Friday, July 3, 2009

Mixed Moods - Short Stories and Music

Sun and Clouds - But No Rain

My mood this weekend was like the weather - mixed. We had sun and clouds and some threats of rain - and even rain in the distance - but happiliy, no real big storm. I dare say we certainly have had enough rain and could use a few weeks of dry and hot weather.

My mood matched - happy and then for some reason a bit less so...

So, moods mixed this weekend. Don't get me wrong, I had a great weekend... I went up to Lake Simcoe to visit my friend Alex at his cottage on Saturday and had a fabulous visit. Alex just got back from 3 months in Spain. He was doing a "semi-volunteer" job of assisting in the schools with English language classes. I say "semi", as he was provided with accommodation and a very small stipend each month. I got the low down on his time there and some ideas for my Cuba trip next year.

Alex introduced me to the concept of "couch surfing", something he learned about from his son and he has "couch surfed" in a few different destinations. Go here to learn more about "couch surfing".

We trucked around Jackson's Point and up and down the Lake Simcoe Lakeshore Road and did some sight seeing at a Historic Church which had a lakeside location and happened to be the burial sight of Stephen Leacock. I took some photos which will be the topic of a future blog.

Last night I watched the 3rd and final installment of the Symphony of Fire fireworks and it was as spectacular as expected. Today I did not do as much on my novel as I had hoped to, but I am plugging along with the ideas and am still forging ahead with enthusiasm. I got a bit sidetracked with another bit of a short story plot which has been swirling in my brain - but it must be put aside as I can only birth one baby at a time.

I did get tied up with a Mavis Gallant short story which set my mind thinking and hence probably both the ensuing dip in mood and the genesis of another story idea. I have since decided that Gallant deserves all the glowing accolades on the back cover - including the praise leveled by Michael Ondaatje " of the great short story tellers of our time".

I have decided my favourite story - actually included in each of the two books I have by this author (the 2nd is an anthology), is "In the Tunnel", which was written in 1971. While the story's main theme is one of cruelty and exploitation, it is written in an engaging manner and you are both sympathetic with and amused by what you are reading, well at least for the first 2/3rds of the story. I like a story which can be enjoyed on several levels and this is one such story, which left me thinking...

There is an interview with Mavis Gallant in the Walrus Magazine in which she discusses In the Tunnel. The interviewer also offers some interpretive commentary comparing Gallant's style to Ann Munro's which I believe rings true. To read it go here.

I heard a new young singer tonight on the CBC Radio 2 Concerts series. Her name is Niki Yanousky and she is 15 years old. Listening to her sing on the radio, I had no idea how young she was, except she was singing a song with the lyrics "too young for the blues". When the song ended and she started with the between song banter, I could tell she was quite young by the sound of her voice and the references to Mom. She was born in Montreal, Quebec and has been singing professionally since she was 12. I bet she will have a long and successful career.

This You Tube features an interview and a song. If you want to hear her first before deciding to listen to the interview, skip to 3:39.

If you want to hear the CBC Radio 2 Concert featuring Niki Yanasky go here.


  1. I agree that Niki doesn't sound like she is only 15 years old when singing.

    I am a little more than 1/2 way through the book "Someone Knows My Name". It is taking me a little longer to read this book than it does when I read my usual lighthearted romantic novels or novels that are tagged as "suspenseful romantic". I am enjoying the book, though. The book is engaging my mind, leaving me thinking, as you described in your review of the book that you read :-)

  2. unbelievable first photo Peggy!! really special.


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