Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Borgen: the best

There was an abrupt change of plans, as often happens in my ex-husband's world, and he rushed back from Winnipeg to the States. So, perhaps we'll see him some more another time.

Sam's event on Sunday night was wonderful - how he manages to barbecue and greet and entertain many friends and keep an eye on his puppy... And then a rainstorm, and still, a success.

Today, another bombshell from the Jan. 6 committee. Evil will out; what a thrilling, historic truth-telling we're witnessing. One is tempted to sneer to the Republicans coming clean, "It took you long enough!" But better late than never. 

A great treat: the next season of Borgen; I've seen most of the past seasons of this fantastic show. All the actors have aged in real time; Birgitte's young son has grown up to be an eco-bandit. I've only watched one episode and can't wait for the rest: political women battling it out in work and life, our heroine suffering through hot flashes. Great stuff. 

Today, last class of the U of T term, and as always, I admire and respect them all. 

Am I getting my own work done? Absolutely not. Speaking yesterday with writer friend Judy in Vancouver, I expressed my discouragement about my lack of progress. She told me she heard a well-known writer say he keeps writing because occasionally, he writes one beautiful sentence. Today, one of my students told me how much my penpal essay moved her, especially the line "It made my breath hurt." Sometimes, one of our lines touches another. It's worth it. Yes, it is. 

The garden: the roses are fading, the dahlias, black-eyed Susans, and hydrangea are coming. The tomato plant on the deck is seven feet tall. 

Peonies at the market on Saturday. Peony envy!

Chris wrote, when he saw this, Who’s that crooked-smiling crippled woman he’s helping?
Sigh. Will someone please teach me to smile for the camera? I thought I WAS smiling! And it always looks like I'm grimacing in pain. 

So, that's it. Overseas, incalculable suffering. Here, a perfect summer night. Why are we so lucky? We just are.
Economist’s 2022 Global Liveability Index: The top 10
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Zurich, Switzerland
4. Calgary, Canada
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Geneva, Switzerland
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia (tie)
I wonder how long poor Toronto will be on this list.
For sheer "I told you so" pleasure, there's this: 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

celebrating family

Today I'm going to boast about my family. Yes, things in the world are even more dire today than they were last week. The stunning hypocrisy of the religious right in the States is nauseating, enraging - forcing poor women to carry babies they often don't want and can't afford, while showing no interest at all in living children. Loathsome. When the marches start, I'll be there.

But it's summer and roses scent the world. So I'll try not to elevate my blood pressure by thinking of horrors. Instead, I'll think about triumphs.

Edgar didn't tell me, I found out from Anna, that he recently won a prestigious award. The Victor Shargai Leadership Award (VSLA) recognizes individuals, groups, or institutions whose outstanding service and creative leadership have strengthened the Washington, DC-area theatre community. 

Edgar Dobie serves as the Executive Producer at the Tony Award-winning non-profit Arena Stage, which he has led for over a decade. Edgar’s leadership has extended Arena’s reach beyond its stages and into the community, demonstrating collaborative leadership and consensus-building as a champion of theatre throughout the area. His effective advocacy, personal generosity, and commitment to theatre in the life of our community exemplify the spirit of this award.

Anna was one of the main workers with her group Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin last weekend, at a huge Indigenous festival at which they provided much of the food. She recruited her brother who spent two days helping cook vast quantities of chicken. 
The one with the tattoos is my boy.
The one with the biggest smile is my girl. 

One of her Indigenous friends wrote to her on FB:
Oh Anna.. my sweet, dear, non-practicing wyte. My Nish kwe by association. The greatest ally to every community except her own. Lmao. Chi gzaagin/I love you very much! Chi Miigwetch for everything you do for and with the community. You are so loved and so cherished and we are so, so lucky to have you in our corner. Your heart is just humungous and I'm soooooo blessed that creator allowed our paths to cross. You quickly became a bestie and for that and EVERYTHING else.. thank you.

Sam is over three months sober, figuring out what's next while coping with his energetic pup, who has a heart problem. He's producing a "gofundme" for himself and Bandit tomorrow, barbecuing at a friend's donated restaurant. His dad and I will be there. 

Anyone who wants to contribute is invited to write to samueljacobdobie@gmail.com. He'll be grateful. 

And finally, in the celebration category, I just finished two books by my new favourite writer, Helen Humphreys: Nocturne, about the too-early death of her concert pianist brother, and The Lost Garden, a novel set in Britain in 1941, both exquisite, haunting, beautifully written. I'm embarrassed I hadn't discovered them before now.

Out of the blue, I just started singing one of the loveliest songs from one of my favourite musicals, Chorus Line:
Love is never gone
As we travel on
Love's what we'll remember
Kiss today goodbye
And point me toward tomorrow
We did what we had to do
Won't forget, can't regret
What I did for

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

the heart bursts

7.30 a.m., another hot day dawning; I'm on the deck, swimming in scent and colour: roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, basil, mint. I'm watching three baby raccoons climbing home to sleep high in my neighbour's giant tree, sparrows crowding the feeder, landing to sip water from the pots on the deck rail. The William Morris roses, though wounded, survived the umbrella attack; the entwined purple Jackmanii clematis has just bloomed to keep it company. So much is ready to bloom. 

Upstairs, in one of the greatest gifts of all, my dear ex-husband is asleep. He's here for the first time in three years to visit us; on Thursday he flies to Winnipeg to deliver the eulogy for his brother Dave, who died of a heart attack a few months ago. Ed arrived Monday, and we had a big family dinner here, utter chaos with three puppies bouncing about, one with four legs and two with two. Ben and Eli got out the wooden play food to play waiter, Ben handing us a written list of choices.


1. supe

2. pezzi

3. tost, egg, huney, chees

4. egg, scrambi, sunny up 


Last night Ed and I watched Jon Stewart win the Mark Twain award, another man, like Macca, whom I've never met and love deeply, a man who combines marvellous humour with gravitas, integrity, thoughtfulness. Those paying tribute, a stellar, hilarious assembly including Stephen Colbert, lauded his kindness. Few famous, successful men are well-known for their kindness. As we always did, Ed and I laughed in the same way at the same things. We've been divorced for over thirty years. 


This afternoon he and Sam are taking the boys either to the C.N. Tower or to the Aquarium, and tonight we're all meeting at one of Sam and Anna's favourite Parkdale restaurants for dinner. 

Getting old is in many ways not fun; the wrinkles and splotches and aches, for some the terrible afflictions of disease and disability. The knowledge that the days are limited, closing down. But nothing, nothing is better than the sense I'm flooded with right now of having climbed from many days of fear, confusion, and sometimes despair, to this place of utter gratefulness: the smell of roses, the long green stretch of healthy garden, one of the loves of my life about to come downstairs and I will make him a cup of coffee. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

What you won't do for love

A thrilling evening of theatre last night; I'm writing to urge those of you in Toronto and environs not to miss it, though it's only on tonight and tomorrow. 

What you won't do for love is a play David Suzuki and his wife Tara Cullis wrote with a young couple who are actors. It reminds me a bit of My Dinner with AndrĂ©, in that they mostly sit at a table, with scripts, talking. But what talking! It's a profoundly moving discussion of the fifty-year relationship between Tara and David, her founding of the Suzuki Foundation, their adventures together, including in Brazil helping to stop a dam that would have devastated the land of the Indigenous Kayapo tribe. 

There's a great deal of laughter and for me, of course, tears. The young people ask the older couple how they keep from being depressed about the state of the world and the environment. "We're depressed!" they exclaim, but Tara goes on to say they balance each other; when one is down, the other is there for support. Their message, over and over: everything on the planet is interconnected. Every living thing is our kin. We must love our mother, the earth, as we love each other. 

Tara spoke at length about the unpaid work of women which keeps the planet going - how Adam Smith, when he wrote his famous book The Wealth of Nations about the global economy, didn't once mention what women contribute though he was living at home being cared for by his mother. Tara talked about the work of housekeeping, exhausting and unappreciated, because the only way you know your work is worthwhile is if the house looks the same at the end of the day as it did at the beginning. "Environmentalism," she said, "is global housekeeping."

At the end, Tara tells us that though things look bad for us, she thinks we'll find the earth "is more forgiving than we deserve." David tells us that, as he dies, he'll be able to say to his grandchildren, "I did the best I could." 

The play is a call for us all to take heed and do more. 

Afterward, there was a small reception full of interesting people. David introduced me to his friend David MacDonald, whose name I remember from past politics - the one Tory cabinet minister who switched to the NDP. His wife Deborah Sinclair is a fierce feminist. The talk was scintillating. 

And then I hopped on my bicycle and nearly froze as I rode home. 

If you can get there, go. 

On Thursday I saw the Downton Abbey film with Ken. It's delightful fluff, really a documentary about gorgeous vintage fabrics and stunning interiors decorating an absurdly flimsy plot. Fun. 

It's suddenly chilly here. Yesterday the wind was so violent, it blew my deck umbrella right over; it damaged the rosebush, and I rushed out to tie up wounded branches. The weather everywhere is extreme. Our planet needs us. How grateful I am there are people who've devoted their lives to trying to save us all. They too are more forgiving than we deserve.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

on writing and gardening

The Life of a Writer, Part 7642: I am waiting. In limbo. The manuscript of the essay collection is out at 8 or 9 publishers, none of whom has acknowledged receipt of it. I assume they have it and are so busy weeping with joy at its beauty that they forgot to get in touch with me.

There's a short-ish essay out at a competition and a long one out at three American magazines, two online. Last week, realizing Saturday is Paul McCartney's 80th birthday, and who should celebrate harder than I, I wrote a piece about him, his life, what he has meant to me and countless other fans. It's time-sensitive so I sent it immediately to two editors at the Globe, then to a bunch of editors at the Star, then to a program at the CBC. One of those editors, who has bought my work before, said not for his section and suggested someone else to send it to. Who like the others did not reply.

I'm not complaining. Well, I am, a bit. But mostly, I just wonder sometimes if the words mean anything, if anyone is out there, or if the pages are simply tossed into the void. HELLO! IS ANYONE THERE? 

On the other hand, as you know, there's the garden, which provides joyful satisfaction every day. This is the year I turned into a real gardener; I was loving but neglectful before. Now I go out every morning with my secateurs to inspect, prune, find the diseased leaves, the toppled raspberries, the tentative new blooms. 

Here's what's not working in the garden so far this season: the infuriating peonies, three healthy-looking plants that have never produced a single bloom. I have a severe case of peony envy as I see the gorgeous pouffy blooms all over the 'hood. And the spinach is spindly and weird, as it was last year. 

What vanished over the winter: the buddleia and a cranesbill geranium. 

What's working, not the plants that wintered over but newly planted on the deck: parsley, chives, dill, tomatoes, lettuce, lavender, basil, dahlias.

In the garden: astilbe, William Morris heritage roses, day lilies, phlox, Jackmani clematis, fall-blooming clematis, Annabelle hydrangeas, climbing hydrangeas, boxwood, lettuce, bleeding heart, ferns, rose of Sharon x 3, coreopsis, huge clumps of rudbekia, echinacea, Mexican sunflower, yarrow, pinks, cosmos, allium, anemone, wisteria, grasses, comfrey, spiderwort, goldenglow, spirea, honeysuckle, holly, hostas, climbing tea roses. 

In the garden cage: a few plants of peas, tomatoes, basil, onions, zucchini, cukes, beans, thyme, oregano, summer savory, sorrel.

At the back: raspberries. And the weeds, goutweed and Virginia creeper, going nuts, because it's too far from the house for me to tend.

No waiting here - every day work to do and beauty to relish. Here a quote from Rebecca Solnit.

"The American poet and devoted gardener Ross Gay told an interviewer, “There's probably been nothing else in my life that's trained me to go slow the way gardening has, that's compelled me to look very closely. Part of the delight of my garden is that you just get lost in it before you even start to do anything. I walk out to my backyard garden at certain times of the year and I can't get 30 feet without stopping for 20 minutes because the goumi’s need trimming. And then I watch the wasps and notice that the lavender and the thyme right next to it need weeding. I love how my garden is very productive outside of the logic of productivity. It makes a lot of stuff that's edible and nourishing and all that, but it's also productive in ways you wouldn't think necessarily to measure.” 

Productive outside of the logic of productivity! I feel now that even if my books mean little, I've created beauty on this earth, a small something that was not there before. I hope the garden is my gift to the planet; it is definitely the planet's gift to me.

Another gift: my third grandson and his dad, who visited yesterday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

in mourning for my damaged, neglectful city

Today, after getting off the streetcar, I walked up Yonge Street to the Y. In almost every doorway, a homeless person was camped and sleeping. Often it was hard to tell if there was someone inside the bundle of rags and blankets piled up on the step. And then, there was a woman, naked from the waist down, filthy, squatting to pee on the sidewalk before returning to her shelter in a doorway.

This on the main street of downtown Toronto. 

The other day, I rode to one of my favourite stores, the pen and paper emporium Laywine's, to buy an essential, my annual academic daytimer without which my life would disintegrate. The store is in Yorkville, the streets of which are a parody of wealth and white privilege on display - the cars, the clothes, the arrogance.

Something is deeply wrong in our city. Our mayor is decent, blinkered, boring. No real solutions to homelessness and the epidemic of mental illness and opiate addiction. Instead, we have rampant development, giant high-rises going up everywhere, which include no affordable housing; there are more construction cranes in Toronto than anywhere else in North America. Drivers are beyond entitled, speeding, careening, partly out of frustration because the streets are impassable due to construction and street repairs - though most streets are so full of holes, they look as if they've been attacked by giant asphalt-devouring digger dogs. 

And now we've elected as premier a right-wing car- and development-loving blowhard who's going to spend billions constructing new highways through the formerly protected Green Belt. 

Not to mention Ukraine. And another smart, fit writer friend locked away with dementia. 

The world, today, is too much with me. Late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. 

What comfort? For one, the January 6th commission, which has done an extraordinary job of presenting the facts, entirely from former Trump loyalists, about the former president's criminal delusions — the most vital work of democracy and journalistic investigation we've seen this century. Thank God for it.

Yesterday, one of the most marvellous classes ever, watching writers take flight. A joy.

Reading: right now, Rebecca Solnit's wonderful Orwell's Roses, following her nimble mind as she explores George Orwell's garden and everything connected to him — fascinating, heavily researched, wide-ranging. 

And mostly, my own garden. How is it possible these plants and flowers keep gracing us with their scent and beauty year after year? Sometimes I think we don't deserve them. I go out in the morning and kiss the roses and talk to them. They feel like friends. 

Will we pull through this time of darkness? I don't know. Perhaps we won't. But they will. Solnit quotes Orwell in 1941, back in his country home after time in London sheltering from the Blitz: "Crocuses out everywhere, a few wallflowers budding, snowdrops just at their best. Couples of hares sitting about in the winter wheat and gazing at one another. Now and again in this war, at intervals of months, you get your nose above water for a few moments and notice that the earth is still going around the sun."

Mock orange. The smell is heavenly.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Word on the Street, CNFC, the Tony awards

How I started the day: Googling "rose leaves turning yellow." Might be "chlorosis" - iron deficiency. Oh no! 

How I spent last night: watching the Tony awards, which were as always thrilling, except more so than usual - extremely diverse and hosted by a young woman of astounding confidence, beauty, and talent, Ariana deBose. Made me want to go to NYC and see some shows. "Broadway's back, baby!" was the rallying cry. 

What hit me yesterday: I got out the silver polish to polish a little necklace of my mother's, silver and I think lapis, and suddenly realized, I'm turning into her. She loved silver and was always polishing something. And she loved this necklace. I'm wearing it now. I polished, however, dancing in my kitchen with Nicky's Zoom dance party, something my mother most definitely did not do. And she used Silvo.

A packed weekend, first Word on the Street back at last on the actual street - rode to Queen's Park to take it in, booth after booth of books, writers, publishers, editors, aka heaven. It was supposed to rain, torrentially on Sunday, but happily it did not, it was beautiful all weekend. I hope those poor battered book people did well. 

A brave young writer taking marketing into her own hands. And cart.

Then the Creative Nonfiction annual conference, on Zoom from Edmonton, a series of gripping panels, talks, webinars. So good to meet friendly nonfiction faces from around the country. At one talk, on research, I was dumbfounded, the young presenter zipping around apps and programs, showing me just how very old I am. At one point, he said, "And then plug in your pen."

All good.

Today, out in the garden, of course, admiring, marvelling. The wisteria was planted by my friend Dorothy in the mid-nineties and took many years to bloom, but eventually, bloom it did. Its beauty means more, knowing how long it took.

The raspberries grew from a cutting taken before my mother left Edmonton in about 2000, and also took many years to do well. In fact, they haven't yet, but it looks like this year will be the one. I hired someone to come and advise me about their unhappiness; she prescribed worm casings, so I dumped some on and they obviously like it. Maybe I'll give some to the roses.

This morning: back to the Jan. 6 hearings. Talk about riveting television, saving the world, or at least, we hope, that benighted country. Later today, the termite inspectors come, cross your fingers. I wonder if they know about yellow leaves? And mice?

Below, the story of my current life:

Friday, June 10, 2022

What You Won't Do For Love, and the Jan. 6 commission

We've had the oddest spring, cold, hot, blazing sun, torrential, biblical rain. Yesterday I set off, all dressed up, on my bike, to be turned back by a sudden rainstorm. Set off again in rain gear; ten minutes later, by the time I got to my destination, it was boiling hot again. 

I was on my way to an opening night party for old family friends David Suzuki and Tara Cullis, who've written and are performing a moving play about their activist lives and their very long marriage, What you won't do for love. I've seen the film online and will see the play next week; couldn't go last night because I was teaching, but enjoyed celebrating them beforehand. David will no longer fly because of the climate; they took eight days to drive across Canada in an electric Volvo. An admirable, idealistic, extremely hard-working couple. An extraordinary family. 

My father, who was a good friend of David's and loved him, always credited himself with introducing David and Tara. David disputes this, but I'm going with Dad.

Last night, after class ended, I turned on the January 6 enquiry. It was mesmerizing, with damning testimony and footage, incontrovertible proof of Trump's guilt and the craven collusion of his allies - as if any of us had any doubts. The testimony of that beautiful young police officer, about slipping in the blood of her colleagues, was incredibly powerful. But who's watching? Will it get through to the other side? I was flipping around to find other reports and happened upon Fox "news" - we didn't used to get it in Canada, when did that change? They were interviewing a woman who said, "It was all antifa." Will all the thousands of hours of interviews leading to this ground-breaking hearing change anything? Let us pray. 

A busy weekend ahead - both Word on the Street, which is again actually on the street, and the annual Creative Nonfiction Conference, still virtual. And gardening. The garden is one of my greatest joys, as perhaps you know. Best of all, the William Morris heritage roses are about to burst, with many buds. One reason I don't travel much in summer; I just want to sit and look at the roses. 


Blowing own horn department: lots of great feedback about the Helen Humphreys workshop: 

That was such an excellent talk. Amazing what can be packed into an hour. The two of you were so effective together (and it was gracious of you to make so many comments specifically about Helen’s work). 

The best part of the workshop for me was when you and Helen asked each other questions about the process of writing, the challenges of writing such as being vulnerable and open and taking risks. It was a different learning experience from the writing coach/student, to two distinguished and accomplished writers sharing their wisdom and knowledge with each other.

Ha! Distinguished and accomplished, that's a first for me. 'Distinguished' makes me feel old. But then, Helen is younger than I am, and she's definitely both distinguished and accomplished. 

A former student sent her second essay in the Globe:


And this, from a student who wrote, "I love when my books match my breakfast tray!"

In the midst of all this, I wrote a fan-girl piece about Paul McCartney's 80th birthday, which is coming up Saturday June 18, and am trying to get it placed somewhere. Hello, editors, a distinguished, accomplished writer is sending you something, could you open your email please? 


Off into this stunning day.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

WOTS: the joy of memoir, and honouring family

Happy to report that the WOTS memoir workshop with Helen Humphreys went well, at least, I think it did. A few people have emailed their appreciation. Because I was focussed on the talk, I didn't see how many were there or read the questions in the Chat or the words that came in at the end. Helen is warm and open; I liked her very much, could have spent the whole hour talking to her, but we each spoke and answered a lot of questions. 

I've been busy in the house; for some reason, it was time to do more with my family picture wall, and then I moved the CD shelf to a better place and put my CD's in alphabetical order. I know, no one uses CD's any more. I not only do, I also use tapes. The discovery that's a game changer: I can write listening to classical music. So now I will.

A great-grandfather, grandparents on both sides, parents through the years, uncle and aunt, ex-husband, children, inlaws, a few friends, grandsons. My childhood pussycat Dido painted by my grandmother. So good to get these out of the big box and on the wall. 

House problems: not just the bees upstairs, but a mouse infestation down. I spent an hour today cleaning out under the sink and trying to patch the huge hole they use to get in, which was hard as it's where the pipes and the water shut-off valve is. I cut up the Kristyn Wong-Tam election sign and patched over the hole, put steel wool in places I couldn't tape. Presumably if that keeps them away from under the sink, they'll just go elsewhere. Hate traps, don't want to use poison. I need a cat. 

And a bee chaser. The termite guy is coming to check in a few weeks, because my neighbour two houses over says the termites are back at her place. 


Yesterday, dear Annie, who's had a stressful few weeks, came for dinner on the deck. It was nice to decompress after the workshop with a friend; I was speedy and buzzing as after a stage performance. Today, the Cabbagetown Garden Tour with Lynn and Nick. A gorgeous day, perfect, to tromp 5 kilometres around the 'hood poking in people's gardens. Have to say, I'll take mine, any day. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

new tickets for WOTS workshop and Where the Blood Mixes

The WOTS workshop with the marvellous Helen Humphreys and moi was sold out, but people have been protesting, so they have opened up ten new spots. They were going to limit the attendance to 30, then 50. Now it's 70. Wonderful!



Won't discuss the election. Will not watch the news today. Imagine, huge numbers of people voted for a petty high school drug dealer eager to pave over farmland for new highways, to pander to his developer buddies, to cut healthcare and education budgets, who's now a second term leader of Canada's biggest province. Turns the stomach.

BUT: a fantastic evening last night. While Sam and Bandit babysat the boys, Anna and I had a delicious dinner at El Catrin, a Mexican restaurant in the Distillery District, and then sauntered next door to watch Where the Blood Mixes, by Kevin Loring, produced by the Native Earth company and Soulpepper. My poor Anna was awash in tears at the end of this powerful play, which begins in great humour and takes us through the incalculable tragedy of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, as experienced by one family, one small community. My tenant Sheldon Elter stars and is superb; he's a musician and comedian who has done stand up and a one man show, and now reveals himself to be a great tragic actor. 

One of the actresses had contracted Covid so the director Jani Lauzon stepped in to the part and did a fantastic job. 


Art will keep us alive. Until it can't and won't. But until then, it will.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

trying to ignore the election

It's election day in Ontario, and the polls are predicting another Con majority. Over 60% of the population will vote for one of the three centre-left parties, but we'll have another four years of these execrable rightwing politicos doing irreparable harm to this province, as the execrable Mike Harris did years ago, his policies leading to this day. My heart is heavy. 

But yes, at least we're not dealing with a populace armed to the teeth and murdering each other with assault weapons, or with a hostile foreign power smashing our towns, slaughtering our citizens, and kidnapping our children. Good to keep our tiny disaster in perspective.

Life goes on. I did an interview with a freelance writer for the Globe today about - you guessed it - writing memoir. She couldn't shut me up. I'm so looking forward to the workshop on Saturday with Helen Humphreys, who's my new favourite writer. I'm reading Field Study, in which she spends a year at a herbarium studying dried plants. Yes, that's the book, moving, funny, and fascinating. How does she do it? And The Frozen Thames, in which she invents vignettes, moments from lives each year the river Thames froze solid, from 1142 to 1895. Not memoir, no, and yet she's there, heart and soul. How does she think of such quirky, interesting topics? 

Speaking of heart and soul, I watched a short play on Zoom on my computer yesterday; a company called Theatre Ouest, out of Montreal, produced Still Got Something to Say: 6 plays about age, starting with one by Judith Thompson starring Clare Coulter. If you ever have the chance, don't miss it; Clare Coulter is a Canadian acting legend, a treasure, magnificent even in the short time she's on screen, her eyes blazing, her soul laid bare. I ponder what makes a truly great actor: a profound honesty and generosity and commitment, a sense they are giving us everything they have to give. Clare Coulter does that.

Though I've known her for decades, she moved to Montreal and I haven't seen her for a long time, but I immediately wrote to the email address I had for her. And she wrote back to say my note had meant a great deal. She was performing for the camera, no audience, no sense of how the work landed.

Never miss an opportunity to let an artist know what their work has meant to you, how it has affected you - at least, if it's positive! I'm letting Helen Humphreys know how much I love her books. After Helen's I have two library books to finish and then, it's on to Blue Portugal, the new book of essays by my dear blog friend Theresa Kishkan. Can't wait.

Tonight, a special treat: my downstairs tenant Sheldon Elter is in a play opening tonight, and Anna and I are his guests. Where the Blood Mixes is I gather an entirely Indigenous project. It may make us sad, but I'll be happy for Sheldon that it's off and running. It's traditional to wish an actor "Break a leg" on opening night, but he said, for Indigenous actors, you wish them "two wounded knees." So I did. 

Also, got a royalty statement from Audible.com for the audiobook of Loose Woman: 18 people have bought the audiobook. It was launched in Dec. 2020, so that's about one sale a month. Flying off the shelves, so to speak. LOL. 

A final bit of happiness, to offset anything bad you may be feeling today: yesterday was record-breaking hot, so Sam cooled Bandit down in the bathtub. If that's not a gleeful face to make you smile ... Even with a Con majority barreling at us. Sob.