Joy Fielding

Letter from Joy

February 23, 2017

Hi, everyone,
And apologies all around. I forgot all about this month's letter! I'm going to blame this lapse on all the traveling we've been doing, and my rush to get everything done in the short time that we're back home, and I promise to try not to let it happen again. So, this month's letter, like the month itself, will be shorter than usual.

It's been a busy time. We were in Florida until February 6 and had a wonderful time. The weather was absolutely perfect. We only had one day of rain in all the time we were there, although a tornado touched down only miles from our home. The siren on our clock radio started going off at around 1:30 in the morning - I had no idea they were programmed to do severe weather alerts! - and I asked my husband whether our not we should go into our safe room (the laundry room, as it has no windows), but he said the alert could apply to all of Palm Beach County and he wasn't getting out of bed. So we stayed put, and were very lucky the tornado touched down somewhere else. Unfortunately, the head golf pro at our club was in the area that received a direct hit and all the windows in his house (and car) blew in and the walls of his next door neighbour's house totally collapsed! Next time, I'm heading for the laundry room.

My golf was also terrific! Those of you who play know how frustrating this game can be, and I had a terrible summer last year with regard to my swing. I might as well have been bowling, as my golf balls rarely left the ground. My husband was also struggling. So we decided to take some lessons to find out and correct what we were doing wrong, and they really paid off. I started hitting the ball a ton and scoring reasonably well. Hopefully this will continue, but you never know. Golf is such a fickle game, and because I came to it relatively late and I tend to think way too much - I can write an entire book between my backswing and release - my swing isn't naturally ingrained. Still, we have several golf holidays planned in the cloning months, so I'd like to develop at least a modicum of consistency.

Toward the end of our stay, we went to Naples where I'd been invited to speak at a luncheon for Nick Linn's Lecture series. My husband and I were picked up (in a stretch limo, no less!) and driven to Naples. This was great, as the drive to Naples is not exactly what one would describe as scenic. In fact, it has to be one of the most boring drives around. The only exciting thing about the monotonous stretch of road known as Alligator Alley is its name. But Naples itself is quite lovely, and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which is always a treat, no matter what city you're in. The luncheon the next day was attended by some 500 people and everything about the event was first-class. The organizers are wonderful, interesting people, as Warren and I really enjoyed our brief visit. Hopefully we'll be asked back some time in the future.

We returned to Toronto and more fabulous weather. Aside from a storm that briefly covered the city in snow - we've had almost no snow this winter - the temperatures have been unseasonably mild, more like April than February. While this is almost certainly due to global warming, I have to say I'm loving it. What I'm not loving is all the visits to the dentist that I've had to endure since we've been back. Days after we returned I underwent two root canals and could barely move my jaw for several days. I was literally sliding food between my lips in order to eat. Then the following week, I had to have to the permanent fillings put in those teeth. I didn't need new crowns as the root canals involved drilling through two existing crowns that fortunately didn't crack in the process. Then the next week, I went for a cleaning and they discovered that one of my front teeth had a slight crack, so back I had to go to have that repaired! Suffice it to say: Enough with my teeth!

In between visits to the dentist, I managed to finish the hopefully final edits on my new novel and get them sent off to New York. I read about hundred pages of John Grisham's latest, but gave up. Just not that interested in the story. And I finally got around to seeing "Hell or High Water", which I thought was terrific. (Could Chris Pine be any more gorgeous?)

And tomorrow we head back to Palm Beach. This time around, we're expecting quite a bit of company, including my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and then my daughter, Annie, her husband and my two glorious grandchildren. They are growing up to be such wonderful, smart affectionate people. I'm really thrilled to be able to spend so much time with them. Also a sprinkling of other friends.

And of course, there are the Oscars. This year, my choices pretty much match the experts. I'm predicting wins for "La La Land" as best picture (I loved it and have seen it twice), Emma Stone for Best Actress, Casey Affleck for Best Actor (although Denzel could sneak in there), Maharsala Ali for Best Supporting Actor and Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress (although my personal choice here would be Michele Williams for "Manchester by the Sea". I know it was a tiny part, but she was fantastic.) Best Director would be Damien Chazelle for "La La Land", and yes, I know that the singing and dancing in the movie weren't anywhere near comparable to Rogers and Astaire, but to me that was part of its charm. Of course, anything can happen, and I look forward to Jimmy Kimmel as host.

And that's it for now. I'll write again next month, once all our company has departed. And I'll be speaking at the Lantana Public Library on April 3 (I'll remind you in my March letter), so I hope to see all you Floridians there. (I had to cancel a previously scheduled visit in January because I was sick.) In the meantime, stay well and be good to each other. Remember that reading fiction helps develop empathy, something the world could use a lot more of in these troubled times.