Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
To the Editor:
An estimated ten thousand idealistic people marched peacefully in Toronto on Saturday, yet the media showed barely a picture of those from Greenpeace, Amnesty, unions, church groups, all kinds of worthy causes. Only endless shots of something much more exciting, a small group of lawless hooligans.
Everyone knew the people in black were there specifically to fight. Why, knowing they would certainly erupt, were none of the hundreds of police assigned to the event posted to keep an eye specifically on them? Why were none of those hundreds of police anywhere near Yonge Street when the window smashing started? Why were police cars abandoned, empty of gas, in the middle of downtown city streets, ready to be set so picturesquely aflame?
Is it possible that the violence, the stream of pictures of vandals in black smashing windows and igniting cars, is the answer to Mr. Harper’s prayers? If nothing had happened, our country’s citizens might have remained appalled at the profligate billion dollars and more on security. Whereas now, because this well-known and highly visible anarchist band somehow managed to roam freely until much damage was done, we all realize just how lucky we were that all that money was spent.
8.30 p.m. Sunday night. It’s a cataclysm – the heavens have just opened, there’s a massive downpour of frightening proportions, apparently the power has gone out in parts of the city, and my internet is down. I’m writing this in the hopes of uploading it later.
And meanwhile, on TV, I’m watching ordinary people being arrested and handcuffed by hundreds of riot police in the rain. The police have boxed people in, including people who were walking home and got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the reporter has said, no one was warned. There were protesters there, peaceful ones, as has been said often, when suddenly hundreds of police arrived and war was declared. They’ve arrested several media people, including those with full G20 accreditation hanging around their necks
This is not a surprise to me, though, because of the event I attended on Friday night. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now told the same story about American police, at one point during the Republican convention, arresting her and taking her away in handcuffs, despite HER obvious media accreditation. Intimidation, pure and simple. The reporters on-camera feel that even the police are not sure what’s going on. Who is in charge? People who are stuck there, hemmed in on all sides, need water, a bathroom, just to get home. But the police will not let them move.
First thing this morning, I wrote a letter to the Editor to the Star, about yesterday. I sent it to a few friends to get feedback, and then sent it in. I feel viscerally connected to what is happening to and in this city. But this event now is beyond stupid and horrendous – so absurd, nothing violent was happening, and the police arresting indiscriminately and more pouring in. It looks like a totalitarian state. Hundreds of police, herding a motley group of passers-by. Is this a show of temper because they made fools of themselves yesterday?
Wait. Life goes on. My garden writing workshop took place today – smaller than usual because people didn’t want to brave the chaos – but marvellous nonetheless. We spent the day writing, delving into memory and telling stories. W*yson came for lunch, warming us with gifts and his wisdom about writing, telling the truth and publishing. Good to remember there is life beyond the chaos.
Posted Monday morning.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
NAVIGATING MULTICULTURAL REALITIES
Novelist and short story writer Wayson Choyexplores his personal view that many of us – whether recent arrivals or long-established citizens – suffer fears that may damage Canada’s quest to become a multicultural nation. Growing up between values and cultures, he has been an “in-between citizen” all his life. In the 2010 UBC-Laurier Institution Multiculturalism Lecture, he proposes some challenging remedies that have both lightened and enlightened his life.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
I wanted to say, in case it isn’t obvious - I think it is - how much I’ve enjoyed the class. I’ve loved it. You have just the right touch when it comes to criticism. Firm and clear, but not rigid – you change your mind if there’s a reason to. I feel entirely comfortable reading, I don’t feel diminished by the critique. I keep thinking ‘ok, this week i’ve nailed it’ and then laugh at myself when it turns out I haven’t... actually... quite... nailed it after all. I think you put a lot of thought into your students and are a devoted teacher. And it helps get me through the work day to think there is life beyond the office.
Your classes give me such joy and happy anticipation. I feel so "alive" when I'm writing. Your classes inspire me Beth!
And this from a student who read the small book I'm finishing, detailing Wayson's lessons about writing and mine too:
Beth, the book is absolutely fabulous. You have simplified the complex without making it simplistic (the hallmark of talented teaching!) and have provided such a user-friendly, accessible guide to writing. It is wonderful to have a resource to keep and go back to, other than my chicken scratch notes from class.
You should absolutely, positively make this a mandatory purchase for every single one of your students - they will all benefit from having it and $20 is certainly not prohibitive. You can leverage your captive market! I will certainly be first in line to buy it at the bookstore. Thank you so much for sending it along - I have been having some serious writer's block and it was already helpful to refer to your book.
Okay, all that is nice to read, now on into the reality of this beautiful day.
P.S. And as for marketing ... the writing book is available on-line for $20, the garden writing class June 27 still has room, and I'm planning another for August.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
The garden workshop is on, and there is still lots of room left. Please tell your friends, if know someone who wants to write, someone who would benefit from a day in the most beautiful garden on earth, if I say so myself, doing something interesting and creative. Plus lunch.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friends, I am posting this notice again ... registration has been slow. Is it because it's the G20 weekend? I don't think that will affect Cabbagetown.
Please let me know asap if you are interested.The deadline for registration is Sunday June 13.
WRITE IN THE GARDEN, 2010
A one-day writing workshop to give you inspiration, structure and support, whether you have lots of writing experience or none.
Spend a day learning to trust your voice and your stories. Rediscover your creative self. Connect with other writers. Write in the garden and enjoy positive listening and feedback, bushy perennials, and lunch.
Laughter, camaraderie and insight guaranteed.
Who: The workshop is run by Beth Kaplan, who has taught personal narrative writing at Ryerson for 16 years and at U of T for 4."Beth is a wonderful teacher. I was encouraged and motivated and learned so much. I am totally inspired to write."Amy Block, after her day at Write in the Garden
Where: Beth's secret garden in Cabbagetown, in the heart of downtown Toronto. If there's rain, inside the house.
When: Sunday June 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $125, including snacks and lunch.
Schedule (more or less): 9.30-10 a.m.: greetings, coffee and muffins; 10-12.15: two short, fun exercises, where you will write on the spot and then gather to read, though only if you want to. Reading is always voluntary. 12.15-1.30: lunch. 1.30-3.30: more writing. 3.30-4: a welcome glass of wine (or cup of tea.)4-5: final writing, wrap-up.
Registration is limited to 15. A $25 deposit is required to hold a place.
For more information, please check Beth's website at www.bethkaplan.ca, under Coaching.
To register: firstname.lastname@example.org