Thursday, October 31, 2013

On Autumn, Writing and Why Toronto's Mayor Should Resign

It is a wet, cool autumn day. It’s been the perfect day for writing, for any type of creativity. And I’ve been doing my best to savour the day in all its grey beauty. This morning, after completing my Morning Pages, I continued working on the rewrite of a novella. At lunch time I went for a walk under the sombre, grey skies and light rain, and decided to treat myself to a shawarma. After lunch I did a little more writing before preparing tonight’s supper: homemade chicken and squash ravioli.

I love the fall. The crisp morning air. The shifting landscape as vibrant reds and oranges and gold and yellows displace the green leaves. Great running weather. Spotting leaves as they flutter to the ground.

Fall is, to me, an inspiring time, a time of birth and renewal. Fall marks the end of my creative cycle when I work to bring full circle the large creative projects I’ve worked on throughout the year. I take a little time to recoup, to take literally the musical term, “rest.” Soon enough the cycle will begin again, and I will be head-first into another writing project, struggling to keep up with all of life’s demands.

As fall settles in, I’m struggling now to bring my latest project full circle. It’s a novella that I wrote while I was living in Sherbrooke (Québec). I started the rewrite 26 September and I thought that it would go smoothly and quickly. It was evident, after the first read-through, that the manuscript needed a lot of work. The writing didn’t hold its own. The characters had so much more to say. There was a larger, bolder story to be told. I’m trying not to be discouraged. I’m doing my best to, each and every day, show up at the page and let the writing work through me. For me, that’s one of the great things about writing. When I put my ego aside and simply act as the conduit, I never know where the characters will lead me. It’s a wonderful joy ride and, at the end, I’m always pleasantly surprised.


Events unfolding today at Toronto’s City Hall had me singing the chorus from Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”:

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.

True, it’s not the full chorus but I think those two lines are apropos given that the Toronto Police Service now has in its possession the video allegedly showing the mayor of Canada’s largest city smoking crack cocaine. The mayor may feel that he has no reason to resign, but we know that in politics perception is everything. Did the mayor speak truthfully at the time (back in May) about the then “alleged” video? The existence of the video suggests that’s not the case.
You've got to know when to walk away ...

Back in May, after the U.S. gossip site and the Toronto Sun broke the story, the circus came to town. And I’m not talking about the Shrine Circus either. I’m talking about the circus that played out around Toronto City Hall. Now, with the existence of the video proven, the circus is back in town. Will this scandal, one more time, provide much fodder for American late-night television hosts? Will Toronto, its mayor, and but extension Canada, once again become the butt of numerous jokes? I hope not.

Toronto deserves better.

With the video now in the hands of the Toronto Police Service, this is no longer solely about the mayor. It’s about Toronto, its citizens and they city's reputation all of which are larger than the mayor. What we want, as Torontorians, is a mayor who demonstrates leadership. Instead we have ended up with a mayor that continues to disappoint. The mayor has a chance to stand up for Toronto, to demonstrate true leadership and do what is in the best interest of Toronto and its citizens: Resign!

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