Letter from Joy
May 23, 2017
Can somebody please slow everything down a little? Time doesn't have to come to a complete stop, but does it really have to fly by as quickly as it's been doing lately? I simply cannot believe that it's already approaching the end of May! Soon it will be summer and then fall and before you know it, Christmas!!! Again!!! Our summers already feel so short here in Toronto and since summer is my favorite season - it can rarely be too hot for me - I want to savour each and every day. Right now the sun is out but they're calling for gray skies and rain for much of the week. I guess it's too much to hope that we'd have a summer like last year's, especially after the beautifully mild winter, but that's what I was hoping for anyway. Oh, well. We get what we get, and we should be happy we're alive and healthy enough to enjoy it. So no more bellyaching.
It's been a relatively busy time. My sister, Renee, accompanied my husband and me to Florida for ten days at the end of April, and we had a really nice time. The weather was almost perfect and we went to the beach a few times. I actually got a sunburn from our long walks, despite sunscreen, and I haven't had a sunburn in forever. We even went to a nature trail one morning. However it turned out to be quite disappointing, as the terrain was flat and uninteresting and we see more exotic birds in the community in which we live. We shopped - of course we did - and took in a movie - "The Lost City of Z" - which was entertaining, if not as exciting as it should have been. There wasn't a lot of choice in the way of movies - it would be nice if filmmakers started making films for adults again. And we swam most days and went out for great dinners. In all, a nice relaxing time. We only got in three games of golf, partly due to a rain storm on one of the mornings we were scheduled to play, and partly because my husband threw his back out on another day and we had to cancel. The three games I did play, I shot 92, 94 and 92, so I was quite thrilled. We'll have to see if this trend continues or if my game deserts me again, as it does on a regular basis. After ten days in Palm Beach, we drove our car back to Toronto, this time taking two nights and three days, unlike our usual two days and one night. I thought it would be a good idea to break it up a bit and slow things down - sensing a theme here? - so we left in the afternoon and drove the five hours to get out of Florida, stopping overnight in Valdosta, Georgia. Then two more long days on the road. But even breaking the trip up like this was something of an ordeal. I really didn't enjoy it, especially the third day. Maybe we've done the trip too many times or maybe I'm just getting too old for this sort of thing. While my sister watched movies on her I-pad, I watched the scenery and listened to the radio and my husband's tapes. While I appreciate the effort he went to in making these tapes, a few of them are quite depressing, and much as I love Leonard Cohen and his music, three hours of this sort of thing made me want to throw myself out of the moving car. My complaints were neither heeded nor appreciated, which made things a bit tense for a while. Then traffic outside Toronto made the last few hours excruciating. Happily we arrived home at a decent hour and were recovered in time for Mother's Day. Met everyone for a Mother's Day brunch and had a lovely time. My daughters are wonderful and my grandchildren, as you all know, are the best.
Since we've been back in Toronto, I've been catching up on work and various appointments - doctors, hair, nails, etc. I had to go over the copyedited version of my latest book and answer all the copyeditor's questions. This takes a considerable amount of time, but I managed to get it all done despite problems with the computer, which kept crashing because the program my publishers were using was too recent for my computer to handle. Once we took care of that, everything went relatively smoothly. I'm still not sure what the publication date is, but I'm happy to report that we have a new title, one that I'm very happy with. I'm hoping to be able to share this news with you in my next letter. I've also started work on a new novel, although it's very early stages at the moment. I'm still rethinking the basic premise and outline and don't expect to get seriously into things until mid-June.
We're heading out west again at the end of the month, just for a week. First a work-related trip to Vancouver and Whistler, as well as some golf, and then on to Bandon Dunes, a famous golf course in Oregon. I'm looking forward to this trip, just as I'm looking forward to a week long trip with friends in July to Tanglewood, Brimfield and Boston. Then we're home till the end of August before heading off to Scotland and Paris. Then back in time for most of the Film Festival. By then it's mid-September, and what did I say at the start of this letter? Before you know it, it will be Christmas!!!
But back to the present - we had our grandchildren for the long weekend while their parents celebrated their wedding anniversary, and it was fabulous. We don't get a lot of sleep when they're here because they sleep on air mattresses at the foot of our bed and we hear every cough and groan, but they're such a delight, and I adore spending time with them. They're so smart and loving and at the ages where we don't have to keep them entertained every second. They adore each other, so they play very well together - most of the time.
As I said earlier, I haven't been to a lot of movies, but I did go see "Snatched" with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. While I had high hopes for the movie, despite dismal reviews, it was in fact pretty awful. Mostly it was the fault of the script which was stupid and lazy and just not very funny. Goldie played it straight - perhaps too straight for such a ridiculous movie - and Amy was, well, Amy. A few laughs, but by and large very disappointing once the mother-daughter duo hit South America. On TV, I was very disappointed in the Robert De Niro-Michelle Pfeiffer movie about Bernie Madoff. It was really boring, and I thought the Richard Dreyffus two-parter that aired last year was much better and more dramatic. Also enjoying "Better Call Saul", although I still think they could pick up the pace a bit. Finding "Veep" not so great this season. Despite laughing frequently and occasionally even out loud, they've made Julia Louise Dreyfuss's character so unlikeable this year. While she was always self-centered, I don't recall her being quite this awful before. Happy to see the return of "The Bachelorette" even though it's essentially the same thing every season. But I love the new bachelorette - Rachel. She's beautiful and smart and lively - lots of personality, traits they've been missing in their bachelors and bachelorettes lately. As for what I've been reading, I loved Ann Patchett's STATE OF WONDER - so different from COMMONWEALTH, which I also loved; gave up on THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 after about three chapters - too hysterical too early and I didn't really care; and I'm about sixty pages into INTO THE WATER, but I can't say I'm thrilled and don't know whether I'll continue much longer. I no longer stick with books that bore me, so even though Paula Hawkins is a decent enough writer, this book is confusing and underwhelming. Way too many points of view, so I can't get emotionally invested in anyone. Also I still don't know what the story is about and don't think I care. It's back to Ann Patchett for me. Looking forward to reading BEL CANTO and TAFT.
A friend of mine is visiting this weekend from L.A. and it will be nice to spend some time with her. And that's about it for now. I'm off to the eye doctor to pick up my new prescription sunglasses. I'll meet you all back here next month. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be kind.