My food memoir hit stores this week in Toronto. After a sneak peek event for family and neighbours in my garden this summer, the official launch arrived.
Dreams. They’re worth having.
Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week
The fellowship affords me an extravagant amount of time to write, and time is the most meaningful gift a writer can receive.
Homework. That’s what I gave Paschalis Gogos on the day we sat down to discuss shooting the desserts in my book. Piled high in front of us was a stack of cookbooks.
This here? This is what I don’t want. No fussy studio shots. My desserts are all tied into events. For real people.
He smiled and told me he was new at this, shooting food, but he wasn’t new to photography. Read More
As a former producer of television arts and entertainment news, I thought I knew teamwork. Middle child of five? Teams-R-US.
(Stop snickering, siblings!)
I’m not young enough to know everything.J.M. Barrie
This book of mine took up brain space without paying rent long before I sourced any help. It just sat there like a crazy squatter dreaming of a castle on a hill. The lines and bones of the castle were clear in my head, as were all the rooms inside. From head to finished product?
Roll out the team.
A week from today, my book with love and sugar will be available in a Toronto bookstore jammed with goodies.
Tucked on a Toronto midtown corner where those passing can’t help but gape at the wondrous windows, Mabel’s Fables has survived where others have fallen. Since 1988, this gem has done far more than serve up children’s stories. Dreams are the currency here. When owner Eleanor Lefave invited me to launch my food memoir in her store, I might have fallen over right then. Fortunately for the stacks of gorgeous books around me, I wobbled but stayed afloat—just.Read More
You’ve seen the hints here.
I’m such a tease.
I do like to keep my promises: my food memoir is finally here and could be in your hands for Christmas.
You love the sweet life as much as I do.
And visiting those places that always go hand in hand with pie.
You’re always wanting to expand your repertoire.
You love bringing out those special candles. I do too.
You weep a tiny tear after each child’s birthday, after the guests have gone, after you’ve swept up the sparkles all over the floor.
Maybe your life doesn’t leave you any room for reading, or lining up peaches in a row.
You may still dream… about those days in your childhood when Sundays were for pancakes, Fridays for squishing every one of us on the couch, and every day was play day with your cousins.
Everyone has a ritual lover in their family.
Is it you? This book is yours.
Click on the book cover image on the top right of this page and you’re on your way.
Those in the Toronto area interested in attending my official launch in November can shoot me an email. I also accept online bank transfers.
We all inherit something when we’re born, and that’s a place in a family narrative. And that’s what I really think the book is about. You just become a character in the story that you have no control over, including who the other people in the story are, your own place in the story, and how you’re expected to play out the expectations of family.
Once you finish chewing over that delicious quote, chew on this. Novelist Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney had never written fiction before she turned fifty. Fast forward a few years, to a bidding war, a heady advance, and her first book, The Nest, is now the buzziest title of spring.
Four siblings of the dysfunctional Plumb family of New York City agonize over a bungled inheritance. Money, sex, family, relationships: all boxes ticked here, along with a clever balance of voices and chapter hooks delivered for maximum addiction. I read it over a weekend previously earmarked for spring cleaning. Is this anyone I know? Is this everyone I know? Reading this was the closest exercise to binge-watching a juicy HBO series: utterly contemporary, darkly comedic, navel-gazing stuff. An alternate title perhaps could be “Exercise in Entitlement”. It is to Sweeney’s credit that she elicits empathy for these flawed characters, even if I’m not sure I cared enough to park it on the shelf of beloved book club selections. Also unclear in the final tally was audience. Despite the hype, this book may elude the grasp of younger readers, too busy conjuring up career paths to feel the true angst of pilfered dreams mined here.
Still, there’s much assurance in the storytelling, and while the author says The Nest is in no way autobiographical, her sense of sibling relations has won her many admirers. Perceptive as hell is one easy definition.
“Everyone’s always on the hunt for a mirror. It’s basic psychology. You want to see yourself reflected in others. Others—your sister, your parents—they want to look at you and see themselves. They want you to be a flattering reflection of them—and vice-versa. It’s normal. I suppose it’s really normal if you’re a twin. But being somebody else’s mirror? That is not your job.”
Now a resident of LA, Sweeney spent almost three decades as a New Yorker, and this shines throughout−the book is as much about that storied city as it is about the struggle of her characters. Stay tuned for a cinematic adaptation, as sure as the conversation you will have in your head after reading this, or maybe, if you’re lucky, with book club members: what kind of nest are you building?
Would it be cheating to say meringue ones?
Just add rhubarb.
Or lemon curd and a gooey blueberry sauce.
More thoughts on my nest here:
Quibble away with T. S Eliot’s charge that April is the cruelest month, but my shovel knows better. Love or loathe it, frosty or green, April is here and needs your attention. National Poetry month is upon us and all eyes are on the road.
It’s time to celebrate the roads we travel, the roads we wish to travel, the roads we’ve found and made and cherished for decades.
Fitting on a day where a few million traveled through familiar slop and slush, the 2016 theme from the League of Canadian Poets, currently marking their 50th anniversary, hopes to celebrate the timeless journey of poetry. Canadians can take part by planning readings and events (share it on social media with the hashtag@NPM16)—
Wait, stop, another event?
It’s Monday. I know, I know. You’re muttering (a Monday ritual) Where did the weekend go and there’s five days before the next one and you just want to go back to hibernating until the real spring comes. Wake me up when the green is here.
How about I wake you up with a little profane slamming? No, that’s not what it sounds like. POETRY SLAMMING, sweet peas.
In addition to corralling Canadians on a cultural road trip, the League today has also announced the winner of the Golden Beret, a national prize in spoken word poetry, awarded today to RC Weslowski. You can read this Vancouver talent’s bio here or you can watch this performance he’s posted on his website. The video, called There’s No Fucking Time to Fucking Live, was posted in 2014 so it is dated, but you may share his frustrations.
Warning: If you are dreaming of bucolic April vistas, this video may not be to your liking. There’s a lot of F bombs. If you liked Stephen Harper or Rob Ford, it won’t be to your liking either. You can log off and go back to
sleep work. I won’t be offended. Poetry slams are feisty affairs and not for the fainthearted.
As for that poetry directive, this roadie is game. I’m thinking today about a trippy train trip and my first encounter with the Canadian prairies.
Blink open to black motion
A heavy curtain drowns out place
Rum breath stumble, some drunk’s lot
teetering near my upper bunk
The others are undisturbed
but me, I’m on full alert
The intruder wanders off
I slip down, pass the sleeping berths
Find my father window watching
Outside the land races
Miles of flattened carpet
lit up by forked streaks stabbing the sky
We hear little but the wheels rounding the tracks
The flashing repeats, sharp defined strokes
through the glass
I wait for the hills
the flat flows
further yet further
I want to wake up everybody
think better of it
Sit out the night with Dad
fingers on the map
eyes on the silent storm
I remember the hokey hypnosis we tried at summer camp
But this midnight sideshow
on a moving train
beats all that.
Anne Langford © Holding Glass, 2001
Lots of gorgeous poetic language can be found in “All the Light We Cannot see”, my pick for favourite winter read, chosen for our book club last month by the equally gorgeous Nancy.
As absorbing as the narrative was, the brilliant characters and their many connections with one another will linger with me for some time. And all of Anthony Doerr’s beautiful lines:
“To men like that, time was a surfeit, a barrel they watched slowly drain. When really, he thinks, it’s a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop.”Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
More on spring here
More on spoken word here
More on poetry here
More on time here
This writer’s mind is meandering this morning, wandering through all the love pitstops, to those who’ve won a piece of my heart; surely, like yours, stolen and stomped on enough times to earn me some wisdom.
You won’t find any here on this lonely hearts club day for many. Plunging headlong with abandon is the only way I know how.
I’m with Rumi.
Someone who does not run toward the allure of love walks a road where nothing lives.
Have no one to share your bed?
Sprinkle something spectacular at the doorstep of friends and neighbours in your community. Children know already that having one Valentine is never as much fun as a stuffed shoebox of notes from a posse of pals, or sugar cookies with an abundance of sprinkles.
Today also marks the start of an international week of random acts of kindness. Here’s an ambassador who walks the walk.
Those who celebrated Galentine’s Day yesterday interpret the holiday as girlfriend power, as dreamed up by Amy Poehler’s character from TV’s Parks and Recreation.
My Valentine, known around here for such grand romantic gestures as mopping the floors after a bash (yes, I hate housework. I’m no fool to have found a man who loves it), is a guy who loves razzmatazz as much as me. For him, I pull out a little Mary Oliver.
I did think, let’s go about this slowly.
This is important. This should take
some really deep thought. We should take
small thoughtful steps.
But, bless us, we didn’t.
My current favourite list of the do’s and don’ts of falling in love.
Prefer to listen then read? The wonderful NY Times Modern Love column is now a podcast.
Still looking for a way to deliver romance? Perhaps you can only dream of sending a box of these very sexy paper roses, created in Paris by Kazumi Duncan.
I’m sticking with a classic.
A bite of this velvet truffle tart will deliver a giddy high only subscribers to my buzz sheet know about. Want the recipe to make for your Valentine? Sign up here.
What are you going to do to fill your romantic plate?