Canada AM reviews Laurie in the Morning ...
Sarah Hampson’s article in the Globe and Mail, Laurie Lewis pens first book, Little Comrades, at 80, got me a lot of attention. People seem to be interested in what I can only call “the age factor”. My mother used to say that once you pass 80, people will applaud you just for standing up! I don’t really feel the same about it. I do think that I have achieved something, and I have some pride in having done so, but for me the important thing is that I can go on from here. Somehow or other, in the process of all of this, I think I have begun to learn how to write. (Part of which is, just do it!)
Anyway, the Sarah Hampson piece got the people at Canada AM interested, and they asked me to come to CTV in Scarborough for an interview. What a fascinating process all that is! I had a “pre-interview” with Heather Sherman, and sent her dozens of photographs, and then focused on getting myself calm and settled before the early morning show. I had a meeting here in Kingston on Wednesday, with our Contributing Editors group at the Seniors Association, looking at stories and poems that had been submitted for Vista. Then got myself up to the 401 for a quiet drive to Scarborough. My darling publisher, Porcupine’s Quill, put me up in at the Delta Toronto East, which was just a short couple of kilometers away from the station. So I had a quiet dinner, a good night’s sleep, and was ready when the CTV car picked me up the hotel at eight in the morning. Just a short air-conditioned drive, and there I was, in the green room with a blue mug in my hand. I had been advised (or warned!) that the CTV makeup people did “makeup, not hair”, so I was more-or-less prepared for the swabs and brushes and paints that got slathered onto my face. The lipstick had more-or-less the consistency of peanut butter, but was a good colour (nicely matching my “geranium” jacket).
The host who was interviewing me, Seamus O’Regan, reminded me a bit of my grandson Lewis Wynne-Jones, an actor, who was opening (**very successfully**) in Live Bait Theatre’s production of Fire in Sackville, N.S., the same evening. It made SO’R a bit less intimidating. A pleasant conversation, and it was done! The car whisked me back to the hotel, I had breakfast, and then packed up to go to Stratford for the final round of “Launching Laurie”.
CTV made the decision not to do a “live” interview but to record it and air it just this past week, Thursday morning, at 8:40. So I had that eerie sensation of watching myself and trying not to be freaked by the image… Of course, usually when we see ourselves it’s in a mirror, so what we see is a left-right reversal. That makes anything else look odd. A touch unfamiliar. But I was reasonably articulate and didn’t have an attack of “brain freeze” – the great fear of the aged.
Stratford was as beautiful as ever, of course, and the launch, at Fanfare Books, was calm, with only about 10 people. However, it was a pleasure to see old friends and to be in a familiar place. My daughter Delvalle and her fiancé, David Church, took good care of me, fed me well, and generally treated me like a deserving elder. On the way back to Kingston I stopped at one of the little antique shops just outside along Highway 7 and bought a small wicker chair, painted blue. I thought I’d like to repaint it white and put it out in my writer’s shed. When I got home I took it out of the car and stood it in my driveway to let it breathe the Kingston air for a bit. In the morning I was quite startled to discover that some hungry animal had munched on the left arm, leaving shards of wicker dangling in the morning air. Ah well. So much for nostalgia.