It's 3:34 a.m. on Friday morning. I was in bed. I got up to write this.
It's about friendship.
For over two weeks, I worked almost daily on a today piece about a feature story I wrote years ago. Wrestling with how to explore historic disappointment and put something to rest with a scattering of grace.
The writing was strong, but still, I felt unsure. Those are the right conditions to send it to Jay — poet, cyclist, father, husband, entrepreneur, ally, and all-around brilliant friend. A former Stratford Chef School student from light years ago. He wrote a beautiful essay I read as the Gastronomy teaching assistant. It was a relief. That was the year Kitchen Confidential was released. I thought I'd lose my mind.
I give Jay lots of space. No pressure to respond. Because what comes back…well, you'll see.
I had two questions (I edited his responses for length):
Does this have enough humility in it?
"Yes, but also a soupçon of righteous indignation as a counterpoint and I love it. I read it as managing disappointment and holding onto optimism. There's humility but also pride in equal measure in your writing, and it's a nice balance."
Does it read like I'm polishing old resentments?
"Again, yes, sounds like there's some polishing going on but that's ok. Today pieces are these intimate little essay sketches and don't necessarily have to be fully fleshed out or super slick. It's all about the process. People will appreciate and learn from your life experiences."
I sat for a couple of hours with his thoughts.
I called my mom and read his answers to her. She'd read my piece, too. I went to bed. Lying in the dark, this whole thing came to me.
I cried. About it all. About everything lately.
Made my mind up to print the story I sent to Jay at the library. I'll bring it home and set it on fire. Collect the ashes in a jar.
I knew that I was free and I knew that freedom was just like it says in the speeches. It's worth whatever you have to pay to get it.
The Passenger, Cormac McCarthy
A little further on in his email, Jay wrote,
"Here's my favourite song at the moment mostly about humility/pride, contradictions, about creation and destruction, about above and below."
He also sent me a long interview with the poet Jane Hirshfield. To shift my perspective. As green as the promise of spring.
Some students came to teach me.
The back of a woman's blazer in a posh shop on Yonge Street near Roxborough. It would look good on me.
I am post-menopausal. It is beautiful. There was a new freedom when I stopped bleeding. I am in an intellectual, emotional, and sexual renaissance. A new order of personal power not unique to me. It's something all women are experiencing or can anticipate.
Why am I telling you this?
Because a troll on social media tried to take me down with it.
I don't recommend this. You can trust me to have done the research. But type post-menopausal into the search bar on Twitter. Between posts with merit, you'll find the sad humans. Some of you might say that's the whole site. It's not.
They don't know I have a black belt in erasure. From all the years working in professional kitchens. You know this fight scene in Enter The Dragon? Watch the first two minutes. Bruce Lee is me. Also, his good looks and my sixty-year-old libido — I might take a bath later.
Rubbing out women by going after their sexuality. Yawn.
I'm just getting started. Fasten your seatbelts. Because I am a Queen. And this is my time.
How life works is magic.
Two hours later, a man I taught 13 years ago sent me a random note by DM on Instagram. Let's say it made my day. Don't be afraid to tell people nice things. Most importantly if it is about long ago. It was a potent antidote after dealing with the terminally hopeless.
Miley Cyrus singing a sexy little number (about co-dependence). Her pure talent is the DNA of this album. The studio list is impressive. That Brianna Capozzi photo, too.
I've always lived downtown. In neighbourhoods with character: the Danforth, the Junction, Bloor West Village. I take lots of photos of the Humber River on Instagram.
I've loved Toronto since the first day I arrived. Driving away from Stratford after twelve years. Not looking back. Went to a matinee the next day with unpacked boxes piled everywhere. Few things are better than spending a Friday afternoon in a dark theatre.
One of my too many dreams is to live in a big international city. If I won a lottery, I'd have to think hard about where to start. I might have to put names in a hat. And leave quickly.
I did not disappear at 50. I went back to school and built a new career. Worked with good people and consistently sought opportunities to improve. Focused on building a portfolio for ten years. And here I am at sixty feeling more visible almost daily. Emerging, late in life.
I've always been a fool for the long game — cooking and writing. You can't begin to imagine the places I expect to go. I've never wanted something more. I hope at least half of it happens.
A clear expression of Elvis. This song is on fire. Tom Holkenborg got the Presley family seal of approval. Because he's a genius.
I don’t care about your dick in a professional work setting. Where do I get that t-shirt?
I don’t have time for things that don’t matter. Neither does anyone younger.
You don’t know that yet?
This is for all the people imposing on others sexually. Misusing power.
Do us a favour and show up interesting. It’s a lot harder.
Happy International Women's Day. *chef's kisses*
Judas Priest with the perfect fuck you anthem.
I took the photo coming home on a Fall night off the north side of the Old Mill Bridge looking into Baby Point. My friend Jay said it looked painterly.
There’s so much beauty after you go to bed. A message for morning people.
I’m saving all my energy. There’s a big week in front of me.
So, I’m on March break. But there’s more. So many stories to tell.
Frank Ocean and Masego — ear candy this week.
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