Today I am starting new things. I’ve signed up for a writing course through UofT and it began this week, all while I was home with sicks kid (but not today!) This course will be the first of many I am going to take in the next five years and will go towards (hopefully) attaining a Creative Writing Certificate – which means is I am writing and I am writing. Summer is over, kids are in school (new school for W. which is going really well, middle school). We are all trying to settle down and find our place.
I am reading so much which is wondeful! My favourite books of the summer are Less by Andrew Sean Greer (so so good), So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. Right now I am finally reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and it’s amazing and also huge.
I am not going to announce these posts for awhile, so I’m not really sure who will be reading this, doesn’t matter. I am taking it slowly because last time I started writing here I was so excited and wanted to share it with everyone, so many supportive family members and friends. But then the sky opened up and this place was forgotten. So I’ll pitter and patter around here for a bit and hopefully it will start to feel like home.
Oh those days. The ones when I did nothing but half sleep and half nurse on our couch with a new baby nestled in one arm and a book in the other. There were always movies playing in the background, everything courtesy of our Shaw Branch library in Toronto, the little one we loved across the street from the Metro and the Shopper’s. That my friends was a big morning out. Unless I was exceptionally daring and stopped on the way at my favourite coffee place. Looking back now, I’m not sure why I didn’t do that more. But we were alone a lot, it was just the three of us, William, Scott and I during that year off and we didn’t get to know many people. Scott worked in the front office on his thesis, the same room where my dear friend Elizabeth Ruth wrote her gorgeous novel, Ten Good Seconds of Silence. That’s another story; how we got that apartment a few years after taking a writing course she taught at George Brown. She liked my story and with a wonderful group of women we formed a writing group and became friends.
William’s first year was quiet and safe and slow, the three of us wrapped up together in that most perfect apartment (our first that was in a house, at street level which meant our first mailbox!). I could and should write stories about the other people (and cats and birds) who lived in our building.
During that year I remember reading and loving Sarah Water’s Fingersmith, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, The Mermaid’s Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I discovered Lisa Moore and Heather O’Neill! I wish I’d kept a diary of my reading then (I do now), it’s getting hard to remember.
When Rory was born we were in Waterloo and I remember breezing through the Shopaholic series and loving Jools Oliver’s book Minus Nine to One. I also remember on a particularly tired night (things are so different with a newborn and a toddler) lying on the couch in our newly rented house (not pretty) and opening up a book called Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, and falling in love so deeply from the very first line. And that was where this post was supposed to begin.
It’s tough to start something new, or in this case, start over. I still remember the first post I wrote on the old blog, about two children under five who are now eleven and nine. But I’m not going to talk about them so much, because things change and they simply don’t want me to and really that’s not why I’m here.
I’m here to tell you about everything amazing I’ve read since then.
Here’s a new one from Christmas and it’s the one I want to start with.
I blame this gorgeous book, Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores by New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein for getting me here. It is the prettiest book I own. Look here to see what I’m talking about, so many perfect postcard paintings of beautiful bookshops from around the world. I want to own and run one, just one, maybe the one in Portugal which may have inspired the staircases in Harry Potter. But instead I will work on this blog and see it as a bookshop not in selling but in collecting books and words and stories and hopefully community. Scott also said he’d build a little library for our front yard this spring so that’s almost the same and I’m sure Ann Patchett and Emma Straub (my bookstore-owning heroes) would totally agree.
So let’s go from here.