Thursday, 10 January 2013

OUT OF SYNCH -- April 2012 returns!

(It would appear that, once an entry gets misplaced in the system, there's no way to put it back where it belongs, so if you come to this now, in January 2013, you must let your mind drift back several months to last year's springtime... and for further enjoyment, you can always visit Beth Kaplan's blog, any time of year....)

Well, as you've noticed if you come on to this blogsite from time to time, I only come on here from time to time too... I wish that I had the blogger's gifts of dedication, continuity and constancy, but the truth is, I am just getting used to this idea, and it turns out that I am slow to the boil (and so if I were a sauce, you'd say I was a bit thick... well maybe that's the problem!)

Still, here I am again to report that Beth Kaplan's visit to Le Mas Blanc Writer's Retreat was an unqualified success (although she did make a few improving suggestions which I will follow) and for a more thorough story on that account, check out her website from where you can easily move to her blogsite...

The day she left, I went up to Paris by train for an overnight on my way to Rotterdam... Paris presented itself as the gorgeous city we all know it to be, and the sunshine reflected beautifully off the perfectly cleaned front face of Notre Dame. I visited my old friend Brian Spence, proprietor of THE ABBEY BOOKSHOP, the only true Canadian bookshop in Paris (29 rue de la Parcheminerie, just off the Boulevard St. Germain at the corner of the Cluny Museum and that lovely old church Saint Severin).

And then on to the Netherlands where I had the good fortune to lead a workshop with ten exceptional women, including one other Canadian, Kate Carpenter, who lives in Brussels now with her husband and family, and who has just released a terrific CD -- her own voice singing, her own compositions, and the haunting back-up harmonica of an extraordinary Argentinian muscian... It's called TRAVEL ME, and you can get more info about this from

With my friend Conny Steenman-Marcusse, a Dutch academic whose great interest is in Canadian literature, I spent some happy days at her house south of Rotterdam, and we cycled through the tulip fields, me thinking that I must have died and gone to heaven... We were joined by my old friend Sheila McCook (with whom I hitch-hiked through Europe back in the 60s), who presented a wonderfully rich paper to Conny's English class on the writings of two artists, Vincent Van Gogh and Emily Carr... An innovative and exciting look at how artists present themselves in words.

All in all, a most satisfactory time. And now I am home, and am going to see what I can do to add a few photos to this page... Without Beth's help, it could be tricky.