My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean

Annual #tellastory day and Pop’s birthday, and so another pop tale. I don’t recall exactly when it arrived in our home, but at some point when I was young, Pop acquired a banjo. He would spend hours in the evenings and weekends plinking and plunking away, often playing along with something on the stereo or... Continue Reading →

Book report #31 (2021)

The Madness of Grief, by The Reverend Richard Coles. Pub 2021 Published in 2021, one would expect this book to be about COVID-19 - it is not. In fact, other than some mentions of lockdowns, there is barely a mention of the omnipresent and ongoing pandemic and so the story seems like it could be... Continue Reading →

Book report #19 (2021)

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. Pub 2017 I started reading this last year sometime, and got distracted from it early on. At the end of teaching my course this summer, I included this commencement speech by George Saunders as part of the last module, and it reminded me that this book was overdue for... Continue Reading →

Remembering Pop

It is a week of remembrances, in a month of loss, in a year of change and fear. Pop left us 10 years ago today, and like most of the recent past, it seems like both a lifetime ago and just yesterday. In a book I read recently, the main character and his friends have... Continue Reading →

Construction of a Father

27 April is both #tellastory day and my Pop's birthday.  Pop would have been 73 today, pretty close to the same age as James Taylor (a current favourite of mine). I don't know that Pop was a fan, but his other favourites - Gordon Lightfoot and Harry Chapin - share the same sad, confessional, troubadour... Continue Reading →

Book report #20 (2019)

Dunbar, by Edward St. Aubyn. Pub 2017 My third foray into the Hogarth Shakespeare. While not as good either of the previous reads, this was a good (if not great) read, perhaps helped by the fact that I was not familiar with the play that it is based on. St. Aubyn updates King Lear into... Continue Reading →

Book report #18 (2019)

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, by Michael Chabon. Pub. 2018 It was the title of this one that got me – not many people I know refer to their father as “pop” as I do – and also Michael Chabon as the author. I have read only a few of his books, and enjoyed each of... Continue Reading →

Crashing coffee cups

April 27th is Tell-a-Story Day. It is also what would have been my Pop’s 72nd birthday. So it seems highly appropriate to tell a story about him. A short one this year, inspired by a comment by a friend. She was describing how she frequently, in her haste to get going in the morning, will leave her coffee cup... Continue Reading →

Book report #18 (2018)

The Wine Lover’s Daughter, by Anne Fadiman. Pub 2017 Anne Fadiman is one of my favourite writers; sadly for me, she has very few books, so I was delighted to find that she’d at last produced another one. This memoir about her father is a poignant journey to find and enshrine the meaning of his... Continue Reading →

Item #25: Église De Stains, by Maurice Utrillo

This weary nicotine-stained lithograph-on-board has pride-of-place in my living room not because it is valuable (certainly not) or noteworthy. This print occupied a similar position in my grandparents' home for as long as I can remember and likely before that, so it is a piece of my own history. This was my pop's parents’ home,... Continue Reading →

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