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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Saturday, May 07, 2005

true believers

A cooler, overcast day. Kimmie and I were fully awake before 6:00, and decided to get going just after. Kimmie is much, much better after her two chiropractic sessions: almost fully mobile and comfortable. She was excited about our mission this morning to go to New Westminster to buy tickets to this year's Heritage Preservation Society's Homes Tour--possibly the highlight of Kimmie's year. The tour itself is on Sunday 29 May.

The coffee notes session: I finished the last notes from When Prophecy Fails, as well as the last notes from the Caesar chapter of The Twelve Caesars, having highlighted these last night. Next: more keying from Hoffer's The True Believer. Continued excellence. Consider these thoughts, which I keyed from the book this morning:

Misery does not automatically generate discontent, nor is the intensity of discontent directly proportionate to the degree of misery.

Discontent is likely to be highest when misery is bearable; when conditions have so improved that an ideal state seems almost within reach.... A popular upheaval in Soviet Russia is hardly likely before the people get a real taste of the good life. The most dangerous moment for the regime of the Politburo will be when a considerable improvement in the economic conditions of the Russian masses has been achieved and the iron totalitarian rule somewhat relaxed.


Those words were written sometime before 1951. Prescient, no? I like Hoffer: an independent thinker outside the bounds of academic institutions.

That was it for this morning. Kimmie and I were off to get our tickets at the little antique shop on 12th St. in New West ($50 for the pair as members of the Heritage Preservation Society). Last year we had a lot more difficulty, since we didn't look for tickets until a couple of weeks after they went on sale, and they were sold out. We were able to get a single ticket that had come back on the market at a furniture-maker on Granville Island, then Kimmie discovered that a couple of the key players in the HPS work with her at ICBC, and she was able to get a second ticket through them. To ensure access to tickets this year, we became members of the society after the last tour.

We celebrated our purchase with breakfast at the International House of Pancakes in New West--the only surviving location for this once more prevalent chain. It was our first visit, and we were very happy with it: old-fashioned friendliness, a perky small-town feel, and cute dark-blue plastic jugs for coffee, syrup, etc. Our waitress, a thin woman in her 60s, was pleasant and cheerful. In short: it was not like a typical Canadian restaurant--more like an American one.

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