Bilingue III.

15 octobre

Beaucoup de vent, pluie aussi. Un jour vraiment sauvage! Les feuilles pareil les oiseaux vite. Now that the leaves are going, gone, the neighbouring buildings seem closer. Basterache is considering the evidence and writing his report. Cary Price is stopping pucks, gaz de schiste is still in the news, along with les adieux triste pour les quatre jeunes homme qui sont mort dans un accident à Drummondville.

Experience overtakes the time, rather the patience I have to record it. Also, reflections self-organize according to theme, rather than time. Jour-nal. Dia-ry. Day-book. This netbook is handy but bad for the neck.

Already time is going fast. I have been here three weeks, and my progress? Tres bon à parler avec Marie et Mireille. Marie is better at English, and yesterday we walked around la Musée National des beaux-arts for our practice session. The wonderful Riopelle interested me as much as the Spanish work, because je n'ai pas su son oeuvre, and many of the Spanish artists I knew from having seen them at the Prado or the Reina Sophia in Madrid. Un cadre is a frame and there were many with beacoup d'ornamatation. But the more modern works included the wonderful Sorolla, Dali, Picasso. Marie is good at correcting me. Mireille, who is uneasy en anglais comme moi en français, is a natural teacher and she, also like me, has a desire to get to know the other solitude, as per the phrase, Two Solitudes.

Lanugage: seldom think about the platform it provides for communion. I see how immigrants can feel so estranged. Here, people generally are more patient with me outside vieux quebec, and women more than men, with some exceptions. It's the accent that immediately gives me away, and makes for misunderstandings. French requires more nose and throat, je pense.

Marie-Josée said, many quote the title (Two Solitudes) of Hugh MacLennann's book, without having read it. M-J and John met me for coffee one morning. I wanted to thank them for helping me find this place pour rester à Québec. Une couple tres sympathetique. M-J m'a donné son livre de contes, Tokyo Express. Peut-etre je les verrai encore.

Et Annie! La visite de ma cadette! C'était super. Le premier nuit, elle, Pascal et Russ et moi avons eu du vin et h'ors-d'oeuvres, et Russ told a good joke: what is the question to the answer, 9 W? Is Wagner spelled with a V? Nein, W! Fun to walk around the city, along the river, through the neighbourhoods I like. She introduced me to poutine, bought me a café irlandais at the Chateau Frontenac. With her, Pascal and his parents, we celebrated a bilingual Thanksgiving dinner. Or the potential for one. Malhereusement, we spoke English, but I learned much about the culture here and in New Brunsick from Michel and Janette, both literary types,Michel a Radio Canada journalist. Good talk avec ils.

La langue, la langue! Un bon dimanche parce que I conducted myself comprehensibly at Nektar, my favourite coffee bar, and then, after much self-persuasion, initated a conversation with the woman sitting next to me at lecture by Alberto Manguel, full auditorium at la musée de beaux arts. I understood Alberto, too. Oh that felt good. Il a dit que la fête litteraire autour Borges était meilleur que autour Dan Brown. Un festival historique pour Québec and pour Canada aussi. Manguel has always preferred the imaginary, more than the realistic, the importance of the word, of language as symbol. Il me fait à penser. Peut-etre, I really can become binlingue...someday. Meanwhile, the concentration, thinking about words, has to be good for writing.

A debate described, typically, as raucous, as the Charest government pushes through new rules regarding the schooling of children in English. The language debate continues. I wish it weren't a matter of law but of desire, that everyone appreciated the beauty of binlgualisme. Sitting in the gallery of the National Assembly, the afternoon following the forcing of the law, j'ai écouté the PQ's Pauline Marois accuse Charest of abandoning le Quebecois. Could we trust good will, the nationwide recognition of the gift bilingualism is for a country, a person? Reading responses to the issue on the CBC Montreal site makes me doubtful.