Do You Remember? (1)

Do You Remember ? (1)


         Heard W.O. Mitchell (Who Can Hear the Wind) on the radio the other day, giving a reading at an author's convention at Harbourfront. It was about an English teacher (presumably W.O.) giving a lecture on writing to a bunch of students. If you want to be a writer, he said, sit down and write. An hour or two or three a day, every day. And don't ask what about. Write about the first thing that comes into your head. Don't worry about who's going to read it, or what they will think about it, or about you. Nobody will ever read it. Including you. You're not writing to have anybody read it. You're writing because you're a writer, and that's what writers do. They write. They write because they want to write. Or because they have to. Don't worry about whether it will work or not. If it will, it will. And if it won't, it doesn't matter. And don't worry about style, or errors, or corrections, or plot, or anything. Just write.

        So I thought that's what I might try to do. I'm doing it on the computer instead of by hand because my hand gets tired and shakes. Maybe it was last night's Scotch. I'm not doing it on the computer so it can be printed and easy to read. Nobody is supposed to read any of this stuff, and that means you. Me too. So here goes. And it doesn't matter what any of this will tell anybody about me, because none of it will tell anybody anything.

Donald J. Finley

March 26, 1999

Dear Diane and Wally:           Re: DYR


         It occurred to me, no that Wally has a computer with all the bells and whistles, and can send faxes and e-mails and download kiddie porn, that we, the three of us, should open a DYR file, standing for “Do You Remember”, to reassure ourselves that what now seem like dreams of people and things in the long ago, once upon a time were real.

         For example, I can remember the cookies Gramma used to give us – this may have been before your time, Diane – when she and Pop lived in the flat at 1182 Queen Street West, at the corner of Northcote, near Gladstone, and the telephone number was Lakeside something or other. Our father paid their monthly telephone bills, ranging from $2 to $3. I happen to know this, because I have the cheque stubs Dad kept in a metal box he hid in a secret place in Bedford park. They were store bought sandwich cookies filled with pineapple jam, shaped and embossed like wicker flower baskets, and they were my favourite cookies in all the world. How she must have skrimped to buy them for us, for their only income was the old age pension of $20 each a month.

         What a silly idea this is. But I have opened a DYR file anyway, just for the fun of it, so that we can recall the little world we lived in when we were young. May I suggest that any contributions be limited to one or two pages, and that they be sent to the other two of us. This may pose a problem for you, Diane, unless you decide to buy a computer and get into the 20th century before it's too late. I must get a new one, if for no other reason than to catch up to Wally.

Looking forward to reminiscences,