Friday, February 11, 2022

Good morning

These are amazing days. Suddenly I have so much focus and energy, I go to bed late and wake up early (though usually do have a nap after lunch). How to explain it?  

The essay book helps, the miracle of producing a 50,000 word book in a month. Ellie and I had a long Zoom meeting about the second draft, what works, what doesn't. I've work to do, combining some, cutting others, some rewrites. But it's getting into shape. I'm taking one essay from it to send to the CBC nonfiction competition. In the nineties, when I was writing essays, I was long listed several times but have not entered since. Now - why not? 

Yesterday I received a PDF of the essay appearing soon in Queen's Quarterly. It looks gorgeous; the layout is beautiful. It's a piece that means a great deal to me and that I've worked on for years, blooming on the page at last. 

I mentioned the piece to Ellie, the fact that I entered it in a writing competition a few years ago and it wasn't even on the long list of ten, yet the editor at QQ loved it. I told her how discouraged I get sometimes, how I was sure Loose Woman would find a publisher and didn't. She said, I think you gave up looking for a publisher too soon. You only had 13 rejections. 

She might be right. 

Yesterday also my interview with Traci Skuse, the organizer of the week of free master classes, went up, and already I've heard from several people interested in working with me. Now it's a question of time. 

Not sure if you can open this, but here it is.

Sorry if I sound smug. I take none of this for granted. For years, many many years, I struggled to overcome a resistance to getting to the desk. Though I did manage, somehow, to produce, many things got in the way of sustained creative work. Maybe now it's being 71, knowing I don't have time to waste, I don't know. 

And believe me, there are things I don't tell you about, family problems, my own fears and concerns. Not to mention the disintegration of the world as we know it - right now, rightwing Canadian fools energizing rightwing fools around the world, how did that happen? 

And it's still - what a good expression this is - the dead of winter. A few days ago it was six degrees and felt like summer, despite the mountains of snow. Tomorrow, back to minus 18. A tough winter, the first in a long time. But that helps the writing too; the great outdoors is certainly not calling.

Time for breakfast. 

Sent this to Anna. She could have written it for her boys. Maybe she did. 


  1. So your daughter is a communist? So why doesn't she go and live in China or North Korea?

    1. Juliet, have you lost your sense of humour? Hope you get it back. But yes, my daughter is very leftwing and she's thinking about moving. To New Zealand.

    2. But I was being humorous, I guess it failed. No, really, I'm sick and tired of First World citizens complaining about the countries they live in when two-thirds of the world population live in absolute oppression where the term "human rights" barely exists. Why do you think the entire world wants to emigrate to Canada? Look at a large population of Canada today. Where have they come from? From those oppressed countries. For them, Canada is a beacon of hope, opportunity, freedom, etc.
      And then you hear other Canadians complaining about their country and wanting to leave. It's all relative.

  2. I am with your daughter whole-heartedly! We are a docile people and we have tolerated such awful people in our country's capital for too long. I hope the next generation is able to somehow require more from their government than we've been able to suggest to them.

  3. It just occurred to me that I have a world view whereas most Canadians (born and raised there) have a much narrower perspective. As you know, I left Canada and went out into the world. I see things differently. I'm curious to know what, exactly, your daughter doesn't like about Canada and what she thinks she'd find in N.Z.

  4. To be clear, Anna did not write that humorous list, and she isn't serious about leaving Canada, though it's true Ardern is one of the world's best leaders at the moment, if not THE best. My daughter does know how much we Canadians have to be grateful for. Because she's so involved with Indigenous people, she feels deeply the inequalities and injustices they've lived with for so long, but that is changing - too slowly, for her. The absurdity of the truckers screaming about their lack of freedom as they spend two weeks paralyzing our capital city - it's nauseating. You're right, Juliet, that travel broadens the mind. Too bad our right-wingers have nothing to compare their lives with and no imagination to do so.