Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Grizzlies and the Two Popes

Apocalypse: at 4 p.m. it's pitch dark and has been pouring all day. Apparently we'll get more rain today than is common for the whole month of January. I worry, as usual, about the basement which used to flood, now an apartment occupied by a family of four including a sick five-year old and a newborn. So, fingers crossed for the hardy new sump pump.

Extremely glad I don't have to go anywhere. Unlike yesterday, I did get dressed, barely, in sweats and slippers, tho' will still take it very easy. But I think I've defeated whatever bug it is that was trying to get in.

In fact, it was wonderful to have all yesterday to do almost nothing except read and watch things. I finished the Carrère and started a book by Henry Nouwen, made a vat of chicken soup from Thursday's carcasses and watched not one but two good movies: The Two Popes on Netflix, and The Grizzlies, later, on TV. In the Popes, it's a treat to watch two lions of the British stage grapple with each other, in a film which involves us in an abstruse crisis in the Catholic church. Who the @##@ cares? But by the end, we do, because of the skill of these actors and a good script. Not to mention lots of glimpses of the heavenly Sistine Chapel.

The Grizzlies is set in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, with an almost entirely young, marvellous, Indigenous cast. The film is an appalling indictment of governmental neglect of Inuit communities in the far north, where teen suicide, alcohol and drug abuse and violence are epidemic. All this in a film that's uplifting and even funny, in a "Jamaican bobsled team" kind of way - the "redemption from sports" trope. But it's based on a true story, a teacher who started a lacrosse team and brought teamwork and hope to the community. Highly recommended, not just for the story and acting, but for the stunning icy vistas and exploration of a hidden, dark, Canadian truth.

In between, I actually wrote 500 words, the start of something new that I liked, inspired by Emmanuel Carrère and his kind of truth-telling. Wrote another 1000 today. We'll see. Today, Skyped with Chris in B.C. and Lynn in Montpellier; she ranted about the state of the country - though she emphasizes the huge benefits of French life, including free university, the protest strikes about pension reform have continued, paralyzing Paris and much of France; it took her many hours to make a usually short journey by train. She and I are supposed to meet up in Paris at the end of March; the strikes may still be on. "Good thing we're walkers," she said, because there may be no busses and only the automatic metro lines. Chaos.

The only problem with this sedate life of reading, writing, and Skyping is my legs, twitching from inactivity, two days of sitting here or in the living room, wrapped in a blanket. But this is not a day to go anywhere. When I wrote to my friend Eleanor about Carrère, she sent me her interview with him. So now I'll listen. Please join me. Happiness is.

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