During my last days in London, and the last days of the European leg of my Book Writing Tour 2013, my London host and I continue the daily morning smoothie and 3-minute Pilates routine, to feed the body, in preparation for feeding the mind with my Daily Morning Pages, weekly blog story posts, working through and writing down my life’s story, and reading some insights that others share about book writing and publishing from their own experiences. In the evenings, we complete the day with some rosé to feed the spirit. We gladly retreat back to our garden dining, after our all-you-can-eat sushi tradition gets us again, before I leave that continent once more.
I land in the midst of a Toronto heatwave, with much relief after spending the 8-hour journey in frigid temperatures, with most passengers repeatedly complaining to the flight attendants, to no avail. At first, the 45ºC on the thermometer in the sun, and the 30ºC at bedtime, are welcoming. I try to do a little bit of work in the shade and among the vast greenery of my Mom’s Brampton garden, but quite quickly the heat overwhelms even me! I give in to nature, and for a couple of days, I simply visit with my Mom and Sister, going for slow walks, eating great Polish food, and engaging in many a chat, much of which assist me in sorting out my story.
Even nature gets tired of the heat, and after a few massive thunder and wicked lightening storms, the post-thunderstorm cooling brings me to downtown Toronto for a week-long writers retreat visit with my fellow writer and Toronto hostess. There, I join Melissa in a few of her daily writing and creativity-boosting rituals. She invites me to her early morning coffee shop sessions of writing, drawing and connecting with other local artists. I get a weekly guest-pass and we expand her yoga routine to include Pilates at the local YMCA, also down the street like mine in Vancouver. Throughout the day, we exchange tips on writing habits, software programs, and helpful internet resources. Our joint feedback sessions and collaborations are interspersed with creative alone-time as we migrate with our laptops and sketchpads throughout her lovely artist’s home and garden.
We make smoothies for breakfast and fabulous salads of kale and quinoa for dinner. I excitedly get to try out her stylish bright red Vitamix – the most renowned and coveted blender among vegans, raw-foodies, and most soup chefs, alike. The sweet yet spicy Watermelon Gazpacho soup tastes even better the next day for a mid-morning snack, once the flavours have had the time to infuse together. These dishes are supplemented by various goodies from my Mom’s garden and oven in the care package with which she sent me off to Toronto. All quite spontaneously, I meet several close friends of my Toronto hostess, and reconnect once more in-person with another long-time friend who is very supportive of me and my efforts.
My impressions of Toronto as a land of BBQs, cottage-getaways, and urban sprawl are slightly augmented by the highly multi-cultural Kensington Market area we lunch and shop for groceries at, and the diverse and livable West End where I am staying. This area is very close to the Polish community of Roncesvalles that was one of my first homes around Toronto as a kid when I first came to Canada. I look forward to possibly trying out the Toronto Bixi bike share, as I patiently await its installation in Vancouver, hopefully as soon as next spring!