Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Giving Voice

Dear friends, here's a "must see" recommendation for you: last night I watched "Giving Voice," a documentary on Netflix, with tears streaming down my face. It's about teenagers of colour from disadvantaged communities who enter a competition to perform a monologue from one of August Wilson's plays. The camera follows some of them home; we see where they live, we hear about their lives and struggles and hopes, and then we see them act. As a former actor, this film about the power of theatre, the love of performance that springs up in a young heart, is beautiful beyond words. And a shout out to the drama and English teachers out there who encourage and foster and push. The ending, the actual competition, is as riveting as anything I've seen on film. Don't miss it. 


Another cold grey day. My daytimer, usually jammed with scribbles, is almost entirely blank, and there's a temptation to sink into the comfy chair and spend the day with FB and Twitter. Today I have a CNFC conference committee meeting. Tomorrow and Friday, nothing scheduled. Thursday, great excitement, an interview with SiriusXM's Allison Gore about my memoir. The weekend is blank.

But I'm spending hours at my desk plowing through dusty, nay, filthy boxes of papers and photos as I begin work on an essay, or something, about my uncle Edgar the world bridge expert - tying him to "The Queen's Gambit," the story of another eccentric game-playing competitive obsessive. And then there's Netflix! Walks. Exercising with Zoom. Cooking. Grocery shopping. Feeding the birds. We'll keep busy. 

In the meantime, the vaccine is being injected into the arms of Canadians, and the Electoral College did its job. Things are looking up. 

Kathryn in Vancouver just wrote, "Bravo! I finished reading Loose Woman and enjoyed it so much, not just your excellent writing, but also as it was a real trip down memory lane for me."

Rosemary, who read one of the first drafts, wrote, "I’m enjoying Loose Woman so much. The language is much richer than the earlier drafts, as are your personal insights. Even people with small roles come through so clearly – and I get interested in them." 

And best of all, Eli wrote a note to his mother. We are a note-writing family; I used to write to my kids about their behaviour and their lives, and they'd write back. It's thrilling to see that the tradition continues.

I am sorry I did not do wact was agspexted from me. Can you frgiv me?
I am sooooo sorry about every thing I did today and every othr day.
Love Eli and Ben 
to Mum

Be still my beating heart.


  1. Spend the day with FB and Twitter? Seriously?

  2. Ah yes, Juliet, I love checking in with FB and Twitter, and Instagram too, seeing what my kids have posted and their friends and my friends and various political and artistic figures I admire and follow. I've also found it necessary to use Amazon delivery sometimes, and will have to upload my audiobook onto Amazon's platform Audible. These behemoths are not going away and can be valuable tools. When your book is published, you might be tempted to seek readers via FB and Twitter.

  3. For ethical reasons, I could never use FB, a corporation whose ad campaign helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election. A corporation who harvested the data of 87 million user profiles without their permission and who stokes political tension at home and ethnic violence abroad.

    “Facebook has become a breeding ground for pernicious posts about the Rohingya (minority ethnic group), by allowing the dissemination of propaganda saying everything from the Rohingya are burning their own villages, to showing bodies of soldiers who may be from other conflicts but saying this is the result of a Rohingya attack."

    But y'know what? The majority of FB users don't care, they just don't give a damn. I guess in a roundabout way you could say they’re enablers.

    As for me, I bought myself a book for Christmas - Isabel Wilkerson's Caste; not the e-book but a real, old-fashioned paper version and I will sit in a comfy chair over the holidays, turn off all the external noise-static-information overload that, frankly, nobody needs, to read in silence and actually learn something.

    In the end, there's something terribly empty and draining about social media, not to mention a colossal waste of my precious time.

    Happy holidays.


  4. I've heard "Caste" is a fantastic book. Happy holidays to you too.