Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reflections on a friend

For the past few weeks, thoughts and memories of Debrah have been flooding through my consciousness. It's been a year since she passed away so prematurely. 

While I miss her, I'm still so inspired by all that I learned and experienced in the time I knew her. Thinking of you my friend.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thanking Paul Martin

I was fortunate to attend the Toronto Public Library Foundation's Book Lover's Ball on February 12, which was great fun and a memorable occasion. The Ball is an annual event for library supporters including many of Toronto's philanthropic and political leaders as well as 56 of Canada's outstanding authors. Writers attending included Margaret Atwood, Alissa York, Joy Fielding, M.G. Vassanji, Paul Quarrington, Russell Smith, Vincent Lam, Wayson Choy, Debbie Travis, Ian Brown, Dan Hill, Jan Wong and Christie Blatchford, among many more.

My highlight, however, was realizing that former Prime Minister Paul Martin was there (having recently released his memoir Hell or High Water). I noticed him upon arriving at Toronto's renowned Royal York Hotel as he mingled with guests. 

At that moment I knew I must meet him. While dinner and speeches ensued, it was in the back of my mind that I would make my way to his table to say hello. 

That amid the flurry of mingling and events onstage - including a live auction and fashion show as well as a video tribute by Rick Mercer and wonderful MC duties performed by CBC's Diana Swain. It was all very exciting - especially to see so many celebrities as well as my TPL colleagues all dressed up for the black tie affair. (And yes I found myself in a 'gown' for the Ball which was a surprise - to me most of all! Sorry though no pics to be found... :)

Suddenly, Mr. Martin was approaching me. Even if I'd wanted to, I couldn't have avoided meeting him. What an opportunity! 

I realized he was saying his goodbyes and so I waited patiently for him to arrive at my spot. At which time I said hello and shook his hand. Then I said that I just wanted to thank him for all he's done for Canada. He said thanks very much and that I was "very kind." To which I added "I also want to thank you for coming tonight as we at the library really appreciate it." He smiled and held onto my hand a few seconds longer and then we said goodnight. 

It happened very quickly and then it was over. And yet it was such a meaningful encounter for me. I believe he's a man of integrity and grace and we would have been in a much better place if he was our PM now. At any rate, I also believe events happen for a reason and he has gone on to do some important work both in Canada and internationally. 

Funny enough I just saw an interview with him on TVO's The Agenda this evening which reminded me to tell you about this meeting. 

Oh yes and I also bumped into (literally) Stuart Mclean as I arrived, and had a quick and friendly exchange with Giller recipient Joseph Boyden - both which were almost as thrilling!

Hats off to the Toronto Public Library Foundation - especially Julie and Heather - for a wonderful and successful event. 

Photo: Toronto Public Library Foundation

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When things go awry

Sometimes, despite my best efforts, things simply don't go my way. I often feel in these instances that I must be doing something wrong. Communicating without clarity. Being driven by ego or without a solid understanding of the big picture.

Other times, it seems that life is serving up some resistance to provide insight into where I am, from where I've come, and most importantly where I'm heading. To shake things up a bit and ensure I'm paying attention.

And then there are the times when a bumpy ride simply aids in reminding me of all that's to be appreciated in life.

Right now it feels as though all three may be going on at the very same time. Hmm.