It was cool and cloudy - a welcome change from sunny and humid. I loaded my quiet morning stuff - Bach's Double Concerto for two violins (D minor), Glenn Gould playing Bach's Piano Concerto No.7 (G minor), Roy Ayers playing We Live in Brooklyn, Baby (key of summer) - into my media player, pushed up the volume a little, and sat outside with a coffee and a couple of books.
One was Focused On Practice, Horsman and Woodrow (eds). There's stuff in there, and in what's happened since, that I want to revisit.
The other was Stephen Brunt's Gretzky's Tears.
On the run-up to Canada Day, somebody - I think the Ontario coalition, or maybe ABC Canada - was on twitter asking us for our favourite Canadian authors. I didn't reply, actually, but I thought it a delightful question, because it raised the specter of enjoying reading. Maybe even reading for reading's sake. An attitude too often lost or smothered in the current literacy-as-business environment. One of the joys of the Quality Storytents program is hanging out with people who just want to read.
Up the street, to general approval, there's a reading program that showers children with prizes and awards for reading or sitting still or being good students or something... but that ain't us. We read because we like reading. We read to or with or by ourselves. And the kids and adults who wander into the tent also read... to or with or by themselves.
Wish you were here.
By the way, if I had answered about my favourite Canadian authors.... Well, my first thought, 3 weeks ago and now, was of Pierre Berton and Donald Creighton. There's no one else I read harder to understand my country and my neighbours. But, among contemporary authors, I'd have to say Stephen Brunt and Jacques Poitras.
Besides the Wayne Gretzky book (Chapters link) - which, by the way, is as much about the business of hockey as it is about the player(s) - Brunt wrote Searching for Bobby Ore (Chapters link). Both books made me shiver and laugh and feel deeply sad about something I can't quite define. Also, maybe because he works out of the Toronto media scene, it seems like Brunt is telling a Canadian story to Canadians. I like that - patriotic chauvinist that I am.
Poitras, on the other hand, writes like somebody from New Brunswick - which he is - and I don't know how well his two history books travel outside the province. But I don't care. The Right Fight: Bernard Lord and the Conservative Dilemma (Chapters link) changed the way I looked at the French-English debate in NB. Beaverbrook: A Shattered Legacy (Chapters link) taught me the story of the art gallery where I'd previously spent many hours pondering art distinct from finances. Now, I read, he's working on a book about " the story of the NB-Maine border - past, present & future."
I can't wait. If it comes out at the right time, I expect I'll read it in the Storytent.
That's what we do - read stuff. Wish you were here.