Great Books & Wild Elephants

I've been emerging from

a strange and colourful dream.

I was on an island in the Indian Ocean being treated like visiting royalty. There were flying monkeys, herds of wild elephants, and then Superman appeared. (I'll explain in a moment.)

It's been a while since I've written one of these letters, but only because I'm in the midst of trying to finish a big project and by the time I get home at the end of the day, all the words have been squeezed out of me. 

Briefly, though, there are two exquisite books I'd love to trumpet. The first is the debut novel of Anuk Arudpragasam, a young Sri Lankan author whom I met at the Galle Literary Festival in January. I'm not sure I have it in me to write a proper review of his masterpiece, The Story of a Brief Marriage, but I can say that there are very few books I finish and then hold to my body, for ages, just to absorb the resonance of such triumphant beauty, such transcendent art. Even now, months after reading it, I sometimes take it off my bookshelf and hold it, reread a page or two, hold it again. One caveat: the first five pages are as gruesome as the rest of the book is sublime. Read on.

The second book, Birds Art Life, is a stunning new memoir by the Canadian writer Kyo Maclear. Again, I'm low on words at the moment and a full review is beyond me, but for anyone wishing to witness the art of memoir at its finest, to observe the way a small, personal story can lift and write itself, grandly and gracefully, across the sky, this is your book.

And now for the dream.

As I mentioned in a previous letter, I had the great fortune and honour of being invited to perform at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka in January. I could go on and on (and might someday), but in the interest of brevity (and the completion of this note before 2018), I'll say simply that it was a magnificent, life-changing experience. And the show was met with a long and wondrous standing ovation. 

The festival itself was only five days, but I stayed on to travel, partly on my own and partly with my son, Noah, who will be heading to university in the fall. We had an absolute BALL exploring, hiking, and laughing ourselves silly, and the two weeks we spent together were among the most beautiful of my life.

Here are a few quick glimpses:

 Opening Ceremonies of the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. (No kidding. It was one of the most spectacular literary festivals I've ever attended.)

Opening Ceremonies of the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. (No kidding. It was one of the most spectacular literary festivals I've ever attended.)

 I offered a Music & Movement of Words workshop for students attending the festival. They were shy and VERY apprehensive when they arrived, but everyone ended up dancing -- including the male teachers. It was beyond beautiful.

I offered a Music & Movement of Words workshop for students attending the festival. They were shy and VERY apprehensive when they arrived, but everyone ended up dancing -- including the male teachers. It was beyond beautiful.

 After the festival, I travelled into the hill country and woke up to some rustling outside my window. I watched these guys leaping, swinging and playing for HOURS.

After the festival, I travelled into the hill country and woke up to some rustling outside my window. I watched these guys leaping, swinging and playing for HOURS.

 Hiking in the hill country, central Sri Lanka. I could not begin to count the number of times my breath was taken away by the extraordinary beauty of this country.

Hiking in the hill country, central Sri Lanka. I could not begin to count the number of times my breath was taken away by the extraordinary beauty of this country.

 Just one of the many, many exceptionally kind Sri Lanka people who welcomed and helped us at every turn. Here's to kindness & everyday superheroes.

Just one of the many, many exceptionally kind Sri Lanka people who welcomed and helped us at every turn. Here's to kindness & everyday superheroes.

Lastly, these 11 seconds constitute the most joyful, colourful send-off I've ever witnessed. And, in some way, they capture the spirit of the whole journey.

Okay, sorry about that. I can't believe I just pulled a Photos of My Vacation move, but I promise never to do it again. 

The last thing I'd like to share is that there is only one remaining performance of Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter scheduled at the moment (in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, of all places). It doesn't mean I'll never perform it again, but as my dad said recently, how much more can you squeeze out of me??

with joyful, colourful wishes, living dreams, and luscious spring light ~

Alison