The challenge is on for me to find an equivalent sign en français, as I take a sabbatical for a month! I will miss our wonderful Spring Luncheon/AGM! Mostly, I will miss my wonderful friends at CWLC as we all drift about in various directions for the summer.
I’m remiss in keeping up to posting the many funny presentations this year — NOTE: As in hilarious! After I’ve relaxed and rewound, I’ll be a powerhouse! Thanks to all who shared outstanding humour, satire and irony — their own as well as the authors they presented. What an upbeat year! Next year, armchair travels…
Cecilia’s lifelong passion for William Shakespeare was clearly evident in her enthusiastic presentation on October 16, structured in the form of a five-act Shakespearean play.
Each succeeding act consisted of defined topics, such as family and friends who influenced his writing, his humour as well as various characters who inhabited his plays.
Cecilia’s power point presentation (Act IV) in exquisite pictures, detailed her extensive personal experience with Shakespeare’s live theatre as well as journeys to Stratford in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Shakespeare’s words of wisdom, his philosophy of life and humour still resonate with us today.
During her presentation, Linda McGregor read four poems by Robert Burns — in Scottish dialect — while we followed her English translation: words so familiar and so foreign! “Address to a Haggis,” “Holy Willie’s Prayer,” “Ode to a Mouse” and Ode to a Louse”. Quaint…
… but it’s satire, and speaks to us over two centuries later! Coincidentally, “Ode to a Louse” was quoted in the next morning’s Calgary Herald (October 31, 2018, p. A15) under the headline, “Who will act to end America’s gun insanity? Moral authority shattered,” writes Terrence J. Downey. Here it is, but using Linda’s translation:
Oh if only God would give us the gift
Of seeing ourselves as others see us!
It would free us from many a blunder
And silly notions.
Translation by Linda McGregor
Robert Burns was a master of humour and satire. We could get no better presenter of this writer than Linda, who as a child spoke Burns’ own “Geordie language” and was told, “Speak English!” when she moved to Aberdeen. Wearing a Scottish scarf and with a gleam in her eye, Linda started her talk by dispensing with myths, such as:
1. There is undue focus on Robert Burns’ sex life. He was not responsible for a population increase in Scotland. He was survived by only three sons (of 13 children.) 2. He did not die a pauper or of venereal disease but of natural causes due to severe poverty in childhood. 3. He was not a prodigious drinker: He couldn’t hold his liquor so pretended to be drunk. 4. Not every Scottish song was written by Burns!
Sandra Ens has taught Robertson Davies to many English students. Now it’s our turn to find out why! Davies’ style of writing has been out of favour: He uses long sentences and depicts a non-multicultural Canada of times gone by. Yet, his paragraphs, full of literary allusions, can be “unpacked” by an intelligent reader. Is that not us?
Sandra explained that Robertson Davies’ humour is gentle and never malicious. You won’t find many gags. Stories build, characters are well-developed and timing is everything to reveal truth in an unexpected light. Sandra reminded us that truth lies at the heart of comedy, that dying is easy but comedy is hard — and that it takes great skill by an author.
Davies’ comedy is in a SHAKESPEAREAN TRADITION: Satire is to seek improvement and solutions (see also ARISTOPHANES) but delivered through characters that are larger than life, exuberant and expound about life. Laughs will follow!
For her presentation on November 20, Anne Tingle took us back in time to the Golden Age of ancient Greece, and the plays of Aristophanes.
After an engrossing explanation of Aristophanes and his times, Anne surprised many of us with a Reader’s Theatre. Contrary to Greek times, she had assembled an all-female cast (several of our members and a guest) to read parts of Lysistrata, her favourite Aristophanes’ play. Hilarity ensued!
Anne disclosed she was using a turn-of-the-century (i.e. circa 1900) translation for the (relative) comfort of her readers and audience. A 2005 translation was apparently even racier! What a “reveal!” More laughs!
Cultures have changed, but how recognisable are human characteristics, despite a span of 2400+ years!
Aristophanes used satire and farce to highlight the need for peace, order and good government. Although there is no evidence he had influence politically, his artistic influence is incredible, and his plays are still performed.
We were so honoured by the presence of two Calgary authors on October 23rd. Poet Rosemary Griebel introduced Marcello Di Cintio, who was in the midst of his three-month tenure, delivering programs, mentoring aspiring and established writers and presenting to august audiences such as the CWLC! [CLICK HERE to learn about Rosemary’s “Literary Bookmark” in Inglewood.]
Growing up, Marcello described himself as a science nerd who liked to write stories: He graduated with dual degrees, English and Microbiology. Shortly after, he volunteered in Ghana to teach biology for three months, then travelled the next nine. His first published writing was an article in City Palate about weird food he ate while travelling, and Africa inspired his first book, Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa. He was completely hooked on travel.
Trying to get his first book published, he got some very sage advice from a publisher: That his books should reflect not a traveller who writes, but a writer who travelled. And does he travel, but not to easy-going resort destinations! Following his time in Africa, he has been drawn to the Middle East, Persian culture, and the concept of walls as barriers and the people who live along them.
In discussing his most recent book, Pay No Heed to the Rockets, Marcello mentioned he has visited Israel and Palestine nine times. He connected with writers and others in the literary world, who provided him with “a backstage pass” to interesting people. He sought to bring a fresh perspective from individuals in conflict-riddled areas: ageing poets, young novelists (not a common writing form in that culture,) a Bedouin writer of a fairy tale that won the Astrid Lundgrun prize, a teenager who writes on Facebook… To follow more of Marcello’s illuminating, inspiring journeys and writings PLEASE CLICK HERE You will find Marcello Di Cintio is, without a doubt, a writer who has travelled!