amongst books

amongst books

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Ottawa, July 26, 2020 – Forest Green Bicyles, German Snapchat Wanks and the Imagination

A cold that arrived on Wednesday, July 15 is gone now with just the last remnants of a cough. I never had a fever or breathing issues, and quickly developed nasal issues, sneezing and using up too many tissues, so I figured there was no chance it was Covid-19. I haven’t been out of the apartment since that Wednesday just before the onset of the cold. I rarely leave now. I’d like to do a wander in mild weather soon at a time when I don’t have to navigate the mutual anxieties of strangers. I had a dream recently that I was riding a green bicycle and wearing a necklace of flowers. It felt very freeing. Until the bicycle was stolen. This is a good analogy for 2020.

 In my cocoon, I continue to write and work on various publishing activities. I have been reading for research for the podcast, for my own writing projects and for pleasure. When the cough keeps me awake into the wee smalls, I read novels on Kindle in the dark in bed. Most recently I devoured The House on Selkirk Avenue by Irena Karafilly about a woman in her fifties who returns from Alberta to her old neighbourhood in Montreal and reconsiders her past, including a relationship with a francophone that ended due to the FLQ crisis in the seventies. It was a fascinating book that managed to distract me for a few late nights, for which I am grateful.

 It wasn’t a particularly long novel, but I adore such. The last epic novel I read and devoured was Isabelle Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea and before that Michael Christie’s Greenwood, which I found exceptionally compelling. Another thick favourite tome from many years ago, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy which took me three months to read. Annie Proulx’s novels also never fail to fascinate me and keep me occupied, particularly the Shipping News and her last epic novel, Barkskins. I am currently reading Paddy Scott’s wonderful the Union of Smokers to my husband aloud. Due to my cold, I had to stop reading it aloud this month, but I’m looking forward to returning to it soon.


My ambition is to one day write an epic novel about women, friendships, love, sex, treatment in the workplace, health, etc. I began it in 2015 or so but I haven’t been able to make a lot of progress. Still ever since I read Robertson Davies’ The Depford Trilogy in my twenties I have wanted to spin a good yarn. My inability to focus on one project at a time is both a blessing and a curse, I suppose. Maybe I will be able to write this novel when I am older. Right now I’m too busy with various other projects.

I keep up with the news about Covid-19, on-going issues of anti-Black racism and news of my friends, their health and concerns. Otherwise I am leading a fairly inward life, being able to work on what I need to work on without interruption and I’m fine with that.

Charles continues to work at the office, and take public transit, will even have to take the train out of town at some point soon for work. While others are engaging with the world out of necessity, I am increasingly less interested in physical engagement with others and more inclined to keep myself comfortable and my brain active, here on the 19th floor.

My libido is satisfied with depraved and imaginary fantasy encounters with gents online. I had a recent Snapchat call from a fellow in Germany and after we had enjoyed exploring the depths of each other’s compatible fantasy kinks, and reached satisfactory conclusion, we chatted about how this is the sort of stuff we absolutely wouldn’t do in real life but it was so much fun to imagine. That’s kind of what my life is like these days. Imagination has always been my home.

I feel very fortunate to be in relatively good health, to have a safe and comfortable apartment to inhabit, to have a darling husband who is a great companion, lover and confidante, copious amounts of reading material, enough food and drink to sustain me physically and the occasional contact with dear friends over e-mail or messaging. I haven’t need for anything else. 

I feel like my anxiety levels have settled down a great deal in the last month or so. This pandemic is going to be with us for a while. I’d rather adapt to this new reality rather than expect a return to the way things used to be. The way things used to be wasn’t great for many people anyway. The pandemic is demonstrating all the injustices that have been going on for far too long and perhaps if any of us survive, there will be reforms to political and social systems to prevent the kind of devastation that is being experienced today by so many.

What are you reading lately? What are you writing? How are you coping?

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