Even though I did have to plan ahead when it came to books that I didn’t own, I’m enjoying a more whimsical approach to the online interviews and what content’s available in podcast or streamed.
No updates to the first line (still reading Cat’s Eye) and on the next I can’t properly check off the Graeme Gibson square yet, either, but I am reading onwards. (It was also fun to see Graeme Gibson holding one of his bedside books in the film below!) Unsurprisingly, there is a Margaret Atwood poem in The Bedside Book of Beasts: A Wildlife Miscellany (2009), “It’s Autumn”: “They aren’t hunters, these men. /They have none of the patience of hunters, /none of the remorse. /They’re certain they own everything. /A hunter knows he borrows.”
Also on the second row, I’ve checked the square for listening to an interview; I chose one archived from 1977, Don Herron with MA on “Morningside” about Dancing Girls, the collection I’m also reading with this year’s MARM in mind, not with an eye to finishing all the stories, but to focus on the first few. She talks about balancing poetry and short stories and novel-writing. Her daughter was just 16 months old at the time (“amazing”, “tall”, “pleasant to be with”) and she’d published The Edible Woman, Surfacing and Lady Oracle. It’s interesting to hear that her way of speaking remains the same, and it’s also interesting to compare how interviewers approached her work and accomplishments then and now (the first question she’s asked, for instance, is about Jess and mothering)!
In the third row, I’m on a roll, having watched a film: In the Wake of the Flood (2010) directed by Ron Mann. Chronicling part of her seventieth year, when she took A Year of the Flood on tour, we first see the Edinburgh Book Festival and conclude in Sudbury, Ontario; in between, we see her assembling a bouquet in the garden of her home in Toronto, browsing in the National Museum of History in NYC with Graeme Gibson, drinking Birds and Beans coffee (organic and shade-grown because she cares about birds and, indeed, the whole tour has a bird-saving slant), and starting her next novel. It’s fun to see her clapping so animatedly and gratefully, for the various amateur performances of excerpts of Flood, on the various tour-stops. And I especially enjoyed the reminders of the “saints” in that trilogy, with Terry Fox, Rachel Carson, and Euell Gibbons particularly called out in this film. But if I could recommend A Word after a Word after a Word, the 2019 documentary, which appears to be available to stream on CBC Gem, via this link (for purchase, as well): it’s fab.