Friday, September 4, 2009

New Kid on the Blog

It was only a matter of time, but what time?
First, from everyone's point of view, there had to be a family reunion, and perhaps there even had to be a golden wedding anniversary with all the sprawling horde happily milling about in the mood that can only come from at least the heads of the outfit having had the grace to live all that time in the mind of the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church, with, in easy attendance, long term friends who, while not necessarily tucked under that maternal wing to the same degree, at least have some recognition in their hearts of where all the love came from in the first place.
It really was a party, and it went on for days, and not for one second could Mary say, "They have no wine," simply because she was there in abundance to ladle it out, in spirit, while other willing, laughing, cheerful hands poured the vintages of the lesser reality, and certain world class cooks fed the hungry mouths in four different hosting households, functioning as motels, while a fifth house, that of old friends, a restaurant deck belonging to other old friends, and the incomparable beaches of the Kootenays were staging the general gatherings.
And then there was the Sunday mass, where the family handled all the liturgical functions except that of the priest. No mindless hymns, no altar girls, and finally, after all these years, the language of the readings and the mass almost free of the modern gender stupidities over language.
And a lot of music throughout the almost fortnight. Even I came off research mode long enough to sing and play a little, although my main concern was to get the sense of the modes and solfa into the grandsons who are already quite conversant with the numbers, thanks to last summer's music camp.
Those were some of my agendas.
But my youngest daughter, the one who amongst the other writers in the clan has essayed the most, other than her Papa, into fiction, plainly had the possibility of inspiration for some scribbling in the back of her mind. For the first days after the long party broke up and the family clusters returned to their spaces across the western provinces it was the photographs that poured in via the computer. Printed out the ordinary way, the albums should weigh pounds, and of course provide an entertaining and moving record of it all. But then along came the announcement of one more family blog, "Letters to the World".
I think Rebecca was about twelve when one afternoon as she sat in the living room watching me write in my growing shelf of hard-backed scribblers she said, "Dad, why don't you just publish your journals?"
I told her that journals did get published, although usually after the writer's prose or poetry had made him famous, and often after he was dead. Usually after he was dead.
She took it all in rather solemnly, and it was at that moment that I began to suspect she might be a writer. She was already a great reader, like the rest of our girls, and not long after she was twelve began exhibiting a capacity for witty comment on her peers and others that earned her the title, within the family, of "Nelson's Dorothy Parker". That's the New York writer who said so many things like, "If all the girls of Vassar were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised."
Becka's wry comments were often of that calibre.
She's written at least one novel, but as if often the case with writers who actually think deeply, that part of her is so far unpublished. That book is really her mother's domain, not mine, but I have read a passage, on music, that handled the subject as well as Robertson Davies ever did in a proportionate space.
And she has one enormous advantage over her competitors. Because her father is not published in the ordinary way, she is one of the few, along with a couple of Popes, who have had the opportunity to read the photocopied version of "Contemplatives", history's first fiction to deal with the ultimate stages of the spiritual life.
The rest of you should be so lucky.
Enjoy the kid. I know we will.


Rebecca Schram said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks so much for the plug for my blog. I am excited to be able to live out my long held dream of having a regular 'column'. Lots of love to you, dear Daddo.

Anonymous said...

Even one's own kids are a mystery. I never had any idea that you had the column bug, as I had it at the Ubyssey - you will see the grist you've given me - but I was just these days reading the auto of Jim Taylor, a sports writer I have always admired, where he was telling how he became the regular sports columnist for the Sun.

Rebecca Schram said...

It's funny. One day when I was going to housesit for Vicky and Prashant they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I found myself saying, "well, I'd like to write a column for a newspaper or something like that." I did have a column in our local paper here for a few years - about the arts council and its doings, and I learned a lot doing it. People liked it, too. So when I thought of doing a blog along those lines it felt right.

cabbage ears said...

Ken, I am so sorry I missed what appeared to be a great event. I made the trip across Canada twice (back and forth)on the Greyhound Bus. Who can beat 230. bucks and insomnia and visiting every prairie town between here and forever and listening to your father who is 86 and facing mortality with indignation and listening to all of his stories? It was good and I even helped a sixteen year old potential who should have gotten off in Winnipeg bound for Yorktown, Sask. but didn't so I had to help him phone his Mom and arrange that his Dad would pick him up in Regina and etc. And I escaped three hours in Medicine Hat in the middle of the night in a closed bus terminal with my luggage out on the street and made it to Fort MacLeod Alberta intact at fifty-eight. How good it is. Peace. Irene

the kootenay ranger said...

It sounds like you had quite the adventure yourself. Well done. MT can send you the photo file on the gathering if you like. Welcome back.

cabbage ears said...

Mt. did and I perused all of them.(photos) What a treasure you possess. Your family is indeed something. Travelling always reminds me that we are indeed feathers in the wind. How liberating. affection....Irene