Letter from Joy
June 12, 2019
Well, I really can’t believe it’s the middle of June already, especially since the weather here in Toronto has been so miserable - quite chilly and very wet, with only the occasional sunny day. After such a miserable winter, we were all hoping for some nice hot weather, but now I think we’d settle for something approaching warm. What a disappointing spring! I know it’s silly to complain about the weather because there’s not a damn thing you can do about it, but… come on already!
As to what I’ve been doing, other than complaining about the weather, we returned from Florida in time for Mother’s Day, and that was great. My girls are wonderful and my grandchildren are delicious. Then it was one doctor’s appointment after another over the course of the next few weeks, mostly minor grievances and routine tests. (Ah, the joys of aging.) It turns out I have some torn cartilages in my left wrist, and some pretty bad osteo-arthritis in my fingers, but there isn’t a whole lot that can be done about either. And my blood pressure is a little higher than it should be, so I’m now on some blood pressure medication that will hopefully help lower it. I’m also trying to get back into daily meditation and an exercise routine, both of which I’ve been neglecting lately. (Easy to do when you travel as much as we do. It’s hard getting back into a routine.)
Speaking of travel, we’re off again next week, this time on a golfing trip to Ireland for twelve days. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Ireland again. The golf courses are beautiful, the people welcoming, and the scenery spectacular. Only my golf game is terrible. Hopefully it will have improved by the time we get over there. Golf is such a strange, frustrating game; I go along fine for a while, and then out of nowhere, I revert to bad old habits, such as putting all my weight on my front foot, thereby throwing me off balance and causing me to dip and be “all arms,” none of which is conducive to a good golf swing. I took a lesson today and I know exactly what I’m doing wrong and what I need to do to fix it. The problem is that knowing and doing are two completely different things. Oh, well. I’ll do my best, and tell you all about the trip in next month’s letter. I’ll also be posting pictures on my Instagram - @fieldingjoy - for those of you who are interested.
When we return, I intend to get busy on my next novel. I have a good idea and a general sense of how I want the novel to develop, and I’m hoping to have the first chapter completed before we leave. Then when we return I can get started in earnest. I’ll keep you posted as to my progress. Meanwhile, a big thank you to those of you who made ALL THE WRONG PLACES such a success. If you liked it, be sure to tell your friends. And don’t lend them your copy! Make them buy it!
I read WUNDERLAND, but I wasn’t crazy about it, which surprised me, as I’d expected to like it. Now I’m reading WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens. So far, so good. And, as usual, I have a whole stack of books waiting for me. I’ll take a few to Ireland. (Yes, I still carry actual books around on trips. Some habits are just too ingrained to break.) Haven’t seen a lot of movies, as they don’t seem to be making movies for adults any more, and I have zero interest in the Marvel universe. I walked out of “Booksmart”, although I thought Olivia Wilde did a terrific job of directing. But I hated the main characters and the actresses who played them, and thought the whole thing a waste of my time. My younger daughter disagrees strongly with me on this. She liked the movie a lot. So maybe I’m just too mature - some might say old - for teen movies! A movie that I saw and enjoyed, even though it was definitely not what I was expecting, was Rocketman. Based on the life of Elton John, I guess I was expecting it to be more like Bohemian Rhapsody. But it was actually much more audacious: it was a real musical, with characters, not just Elton, bursting into song, rather than a drama with musical interludes. And it was so imaginative. Definitely worth seeing, although poor Elton had such a miserable childhood and young adulthood, that parts are very depressing.
And speaking of depressing, I watched the first half of A Star Is Born on HBO the other night - I saw the movie when it first came out - and it has to be one of the most joyless films around. Despite stellar performances, great songs, and terrific direction, the story is such a downer. Did these people never enjoy themselves, even in the beginning? I would have liked to see more evolution, especially with regard to Bradley’s character. He goes from being a huge superstar to a washed-up has-been way too fast. I turned it off after the first hour, not wanting to be around for its ultra sad conclusion.
And speaking of conclusions, I didn’t care for the last season of Game of Thrones at all. Way too rushed. The fight with the Night Walkers should have come after the fight to retake Winterfell, and shouldn’t have been shot in the dark, which made it all but impossible to see what was going on. Much more should be made of the death of Cersi Lannister, a villain whose comeuppance deserved a much bigger payoff than the one we got. And why did we spend two seasons with Arya learning how to change her appearance only to do nothing with it this season? All the main characters were dispatched much too easily and quickly. There was none of the tension of past seasons. And the final episode was downright boring. A council meeting? Really? Bram?!!! Definitely not a satisfying ending, especially after a two year wait.
As for other TV fare, I’m actually enjoying The Bachelorette. Hannah B. is a lot more interesting and feisty than I thought she’d be, and she seems to have a really good group of guys to choose from. I’m routing for either Jed or Tyler S. (I think that’s the right initial.) As for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, they’re just plain old boring this year. I understand Lisa Vanderpump isn’t returning next year and I can’t say I blame her. She was badly treated this season by the other women, and she will be missed. I think she realizes the show’s days are numbered, and she probably wants out while the going’s good. I continue to love Bill Maher, and I’m happy for the return of Big Little Lies. The first episode was good, not great, but Meryl Streep was terrific. I think it will continue to improve as it progresses, as it did in its first season. And there are a bunch of new shows starting later this month, so I’ll give them a try. One thing I won’t be tuning in for is the plethora of game shows that seem to be everywhere. Been there, done that. Just not interested.
The other thing I can’t watch is the basketball finals, although not because I’m not interested. I just find it too intense, especially because the Toronto Raptors have made it to the final. Like most Canadians, I’m very excited and desperately hoping for them to win, but I just can’t watch! I get too nervous and end up screaming at the TV, and remember, I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down!
And that’s it for now. Have a wonderful month. Enjoy the hopefully warm weather, read a lot of books, and above all, be kind.