Joy Fielding

Letter from Joy

April 24, 2023

Hi, everyone,
Once again, I’m a little late with my monthly letter, and I apologize. April is a very busy time of year for a number of reasons - preparing tax information, returning to Toronto after spending the bulk of the winter months in Florida, and this year and the very best of reasons, my older daughter’s wedding!

To recap, my daughter Shannon met the man of her dreams while out walking during the early days of COVID. They clicked immediately and moved in together within weeks. This was quite a shock to all of us as Shannon has always insisted she had no interest in settling down, liked her independence, and wanted to be "as free as a bird.” Yes, she really said that. So it was no small shock when she decided that, not only was she prepared to live with someone, she actually wanted to get married! The two of them accompanied us to Florida - both can work online from home - and the four of us proceeded to live together remarkably well for the better part of four months. My husband and I made a number of short trips back to Toronto during that time, but other than that, we spent most of our time together. Sometime in February, my daughter’s boyfriend, Eric, told me that he was planning to propose, and propose he did on Super Bowl Sunday. At the time, they had no date in mind, and my husband and I assumed it would probably be sometime within the next year. It turned out to be a lot quicker than that, as they decided there was little point in waiting. They picked April 6, got their marriage license, and were married at the West Palm Beach courthouse in a beautiful little room decorated by Lily Pulitzer that was barely big enough for the eight guests permitted. Eric’s mother and her partner drove in from Sarasota, and my younger daughter Annie, her husband and my two grandchildren also attended, along with the family’s recent addition, an adorable Shorkie (part Shitzu, part Yorkshire terrier) named Remy, who wore a tuxedo! So cute. The ceremony was lovely. Aside from the traditional vows, Shannon and Eric tearfully delivered their own vows and declarations of love, and the life-long singleton became a married woman.

After the wedding, we had dinner at a beautiful restaurant called Trevini, along with a handful of Florida friends. Shannon and Eric stayed overnight in a gorgeous old Palm Beach hotel and then returned to our house later the next afternoon. Since it was also the Easter weekend, we had the pleasure of having my grandchildren for three days and nights, and it was really wonderful getting to spend this time with them. Then it was back to our regular Florida routine of not doing much of anything. My husband has had some issues with his back and so hasn’t been playing any golf. Luckily, Eric is a wonderful golfer and we played golf together at least three times a week. I wish I could say that I’m a much better golfer after playing so much golf, but the truth is that, while my ball-striking has much improved, I’m as inconsistent as ever. One day I’m great; the next it’s as if I’ve never held a club before in my life! Very frustrating. Guess it’s true when they ask, why do they call it golf? Answer: Because all the other four-letter words were taken!

We had the most glorious weather I can ever remember. Sunny and very hot, and no rain at all for almost four months. Of course, the downside is that nearly all the creeks running through the three golf courses on the property are now pretty much all sand. We finally had some rain and a couple of severe storms in the few days before we left. But it will take weeks of a consistent downpour to fill the waterways back up to their normal levels. We left Florida with mixed feelings. After an absence of over two and a half years, it was wonderful to be back in our house and see our Florida friends again, but it was nice to be back in "my home and native land.” (Contrary to the insane views of some misguided U.S. broadcasters, Canada is not a Communist, or even socialist country!)

So after months of doing virtually nothing but play golf, reading magazines, and doing a variety of word puzzles, I returned feeling very relaxed.Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to lose that feeling. While I love Toronto and spring is definitely in the air, it’s also a return to the tensions of big-city life. I’m back to reading two newspapers a day - enough to make anyone tense - construction is everywhere, and traffic is horrendous. I’m also trying to figure out where I’m going with my idea for my next book. It’s definitely forming in my brain, but still has a ways to go. Hopefully I’ll be ready to commit some of my thoughts to paper in the coming months. But the past little while has been a nice - and much-needed - break.

I haven’t really read anything that I can recommend, and the only movies I’ve seen have been on TV. I did watch T’ar, and thought Cate Blanchette was definitely robbed of a much-deserved Oscar. While I thought Michelle Yeo was terrific in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, Cate’s performance in T’ar was nothing short of sensational. She was in virtually every scene and totally inhabited a not-very-sympathetic character. It was a real tour-de-force performance. The movie itself was way too long but fascinating nonetheless. I was never bored, although I felt that, at over two-and-a-half hours, at least thirty minutes could have been trimmed.

On TV, since we finally got Netflix, I watched, and really enjoyed, The Night Agent. Very exciting, if more than a bit preposterous. And I’m loving Succession. However, the second season of Yellowjackets has been a real disappointment. It’s too confusing, and I think they could have found a way to integrate the stories better and not make what’s happening in the present so confusing and bordering on the ridiculous and unintentionally humourous. It’s getting better as the season progresses, but it’s still not up to the quality of last year’s episodes. I gave up on Lucky Hank after two episodes, despite Bob Odenkirk, whom I adore. He’s always great, but the storyline just wasn’t interesting enough, and the supporting cast of characters was really an unappealing bunch. It was like "Abbott Elementary,” only without the charm and wit.

And that’s about it for now. Till next time, stay safe and well.