LONDON, ONTARIO – Canada is now enduring the reign of our third dubiously qualified, fiscally incontinent, female Governor-General in a row. Perhaps these appointments are consolation prizes to make up for our heartless ingratitude when the Canadian electorate turfed out our only female Prime Minister ten minutes after she was appointed to that job. If you’re keeping tabs on our recent run of affirmative-action GGs, we’ve had two ex-CBC talking heads and now we have an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette. Ms. Payette has been making page-two headlines this month for her allegedly abusive treatment of her staff and I was interested to read this note from a commenter at the Small Dead Animals website in response to an article they posted there about the scandal.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Back in the summer of 2015, I was editing The London Yodeller, then in its prime, and had the opportunity – and the space – to properly discharge a debt of gratitude to the Canadian author who had influenced me more than any other. It had been a half decade since Richard B. Wright had published anything at that point and I sensed things were winding down and wanted to pay tribute before it was too late. Here is that five year old feature.
LONDON, ONTARIO – It is the first law of the freelance jungle that whenever somebody seems to be offering you any kind of work, you must immediately say, “Yes!” – just to keep negotiations open – and worry about how you’ll actually deliver on the project later. So that was the protocol I adhered to when I was invited up to the executive offices of the Grand Theatre in the winter of 1991/92 where artistic director Martha Henry asked me, “Have you ever thought of writing a children’s play?”
LONDON, ONTARIO – When visiting anybody’s house for the first time, I will often seize an opportunity to duck into whichever room features the most bookcases to scope out the sort of fare they have on hand. And I’ve long wished some publisher would bring out a large picture book featuring nothing but photographs of worthy people’s bookshelves; printed big enough that you could make out all the titles and authors. One of the more engrossing distractions which I’ve enjoyed during this Batflu lockdown when so many televised interviews and discussions are recorded in people’s homes – more often than not with a shelf or a case of books in behind them – has been to move right up to the screen and squint my eyes to scan their collections.
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THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :