Over five days, I’ve twice faced a volley of flashing cameras — not the norm for a less-than-famous writer. These occasions involved those two verboten dinner-table subjects: politics and religion (a rule ignored in my home, where 8.1-on-the-Richter-Scale arguments were common). Only this blog isn’t about either. It’s about the profound strangeness of life as I sometimes experience it.
So those of you who didn’t vote for Obama please don’t unsubscribe, just grab a quick look at the photo on the far left (the placement is accidental, not political). In this picture — taken at the Sheraton Hotel ballroom in Toronto last Tuesday evening— your Less-Than-Thoughtful Blogger is going berserk, raising high her beloved Big Bird (festooned with campaign regalia) like liberty’s torch. Sweet little BB drew an impressive array of video hardware to our table, resulting in interviews with CTV and CITY-TV in Toronto (asking me questions such as “Why Big Bird?” and — duh — “Why Obama?”). Your momentarily-crazed blogger also appeared in the Metro tabloid (standing on a chair, holding BB aloft and cheering) and in NOW, the city’s weekly news and entertainment weekly. So I’ve had my fifteen minutes of fame, thanks to a yellow fluffball, an attack of the sillies, and, oh yeah, a presidential victory.
Then came Sober Saturday, and the sizzle of a goofy persona flipping over like a pancake on a griddle.
Cut to the nave of St. Basil’s Church in Toronto, where a barrage of flashing cameras and smartphones greeted a colourful array of academics, floppy-hatted PhDs, and other degree recipients, including the Thoughtful (gowned and hooded) Blogger. She was there to receive her Diploma in Theological Studies — ten courses over eight years of part-time study at the University of St. Michael’s College, which is where Thoughtful B. goes to the brain-gym and works out. Theology? Can’t imagine what else I’d study. I’m curious about everything in life, including how a clown, scholar and writer of fiction may abide in one compact speck of creation in a strange and ineffable universe. Theology’s fantastic for a lover of language, engaged in the never-ending task of naming the unnameable, which, in any case, is what we do when we write fiction with truth at its heart.
This time, the flashing cameras belonged to friends and families who mobbed for a huge photo-op outside the church where a brisk wind was snapping at hoods and gowns. Well, who knows — maybe it was the flapping of wings, Big Bird ceding his role to the Holy Spirit, roosting, nesting and abiding in mystery.
My head’s still spinning.
What an incredible week it was.