Last Holiday, Sans Peanut, Days 16 + 17

Day 16

Over to Cousin Jane's (after Coronation Street, of course) to say goodbye to Deb and Steve and Miranda. Then I put up a bat box (?!) on the side of the cottage and caulk windows for a few hours. Then Catherine brings the girls over to complain about being spoiled and make fun of my underwear. Since I'm busy, C makes her own lunch, which is the same lunch she always makes when left to her own devices: Kraft dinner. Did you say you were having a baby or a tapeworm? Little Graeme drops by, asks C to stop telling him about her 'fantasy projects' (if C had her way, the cottage would be nothing but a concrete slab with sliding glass doors). We go to Cap Pele for supper, after handing the French electrician a cheque for his kid's first year of college.

Day 17

Up early, drawing, breakfast, then I mow the lawn. Swim, lunch, nap. This state of perfection is ruined by some production artist at the Kingston Whig Standard who needs artwork for an article they're running on my cigar-tin stories. I gave the artwork to the interviewer, I say into the cellphone, which for me is still like talking into a potato. He says it's corrupted or no good or something, even though I know it's fine, because a million years ago I used to do his job at another paper. Can you send me some more stuff? he asks. Are you near a computer? Meanwhile, I'm looking out on the Northumberland Strait, thinking very cold thoughts.

I try to keep my day together, spending a large part of the afternoon towing C around the ocean in an inflatable raft, but the old disheartenment is settling in about this article ... so much of these things, at this bottom rung especially, are no more than vapour, than ghosts, and the whole enterprise is made that much more dispiriting by how easily it all slips away. How many manuscripts requested and then forgotten? How many simply lost? How much bullshit and bravado involved? How much of it is just a game, amongst the same circle of friends? Emails not returned, letters ignored, names misspelled, opportunities dropped, no promotion, no real idea. Anyway, I find myself scrambling to take pictures, and then up the shore to a friend's place, to frantically email the damn artwork.


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