Monthly Archive: October 2007

Home cooking

As a writer, you make some assumptions about who your audience is. In the case of Fantasy in Florence, I imagined that most readers would be over forty and looking for a change in their lives. Wrong! Turns out students are reading the book, too. Here’s part of an email from a post-grad student who read the book as a break from her regular studies. I’ve left out her name, faculty and school. “I just finished reading your book, Fantasy in Florence. I wanted to write to you to tell you how much I enjoyed it! I lived in Florence...

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Update and an apology

Andrew Waite’s wonderful installation, Crop, so glowingly described in my earlier post about Nuit Blanche, is on display until November 15 in the Mediterranean Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. The name of the McCaul Street gallery where Crop appeared during Nuit Blanche was Prime, not Pride. My apologies to all concerned.

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Writers for Wellspring

On Sunday, November 18, Sandy and I will be among the honored guests at the annual Writers for Wellspring benefit in London, Ont. This event will feature such well-known writers as Kelley Armstrong, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Heather O’Neill, Maggie L. Wood and Joan Barfoot. We’re in esteemed company, but I hope the other authors will excuse me for specifically citing Joan Barfoot, who is honorary chair that day. In the 1960s Joan and I worked together on The Gazette, the student newspaper at the University of Western Ontario, and I have fond memories of her fine work way back then. We’ve...

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How to write a book: Part four

Chapter openings are important because they need to draw the reader in with a promise of an interesting time. The opening scene of October just up and presented itself to me on Via Roma, right outside our apartment, when we spotted Jean Chretien meandering along. Despite the fact we’d never before met, he knew we must be Canadians because we were grinning foolishly at him in the shock of recognition. The former prime minister chatted easily and filled us in on why he was carrying two shopping bags from Tod’s, the luxury leather goods store. Ecco! I had my chapter...

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Viva Domenica

Sandy and I taped an interview last night about Fantasy in Florence for Viva Domenica, a lifestyle variety show that will air on Thanksgiving Sunday, October 7 at 6 p.m. Eastern on TLN, the Italian language channel. (Check your local listings. In Toronto, Rogers carries TLN on channel 35.) I’ve been in a lot of green rooms – as they call the waiting room in TV – but never with a more diverse group. Other guests who gathered to tape their segments included Father John Borean who helps run an orphanage in El Salvador, Mike Marcantonio on home-made wine, Lee...

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Nuit blanche

Until very recently, I had never heard of Ann Hamilton. Saturday night we were part of her “listening choir” at Nuit Blanche, the all-night art celebration. Hamilton, who represented the U.S. at the 1999 Venice Biennale, is an installation artist who teaches at Ohio State University. As part of her contribution to Nuit Blanche she led the two-dozen member choir in our offering, which consisted of standing silently, eyes closed, in a line inside the Ontario College of Art and Design, listening to the noises around for twelve minutes. We then repeated the “performance” outside on McCaul Street. Some passersby...

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