CELEBRATING CANADA DAY
"A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends." Cecily James.
It's been a few weeks of holidays and celebrating. The best parts of it were some of the times I spent with my friends. On Canada Day several of us met in the park at Granville island and spent the afternoon listening to music. It was the end of the jazz festival (I missed most of those events) and a big day of celebrating Canada's 141st Birthday. The sun was hot and the crowds all enthusiastic as they waves flags and enjoyed the day. A real show of patriotism. And a fun day for me with my friends, beginning with lunch at an Indian restaurant, then the music in the park, then a late bite to eat at our favorite jazz venue on the Drive.
www.yaletowngallery.com) The paintings were by a well-known BC poet and a good crowd showed up. My friend Jabbar is the gallery curator so we always try to go to the exhibits. It's a small gallery in a prestigious part of the city (Yaletown). Now, here's the part of this story that connects with my writing. Jabbar asked me about Shadow of the Lion. When would I finish it? Then he suggested something that certainly served as a huge inspiration. He said that perhaps when it is finished, I can do a reading at the Gallery. He would invite Iraqi and perhaps Greek artists to display. And I said, "Yes, considering you are one of the characters in the novel!"
The story is this: I have a fictional character named Nabarzanes who is a Persian court advisor from Babylon. I had written a lot about Nabarzanes and had a vision of him in my mind. But one day when I was in the L.Q. where my friends and I hang out, I saw this man and immediately I did a double take because HE was Nabarzanes. Eventually I got to be introduced to this tall, dark stranger (who I was sure was from the Middle East) and it turned out he was a refugee from Iraq, a well-known artist from Baghdad who had to flee Sadaam's regime. He and I have become good friends and that's our little 'in' joke -- that he is the embodiment of Nabarzanes.
Whether or not this 'reading' ever happens time will tell. But it was certainly a jolt of inspiration that I needed. "Hurry up and finish it!" Jabbar said. And I will!
So then the weekend came and it was salsa dancing time again. Every weekend 'the gang' gets together at our favorite haunt, the Latin Quarter, to enjoy the excellent Latin music of a group called Sumalao. This Friday was one of those nights full of high energy and fun.
People showed up who we haven't seen in awhile and everyone was in a merry mood. I was even given a yellow rose, a very sweet gesture from one of the Latino men. My friend Anibal used to play percussion with this group and of course there are always moments during the evening when I really miss him and start to feel nostalgic. But this was a night for being happy. It was the weekend. And life is good.
Today, Sunday, I finished tidying up my apartment and cleaning up the balcony. Then I went to buy new plants and meet my good friend Astarte for coffee. We ended up hanging out together all afternoon, bought the plants, then went to her place to drink mojitos and eat some snacks. It's been a good week, and now it's time to start some serious writing again. I'm feeling much better in mind and body.
The acupuncture has really helped my painful back/foot problem; I have managed to quieten myself and feel I am more centred once again but I still intend to keep on the regime of diet, exercise and meditation. The weather is supposed to be great all week. And even though I'll be busy teaching two night school classes a week for the month of July, I will still enjoy my outings to the beach and my social get-togethers with the wonderful group of friends I have. Yes...and for sure...I'm going to be working on the novel again. You'll see another snippet posted soon! And oh yes...tomorrow I have an interview with a prestigious writers group of retired people who need a life writing instructor. And more writing-related events are happening in the next 3 weeks.