Jane's Space

Jane's news and thoughts.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

September 22, 2007



It seems like forever since I wrote this blog.
The summer has sped by, and I am trying to catch it now. Luckily for all of us, summer is lingering into fall. But today is gusty, the red roses are whipping in the wind, and there are yellow maple leaves scudding around the lawn and driveway, offending my pink and blue colour scheme.

Summer was so busy that for the first time in seven years I didn’t put up the Bofa news. I forgot that when you are looking after kids you have no other life. Has it been that long? But I did have the joy of my grandchildren and of exploring summer with them.

Summer was a season of falls for me. Three on stairs. I tore a knee meniscus, (twice), and then a toe, and then sprained an ankle. Not so good. Ice and crutches have worked wonders, and physio is looking after my ankle now, but I am anxious to be ‘normal' again.

Summer meant:

* The Poets’ Pathway was pretty well in abeyance.

* Going to Stratford. Such a treat! I went with my first Drama babies from Laurentian. From 1976, 7, 8. We had an idyllic trip, full of laughter and happiness. We loved the plays - well not Merchant of Venice... we drove home from Hamilton listening to the soundtrack from Oklahoma, through soft summer air with a full orange moon riding low beside us, hearts full .

* Visiting Toronto, seeing Stephanie and Glenn’s new house.

* Making my garden beautiful.

* Spending time at Marjory’s lodge, watching my grandson swim and learn to row, watching him come home in the boat with two really big bass - the first fish he ever caught.

*Going to a cottage, movies, beaches, swimming pools, the Fools’ Twelfth Night and the Odyssey show. Attending more than 20 concerts at the Chamber Music Festival, and more at the NAC and the Governor-General's home, and getting drunk on piano and violin and Beethoven. Even though I was on crutches I saw quite a few Fringe plays in the muggy heat. (Ottawa U has a lot of sidewalks and stairs around its theatres!)

*Visiting with Marjorie Malpass and Erin Pleet, who started me on Facebook, and Michelle Rakos and Adam Denault and Levon Henderson and Neil Smith and Sheri Segal - seeing Mike Valliant-Saunders and his two lovely children, and Duane Keogh and Christie Watson and Steve Fisher and Cari Leslie and Martin Gero. And Carol.


I saw Margaret Atwood in the flesh! She was a guest of honour at the opening night party of The Penelopiad at the NAC. On Sunday I am attending a workshop, and she will be speaking in the afternoon in the Studio. It is interesting to compare her natural voice with the one I am used to in her work. The Penelopiad is a compelling production, and highly visual; stunningly disciplined. There are 13 female actors in it, no guys. Margaret Atwood was composed and witty, dry and honest and composed and intelligent, of course.

We went to see Duane Keogh and The Town Pants performing at Grace O’Malley’s. Poor Duane was sick, but still full of energy, bouncing and singing, resounding off the walls - I don't know who has more energy than the Town Pants. They are amazing, and a packed house loved them.

I learned how to do Power Point for some presentations for the Poet's Pathway, in the fall. I had a wonderful time taking photos of spots along the 35-kilometre trail, and finding poems by the Confederation Poets to go with them. Mind you, often I was trying to find photos to go with a poem, and that's more difficult.
It wasn't nearly as much fun speaking at a microphone at the NCC's first public forum though, while someone kept waving at me to hurry up.

I am still taking piano lessons, and practising every day; this summer I had a meltdown over my piano playing when I heard myself on tape for the first time, at an electronic piano. But now I can't wait to get into the grade 6 Conservatory book, silly I know, because of course it will be even harder than the grade 5 book, which still has lots of challenges for me!

My first study guide for the NAC was due in November. It was on Macbeth. I worked maybe 200 hours, maybe 400! but I loved doing it.
It's on line, as are Jim's study guides, on the NAC site, in a section called Arts Alive. Or here ( if you want to study Macbeth some more!) : http://www.nac-cna.ca/en/allaboutthenac/publications/education/macbeth_guide.pdf
Part of preparing for it was attending some wonderful workshops - one with the brilliant Peter Hinton (artistic director of the NAC) and one with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Young People Fucking

Going to Martin's movie was a joy.
So many people everywhere, milling and excited and laughing, Martin exhausted, my son-in-law, Glenn, (a producer of the movie), exhausted, Stephanie exhausted; people sleeping on the apartment floor, people in the restaurant afterwards, bemoaning their lack of tickets which were all sold out, the staff lining up to say goodbye at the door. A sunny day, an early movie: 9:30am. And on every street corner, copies of NOW and Martin's face and Aaron's, looming large! And the movie, so funny and good-hearted and sometimes, well, where do you LEARN that stuff?


I saw Adam before he left for the great green north of BC.
Adam asked, do you like shrimp? Then he arrived, lugging a heavy shiny pasta maker.
I couldn’t help peel the shrimp, ugh, grey sluggy things- and Adam made pasta, mixing it right on the counter, cooking the shrimp to pink perfection – the meal was delicious. Truly, it was. The best shrimp I have ever tasted, tender and sweet!

Stephanie and I went to Stratford to see the workshop of David Nugent's stunning musical.
Jim went too, and Ben and Naomi, in fact there were hundreds of people watching. A dozen of Stratford's best singers lined up facing each other and sang and read their lines at music stands, with four musicians behind them. The musical was funny and touching and horrifying, as Dave satirized small-town morality and capital punishment.

Incredible, really. Barely a decade after graduating, Martin has made a popular film, and Dave has written a musical and workshopped it at Stratford.


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