Things are a little different for me in London this time: it is finally warm here when I visit for once! Most days, I work from the garden office and enjoy my super salad lunches while sipping a glass of rose. My writing is going a little slower after my mini-holiday, and I am also at another challenging spot in my story: What really happened, and how did that actually shape what happened after that? Is what I now say really true, and will it still be true for me 5 years from now? It feels that writing down your past for others to partake in, and possibly dissect, requires a certain commitment to your own truths. I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes, by Margaret Laurence: “A popular misconception is that we can’t change the past – everyone is constantly changing their own past, recalling it, revising it.” I must keep reminding myself that a book, whether auto-biographical, historical, or otherwise, is but a snapshot in time of someone’s interpretation of their truth.
I am now, for a while, back in the land of the daily breakfast smoothie and 3-minute Pilates routine, brilliant public transport (for the able-bodied, anyway), and a pub at least on every other corner. I am also, briefly, reunited with my second love: my London cycle, the Viking Prelude. Life is better from behind the handlebars, I once said to a friend, and it still feels true today. My favourite images of people on bicycles that I have seen on my various travels are the 50-something ladies, smartly dressed in skirts or jeans, swinging their high-heeled foot off their bicycle as they slow down to park; the mothers and fathers with one, two or a bucket-full-of-kids mounted onto their bicycles; and the (usually) elder men cycling blissfully with a cane attached to their bicycle frame for when they must walk. It is visions like these in most countries I have travelled to, that inspire in me the “live as you are” feeling.
Artistic inspirations surround me here. On our walks around town, my London host and I get artsy with the street art (and a little Photoshopping afterwards).
I find additional inspiration from the Billy Elliot and Spamalot musicals. The latter was even more goofy than the Monty Python movie version, but the former was quite breath-taking and moving – as many sniffles and sounds of search for tissue from the audience can attest to. The elegance of movement of the ballet prodigy has given me some fresh ideas. This lead child-actor was superb to watch. Bravo!
My tech-savvy London host equips me with a few more book writing and reading gadgets to try out during my stay. The handheld iPod Touch (iTouch) picks up the wireless keyboard via Bluetooth as a possible on-the-go writing option… I test out reading an ebook on the iPad Kindle app as a possible book publication format… I am amazed by all this technology that I barely understand, and I think I can increasingly relate to the generations that came before me. Various friends advise me of links to potentially useful blogs written by others about writing and publishing a book. It is incredibly supportive. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with what helpful words of wisdom and interesting experiences others may have to share, and this, too, helps me better relate to the readers (or would-be-readers) of my stories on this website.
When feeling nostalgic about the past, and a little sad about a current plan ending, it is advisable to start making a new one. This wisdom was prompted by a timely invitation that I received from the Vancouver Writers’ Meetup Group. As I wind down my Book Writing Tour 2013, with one more 12-day stop in Ontario before I return home for my 3-week finale, it heartens me a little to know that I have a weekend writing retreat in September to look forward to in Vancouver. With both London and Vancouver calling, I remain forever with “One Foot in Europe”.
And in Europe is where I celebrated my 4th anniversary of my possibly life-saving, or at least life-prolonging, surgery of 2009. Unlike in previous years, instead of hosting a potluck open-house for caring friends and acquaintances on a Sunday afternoon around July 14th, I spent the day having a relaxing garden breakfast, cycling around London, acquiring a very pretty designer-style summer dress, and making Beet Bourguignon with Lentils and Brown Rice – all with a good friend here. With this very special adaptation of the better known beef bourguignon, I am now back on track with the Special Dish for the Week. With my London host, we also made a mid-week dish of another Tomato, Cardamom, Chickpea and Coconut Sauce over Spelt Pasta.