was thinking, perhaps it's time ... but I was horrified to see that their coats use real fur, and I emailed them to say I would not be considering their products, and why.

I've been writing for years to the mayor, the city, and the newspapers - never published - about our murderous streets, but now there is a daily hue and cry in the papers about the slaughter of pedestrians and cyclists - hooray! But I'm always ready with another letter. I wrote to the Cabbagetown BIA about the fact that the C'town Youth Centre may have to close because the province cancelled its grant. This centre provides after-school activities for needy kids in our 'hood and is an essential service. A GoFundMe page has been set up, and I contributed, but so much more is needed. So I wrote to our BIA to say - what will you do? We're watching you. Get busy.

I tell my students - use your power as a writer to make your voice heard. Mind you, I say this with the hope that my students want the same things for the world that I do. I'm pretty sure they do.

So, a quiet Saturday evening, waiting for the snow to start, waiting for the soup to be ready, waiting for Randy Bachman to come on the radio so I can dance.


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