Wednesday, October 27, 2010

festival weekend

The 2010 Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival is now over. Fortunately I didn't miss the whole thing while I was hanging out in Ontario. I volunteer for the festival; most of what I do gets done ahead of time, but I made it home on Friday in time to wash my car and drive out to the airport to pick up David Mitchell (his latest title is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet). I was star struck before I met him, he writes such good stories, but even more now, as he is quite lovely. What a relief. Imagine if I hadn't liked him. How would I explain those novels?

Anyway, I got a half hour of him to myself, a fantastic perk to this particular volunteer job, and then went to hear him read on Saturday evening. Again, he was interesting and gracious and funny. Really, if you haven't read any of his books, do, because his books are absolutely brilliant, which is the most important thing about him.

It was a most extraordinary weekend really, because I drove several other authors too, as well as members of their families. I had several good conversations, and didn't crash my car, which means they all got where they were going, at least while they were with me.

And I went to three other events besides Mitchell's, and listened to several writers whose work I didn't know and will look for now. And bonus, on Sunday afternoon I got to hear Ivan Coyote read/tell another story. She is worth the price of admission to just about anything. And on a whim I went to the last event Sunday night, and picked up The First Person and other stories, by Ali Smith, because I liked what she read and I liked what she said.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

shifts and changes

Life is quite the journey, so when your life takes a turn, going on a trip isn't a bad idea at all. I'm living solo again. My partner has moved out, at my request, and so we'll now see how dating works out. Happily ever after isn't entirely easy to work out, at least for some of us. But that's all the personal drama I will report on here, sorry.

I left my house and cat in good hands last week, not running away, but in a serendipitously timed, long-planned trip to a wedding. Therefore I spent several days in Stratford, attending two plays and the wedding, so in effect, attended much theatre. Dangerous Liaisons was the first play, and brilliantly done. I got completely involved in the story (even though I knew it) and felt the tragedy of the ending. Ah, life is harsh, and people often unkind (and no, that's not a personal comment).

The wedding was brimming with hope, love, and potential for longevity. Happily Ever After seems possible. I like it.

The third day I saw As You Like It, which was less successful (than the first play or the real wedding) though I'd say the audience didn't seem to agree with me, so perhaps I was just worn out. Or all the relationships in the play just seemed silly after seeing a real-life happy ending/beginning. Or it's just that I've seen the play too often, and should have just gone for a walk by the river. A longer walk, anyway, because I did use that route getting to the theatre and back again. Stratford is a very pretty town; I've finally (in my getting-old age) come to appreciate places that don't have mountains. I've embraced variety!

I left Stratford by train, a mode of transportation that is less useful in BC, as there are greater distances, and fewer places to go. It's too bad, because it makes a good contemplative trip free from airport 'security' and friskings (on the way out of Vancouver I declined to step through their microwave oven, and so got patted down thoroughly instead. This profiling has to stop.). The train trip was a bit long, because of some contortions VIA Rail had to go through because of a derailment that day, but they got me where I was going, finally. And since then I've been having a leisurely visit with one of my kids and her partner. Again, I'm cheered by youth and hope.

And I've done some shopping. The therapeutic effect is real.