Day tripping in Toronto Three

Error: It’s all part of the blog learning-curve. New posts lie atop old posts so splitting my story into segments won’t work. You’d have to read it backwards in time and that’s no good. So ‘start to finish’ my new motto. Apropos, perhaps, to a blog about memory, about growing older and losing it, about trying to retain the best bits while each day expanding the list of pleasurable and evocative moments. A blog about the richness of life and the inevitability of passing time, watching the curve of the hour-glass slant across the rock. 

memorial, asylum, insanity, obituary

photo by CAMH - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

 

So far, there’s been the darkness of the basement and how it was hard to see the screen. Then it was board the streetcar with Heather and me, explore Queen Street with us and in particular attend the unveiling of memory plaques marking tragic lives captured behind ten feet brick walls. I hesitate to overwhelm you with over-flowing prose and too damned many jam-packed moments but neither do I want the best to slip past. 

 “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”  Allan Ginsberg wrote in Howl about the beat in New York and I’m writing about an insane asylum in Toronto. But we’re both marking time through words, giving a voice to madness.  Here’s an unrelated bit: In a seedy West Hastings Street bar in Vancouver, circa 1985,  I shared a beer with Ginsberg after he gave a reading. I left with a signed copy of Howl but that’s a whole other story and as interesting as it is, it’s still rambling. If left unchecked blogging becomes a rich cesspool of treacle to a sloppy writer.  Back onto the story of our journey. 

The streetcar rolled along past Parliament, where I looked out the window and spotted a tiny alleyway tucked in behind Shoppers’ Drugs called ‘Stone Cutters Lane.’ It sounded vaguely anachronistic while hinting at what was up ahead for us: 19th century walls off Queen Street. I jotted the name down on my scrap of poetry and suggested a first task: to buy a notebook. “How ironic,” said  Heather, “In gathering data for your blog, you have to search for a piece of  a paper and a pen!”  The best minds of a generation. Madness.

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About Nor

I'm a creative non-fiction writer, with a special interest in memoirs and obituaries--life stories, local histories with flesh & blood anecdotal details. I'm also beginning to create podcasts of people's stories and expanding their audiences. I'm a diarist, an editor, and a political activist. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and spend days tapping keys or staining my fingers in ink.
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