Category Archives: News Item

The Radetzky March

A week ago in Spain I was grateful for the spotless train windows. On the station platform, workers in yellow uniforms reached up with their cloths as easily as if they were cleaning windows in a room. The train pulled … Continue reading

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Deathbed

Every so often I’m asked if I love movies as much as Harriet in Garbo Laughs. I say that I do, then admit that I don’t watch movies much anymore: I can’t figure out the three remote controls. The last … Continue reading

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Old Dogs

I traded advice with my daughter the other day – we were talking about the brave leap that all creativity requires. It can’t happen if you belabour and pummel yourself. It takes courage and self-forgetfulness. She knows this as well … Continue reading

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Signs of Life

January comes to an end. It makes me think of crooked teeth, this difficult month. Winter in rack and ruin. Our skating canal lopped off at the knees by freezing rain. Snow thawed and refrozen a dozen times. Walking a … Continue reading

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Canadian

I find it extraordinarily sad, the sale of my proud and struggling Canadian publisher, McClelland & Stewart, to Random House, the German-owned conglomerate. Even though I can guess at the realities and appreciate the relief my friends at M&S tell … Continue reading

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Apricots

It’s tough to be sleepless at this time of year since we turn down the heat before going to bed. At two a.m. it’s on with my bathrobe, on with my llama wool socks and downstairs to hot milk, a … Continue reading

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Delacroix Never Won a Prize

I keep eight or so quotations on a corner of my desk, written on slips of paper and held together by a paper clip, reaching for them when I’m low or lost or ashamed of myself. Here’s one. Jean Renoir … Continue reading

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Phil Hall’s ‘Killdeer’

Tomorrow my mother turns 92. Yesterday she was so agitated and confused. “The day has been sloppish, sloppish!” she said. “Just sloppish.” My lovely little crooked bird of a mother. I persuaded her to let me wash her hair in … Continue reading

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In Celebration of Bookstores

Two weeks ago I drove to a small miracle of a bookstore in the Ottawa Valley, the Arnprior Book Shop forty-five minutes northwest of Ottawa. Then last week I dropped into the London Review Bookstore near the British Museum. In … Continue reading

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On the road

What I take with me when I travel. Ear plugs. Sleeping pills (each divided in four). Books. This time American Pastoral by Philip Roth, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. Tylenol. Umbrella, since I’ll be in Vancouver … Continue reading

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