Join me (and heaps of others!) on Saturday, May 12 from 11am-6pm to celebrate spring and all things Parkdale! I’ll be at Close Avenue and Queen W!
April 30, 2018
April 30, 2018
April 12, 2018
Leaving wintery Toronto for summery Buenos Aires might have been the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. My fella and I took our kids – 3 and just about turning 1 – to Argentina for a full month and picnicked in the park and drank jarritos at the café on the corner every single morning and ate so much of the most delicious steak. It was a 32-day-long love letter.
BA is a truly wonderful city. There are incredible, extraordinary art galleries, palaces THAT YOU CAN SWIM IN, statues to letter carriers outside of old post offices that are now cultural centres, gold (!) street lamps and palm trees and patios and parks.
OH, the PARKS! They are the parks of Jane Jacobs‘ dreams – multi-use parks filled with every kind of person – elderly folks, babies, families, teenagers hanging and drinking maté, kids learning to ride their bikes, epic soccer games, all of it. Our flat was right near Plaza Vicente Lopez and we had lunch and happy hour at that park almost every day for the full month. One day, I even picnicked four times. It was positively glorious and I will dream about that park until my last breath.
I wrote love letters to rivers and the Atlantic Ocean in Carilo and wrote more than one love letter to The Recoleta Cultural Centre – it had the most incredible courtyards – one with a fountain the 3-year-old LOVED running in and out of, and another with chairs set under orange trees. They repainted the entire facade of the building with EVERY new show (!) and the first show we saw was aptly titled Amor de Verano – Summer of Love.
There were interactive galleries and spaces to read and work and places to sit under fruit trees, AND some of the most joy-filled art I’ve ever seen. I LOVED Sebastien Curi‘s huge colourful murals, every single one of them. They filled my whole heart.
I am back now, and desperate for warm air and parks and long summer days. But I found crocuses today, and biked with my kiddos in the late afternoon sun. And soon, there will be (warm!) picnics!
April 8, 2018
I love swimming (I know, I know, no surprise!), and so, when I went to Argentina with my little family, in the middle of (their) summer, I wrote a whole bunch of love letters. One to a pool in a beautiful palace, one to the world’s widest river, where I went for a swim in Uruguay, and another to the Atlantic Ocean.
To get to the ocean, we had to drive for 5 hours past fields and fields of cows – it felt like we were in the middle of Saskatchewan, with the odd roadside parilla and queso-selling farm stand. The ocean seemed impossible far away. But we kept on and drove through a thick pine forest. It felt like those cottage roads, where the sun is suddenly filtered through trees, dappling the dirt road. We drove until the dirt road gave way to sand and there we were, at our hotel for the weekend. The air went from smelling like pine to smelling like salt.
“You have to be patient, Mommy,” my 3-year-old kept insisting as my fella and the hotel employee traded Google translated sentences.
The sun was already on its way down and I was grateful I had packed a bag with just bathing suits and towels. We grabbed the key to our room and grabbed the bag and headed for the beach, just steps from our door.
The Atlantic was loud and much rougher than I had imagined. This was not a swimming ocean. In true LZV form, I got in to my knees, the undertow pulling at my legs, and bailed. I took a break, watched the wind whip my baby’s wispy hair, and then went back in and dove through the waves. The water was warm, the air was cold and it was perfect.
That night, we walked home from dinner along the sandy road, and down to the beach. We held our babies under the Milky Way and listened to the crashing waves and showed the kids Mars, and marvelled at this glorious life we’ve made, our great luck, our great fortune.
Usually driving for five hours for a 36-hour visit with 2 small kids doesn’t add up, but when you add in the ocean and a bajillion stars and sand castles and pockets filled with shells, it is more than worth it (even when you get lost on the way home and the 5h drive takes 7h and all you have to eat are tubes of no-name Pringles).
More from that glorious trip to the ocean over on Swimming Holes We Have Known…
April 3, 2018
I received the wonderful news that I received funding from the Ontario Arts Council for the second year of my place-based creative writing workshop, Writing The City. And this year, I’ll be offering it at Parkdale Library AND Annette St. Library. I’m so thrilled and grateful.
And if you’d like to read the work we created last fall, there are two copies of the Writing The City anthology available at Parkdale Library in the local history section (ask at the desk to see it!)
Writing The City is funded and supported by:
April 2, 2018
I’m so excited that Sylvie Bouchard and Bouchard Dances are remounting Histoire d’Amour, an evening-length dance-theatre trio based on an undying quest for love and a need to understand its meaning. I worked on writing and editing the text and it is such a wonderful show. Go see if it you can!
April 4-7, 2018: Harbourfront Centre
8:00pm general public (April 5-7)
12:30pm matinées for school (April 5-6)
February 26, 2018
It’s no secret that I love swimming, and the only think I love more than swimming is travel-swimming! New pools! New lakes! New oceans! I am currently wandering around Buenos Aires with my little family, picnicking at least twice a day, drinking way too much coffee and red wine, eating all the steak and soaking in this glorious February summer. And this morning, I got to go for a swim IN AN ARGENTINIAN PALACE. How incredible is that?
You can read more about my dip at the incredible Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires here!
February 6, 2018
I love New York City. LOVE! And a year ago, Artery hosted a Love Lettering Project pop-up event in NYC. My heart still skips a beat thinking about it! In the photo above, there’s a hidden love letter, alongside the Statue of Liberty. Be still my beating heart…
I don’t really have a commute these days, as I usually work from home, but if I did, I wish it was by water taxi!
And how wonderful is the next letter, with the accompanying hiding spot??
Oh, Central Park, one day I will picnic in you again!
February 6, 2018
It’s no secret that I had THE BEST time leading a place-based creative writing workshop at Parkdale Library last fall. I loved every second of it. And I’m so thrilled to announce that by the end of February, you too can read some of the incredible work created by “Writing The City” participants!
Two copies of the Writing The City anthology will be available at Parkdale Library (in the local history section!)
Parkdale Library: 1303 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON
The biggest and most grateful thank you to all the brave, inspired writers who contributed work. This is truly an exceptional record of Parkdale in the fall of 2017.
Writing The City was funded and supported by:
January 18, 2018
Winter has arrived, with heaps of snow and really chilly days. The temptation to burrow under the blankets for the next three months is strong, but resist! If only for a few hours. Instead, I recommend a winter picnic – my ultimate favourite winter activity! In face, I love them so much, I threw a *very* early morning winter picnic on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning and CBC TV yesterday morning. It was early, and lordy it was cold (-20 with the windchill!), but I bundled and packed hot chocolate – spiked with coffee, but Baileys would’ve been delicious – and had the most glorious morning under a huge blue sky, the marshmallows melting just so in my mug, the gingerbread a perfect second breakfast…
TIPS FOR A WINTER PICNIC:
1) Wear all the clothes. All of them. And then more. Double your socks. Pull out the long johns AND the leg warmers. Grab your fuzziest toque. Don’t forget mittens. Wear snow pants!
2) Picnic blanket. I made one with fabric on top and waterproof vinyl on the bottom – keeps bums free from grass-damp in the summer and snow-cold in the winter. But any ol’ blanket will do. To extend the length of your picnic, may I recommend slipping a camping mattress, like a Thermarest between the snow and your picnic blanket. That tiny pocket of air will afford you HEAPS of picnicking time.
3) Hot beverages. Load up that thermos with whatever you’ve got. Hot chocolate, coffee, (Baileys optional!), mulled apple cider (rum/bourbon optional!), mulled wine (wine not optional) If you go the hot chocolate/mocha route, don’t forget the marshmallows.
4). Food. Anything you can eat without taking off your mitts, and food that doesn’t need to be warm is optimal. Gingerbread cookies, sandwiches, skewers with pickles/olives/cheese. And chips. When I was in Saskatchewan doing a residency one winter, I learned the great joy that are SUPER cold chips. So good!
5). Weather. My favourite winter picnicking days are the really clear sunny ones. The sun can be so glorious in the winter, so bright with the light bouncing off the snow! Those days that are hovering in the -5-0 range are just glorious (though I have been known to picnic in the -20s…still wonderful in a different sort of way!)
6). Location. The world is transformed in the winter. With blankets of snow and ice, the places you know so well in the warmer months are so different, it’s magical. I love picnicking by the lake, but as I mentioned on the radio, there’s a bizarre, wonderful little park called “The Dundas Dupont Traffic Island” park (or, the DunDu as we’ve named it around here) where there are trains for the toddler to look at. Head to your favourite summer picnic spot and see how different it is (and I can almost guarantee it’ll be quiet!)
And if you do venture forth, send me pics of your winter picnic! loveletteringproject at gmail.com!
And if you’re not sold on adult snow pants, you can listen to my Love Letter to Snowpants here (from last year on Metro Morning!)
January 9, 2018
Last fall was so full of inspiring Love Lettering Project events and workshops and I hunkered down for the last stretch of the year to write grants for upcoming projects (then somehow managed to write a kids’ book, poof, like that in that glorious unspoken for stretch between Christmas and New Year’s). But now it is 2018, just like that, and oh, I do so love the clean slate of a new year – all blank calendars and brand new notebooks. So much potential and so many (big!) dreams!