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October 23, 2007


Gorgeous picture. I love that you are able to write your observations in a way that communicates the inner workings of your mind. Just lovely.

Marvellous, slightly envy-generating and evocative (in a vicarious way) prose; (hopefully) prodromal of the book (of collected walks) to come. Perhaps with plain lettering on the (buff-coloured) cover, of a size to be slipped in the pocket or displayed effortlessly on walks along either embankment of the Thames....

What a wonderful piece, Beth. I love these several slices of life -- the conversations, the descriptions, the language. I'm intrigued by the sense you describe of coming to realize that Montreal is home; I have only ever been a visitor in cities, Montreal included, so it's fascinating for me to try to imagine what it might feel like to inhabit the sensation you describe...

La Tricoteuse! I still have the sock wool I bought there last year. I am planning to use it to make socks for my father for Christmas.

See, that was my little jingle of recognition "yes, I've been there". How sweet, then, to feel "yes, I belong here, I am part of this".


I love your writing. I imagine the city trough your eyes and mind. It's calm and lovely.
Thank you

Re: your last sentence. It appears you've already started. Thanks for the virtual day in the life in Montreal.

Beautiful! Thank you for this piece.

Good to hear this. FWIW, I've always felt like an immigrant, albeit one who has forgotten almost everything about his country of origin.

Beth, what they all said, you recycle the simplest daily events into sparkling jewels. I too have the sense of being "at home" in London, even though nothing in my origins relates to this place. Sometimes I grow tired of it and think "Why do I live here?" but then, when I've been away, it's so good to get back. The feeling of "home" is so odd and unpredictable. Why do we experience it so strongly in certain places in which we have no cultural or family history whilst we may feel no connection at all to places that we actually come from?

Oh I want to come to Montreal! But really you can't see a place properly until you live there a while, I think, though you can enjoy it. I love the sense of growing roots you express here.Thanks for taking us along.
It at once annoys and pleases me that French book covers have the lettering on the spine going the opposite way, confounding one's bookshelves!

My favourite paragraph:

"There was a slight breeze and it lifted the red pashmina scarf I’d bought for next-to-nothing on Canal Street in New York last month, and blew its softness against my cheek. My walking settled into a rhythm, and I gradually became aware of the same happiness I had felt one day in London, many years ago, walking down the Strand and then along the Thames toward Westminster, when for the first time realized that I – a country girl -- was free and anonymous and happy not in spite of, but precisely because I was in a city. On that day I had felt myself inhabiting my own particular period of time and my own particular place in London with a new awareness, and yet I also felt the city’s life stretching far behind me, and past me into the future. For the first time I had slipped into that flow of urban human consciousness that makes great cities what they are, and bonds their inhabitants to them. It was both revelation, and liberation from a limited view of myself I’d had up until then. Now, fifteen years later, in this grey but exuberant city on the other side of the Atlantic, there was another revelation: I was no longer an urban visitor, or an immigrant trying to settle in. It was finally home here; I was home."

Beautiful. As others have said, I love the photographic quality of your prose; such strong images of place and the transitory but passionate inhabitation of it.

Really interesting post!
Never stop iterating and don’t fear failure. Choose well-understood conventions where they will do to the most good , shortcuts you might take will cost you more to fix later than to try to get right up-front today.

Thanks , Zoli Juhasz

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.