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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

convocation in the rain

Woke at about 12:30 a.m., then again at about 2:30. Just before 3:00 I fetched myself a scotch and sat in bed drinking it. Liquor does temporarily cut through one's cares. I have a bunch of strata (condominium--I'm president and treasurer of ours) things weighing on my mind, financials for the year, the coming AGM. Bookwise, I tend to be most concerned about these periods of relative stasis, when I'm researching and preparing for the next chapter or scene. Or when I think about how much remains to be done: how difficult it is to engineer these little segments of story, and there's still a great heap of them waiting for me.

Woke at around 7:30 to the sound of falling rain. Kimmie has taken yesterday and today off, so we had a chance to sleep in. Yesterday was the birthday brunch for Robin, which went well. Robin and Trevor were over, and we all tucked into a fritata and sausages made by K, along with freshly cut fruit. Everyone seemed fine after the relative drama of the previous night.

Today was Robin's convocation for graduating from the Medical Office Assistant program at Cap College. I spent some time in the a.m. keying notes (True Believer, Origins of Scientific Thought, Rubicon), and we headed out, dressed well, in the rain. Cap College is nestled on the forested mountainside just by the North Vancouver cemetery. Kimmie and I took seats in the dark, steep auditorium while a young Chinese woman played a Yamaha grand piano quickly at stage right. While she raced through "Liebestraum" Kimmie teared up and I had to give her my spare cotton handkerchief.

Trevor came in, along with Robin's natural father Angus, whom Kimmie left shortly after Robin was born in 1981. Trevor had picked him up at the SeaBus terminal, since Angus, having slowly fallen on ever-harder times, has no car. He's 55 but looks older, with a creased forehead and papery folds under his eyes. His sandy-gray hair is longish, possibly from poverty, and he's become thin. He brought in the scent of cigarette smoke on his jeans and striped sportshirt. He speaks in a soft wheeze and cracks ironic, mocking jokes.

Robin, black-gowned like the other grads, received her certificate in proper alphabetical order, and we shuffled out to the reception in a screened-off portion of the cafeteria, where a student trio played jazz softly. Robin and Trevor had arranged to have lunch with Angus; Kimmie and I will treat Robin and Trevor to dinner tonight, so we left. We picked up a bouquet of pink roses with baby's breath at Save-On Foods to give to Robin at the restaurant.

Kim and I both seem a bit sad today. For Kimmie, it might be a combination of the rain, Robin's situation with Trevor, and the fact that Robin, unlike most of her classmates, has yet to secure an MOA job, even though she finished near the top of the class, as well as the fact that Kimmie must return to her unloved job tomorrow. For me, it might be that I lose compression on my project when Kimmie is at home, since I both want to and also feel obligated to spend time with her when she's got days off. So my project sits in "idle" even more than usual.

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