Tuesday, September 17, 2019

All over the map

by Rick Blechta

I don’t have a specific topic to write about this week, but I’d like to share a number of disconnected thoughts on various topics.

First, while Type M is usually a “politics-free” zone, I don’t think Charlotte’s and Aline’s most recent posts were out of line at all. The political state of the world seems to be in free fall these days with everything up for grabs from one polarized side or another. Both my comrades are correct when they say there no longer seems to be any common ground to build on. It’s “my way or the highway” on everything. My feeling is no good can come from this.

Here in “polite” Canada, we’re in the midst of campaigning for a federal election on October 21st. The battle lines are drawn. I’m not going to go into the specific platforms of each of the 5(!) parties running candidates, but from where I sit, things are very muddy. I know which party I will NOT be voting for, and with a British parliamentary system in place here, that leaves me with the choice of voting for the most viable candidate to defeat the candidate of my not-favourite party in my riding . More often than not, lately, that’s the way I have to vote. For the past three elections, I’ve been forced to only vote strategically. That’s not a good thing. At least this time, the candidate I will be voting for has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected.

I have noticed another troubling thing, though. The political ads in Polite Canada have become more and more nasty as trends south of the border filter into the Great White North. The two main parties are most guilty of this, but everyone is doing it to some extent. Again, not good. Wouldn’t it be great if candidates were limited to speaking only on the policies they are espousing instead of attacking the policies of their competition, as well as the opposing candidates? How refreshing that would be! Helpful, too, I imagine.

Stepping off the soap-box now…

From the publishing world: The juggernaut that is Margaret Atwood is dominating media coverage at the moment. Everyone seems to be talking about her latest novel. How good is that? Imagine, with everything else going on in the world demanding our attention, a novel is near the top of media coverage as well as around the water fountain in offices. I was on the Toronto subway this weekend and heard three people who obviously didn’t know each other discussing what they’d heard about The Testaments. Two of the people had already purchased the book. Wonderful!

Anyone out there into preserving and canning? We are, in a pretty big way. Since the beginning of September, we’ve done up two bushels of tomatoes into tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes, my yearly batch of crab apple jelly, pickled beans. We made pickled asparagus and strawberry jam earlier. We were all set to make peach and mango chutney until I discovered we still had 8 jars from last year’s fantastic batch. Same thing with damson plum jam. Tomorrow we’re going to roast a bushel of red peppers since we’re nearly out. (That will never do!) Then we’re going to rest until it gets cold enough to dry cure some pork in our basement. That’s another reason I enjoy fall so much — even though it means a lot of work.

What does this writing about food have to do with writing? Nothing, on the surface. But I find — especially when I’m working alone which will be the case while throwing shepherd peppers on a wood fire tomorrow — I start thinking about whatever work-in-progress I have going at the moment. It’s almost as if my characters drop by to keep me company. It would be great if they’d help out, but they never do. Still the companionship is nice.

I will get back at them, though, by not sharing whenever we’re enjoying the fruits of our labour during the rest of the year.


Barbara Fradkin said...

Rick, any time you want to get rid of a jar of that excess peach and mango chutney, I'm game! Sounds yummy, and I love it on curries.

Rick Blechta said...

You bet! Next time our paths cross…