Figuring out Gail Scott('s writing)
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Conversation with Mireille: Saturday Morning Giggles Over Writing Retreats

About a thousand years ago, back in high school, I had a plethora of real live friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, the much older and wiser person that I am now (please insert giggle here) is left with very little time to dabble in the outwardly social. From this aforementioned "plethora" I have constituted a good solid base of Facebook friends. In comparison to some folks out there, the so-called solid base is microscopic. I don't collect them for show. I just do it so that I have something to do when stuck waiting somewhere and the only entertainment at my disposal is my handy dandy "smart phone."

There is one person's certain Facebook post that I look forward to every week. It acts as a friendly reminder to read a certain column in the National Post. I could very easily just go online and find this column myself, but the extremely lazy soul that I am prefers to rely on someone else's prompt and reliable postings rather than add to my own list of never-ending things to do. These posts usually turn up as I wait for Lili's Saturday morning Mandarin classes to end. Perfect timing.

But it isn't just a question of timing. This column is good. It also makes me feel good. It is vastly entertaining to see how someone's view of their universe can so easily find echo in mine, malgré nos différences évidentes. The reading is so entertaining that I always want to answer her, like in a conversation, only on "paper" (screen?)

This week's column hit so close to home that here I am, ready to take up the (one way) conversation… 

Mireille,

Your infamous rate of word production. I know a thing or two about this exact issue, and yes it includes children, fathers' country homes and food too. How totally odd the way you instantly locked into familiar territory for me. 

So, no, I don't write for a newspaper, nor have I written short stories. My scribblings are on a much smaller scale. Last year, I finished my MA thesis, an almost 100-page chunk of research in the realm of literature. Funny, because the subject of my thesis also hit close to home with another one of your posts. But that's another story.

I did come to the conclusion, as you did, that the kids are not really the issue so much as us wanting them to be. I'm beginning to wonder if procrastination isn't a Freudian "mom thing." 

Retreats, I know a thing or two about those and they also include my father the writer and his country home. Although he doesn't drive me completely crazy about food, he is rather set in his ideas as to what goes into the definition of "good for you" food. Some members of the family have sharply commented on this over the years -- My husband is almost afraid to drink his coffee. No, Dad, fresh ground pepper should NOT go into the freshly ground coffee… the ensuing cup does not make for a pleasurable experience. And as my younger sister has maintained since adolescence, chicken is not best boiled with a carrot. Then there is the story of when my father mistook Mom's vichyssoise for milk and poured it over his morning cereal. This event did not bode well with my mother after he threw it all down the sink thinking the milk had gone bad.

I could go on, I have a ton of these stories. Let's just say that my father has developed an approach to cooking that has had its hits and misses. Although I do have to say that the smoked salmon cured with maple syrup is a total hit with Lili and I.

My last writing retreat at my father's country home was, well, regulated by the "healthy" meals he would prepare for both of us -- no salt anywhere and olive oil everywhere. So, to answer your question, you're right, it's not just your father. But I'm not so convinced it's just your people either. Going to the village for the papers, and in his case usually bread also, rang oddly familiar when I read you this Saturday.

As for music, no. It's a totally different story. He does sometimes get all classical on me. But usually, it's NPR à tue-tête throughout out the house. But his tolerance for people's chatter has greatly diminished over the years. It's just the volume that freaks me out. I know he's not going deaf, so why? Again, must be Freudian.

Oh, and the McGill Law Journal Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, does it look like this? Yea, I have my own copy, from my days as a legal translator. The coincidences really are weird.

À samedi prochain.

Best,

Marie

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