Since September 2009, when my wife got a job at the London School of Economics, we've been living in London, England. So far the experience has been very fulfilling. People are engaging, welcoming and always up for new things. It's been an excellent move so far and we hope it continues to be. And of course the city is dense with possibilities —for resident and artist alike.
I was very sorry to leave the scene in Toronto, which is a very vital one and full of skilled players, but I was also excited about the opportunity to live and work in London. (As for the business side of Toronto music, I am still booking gigs using other musicians there, and am available to perform with the Big Steam Band in Toronto, if needed.) The idea is to go back every summer and keep as connected to Canada as possible, and deal with my longing for old friends and 'home' by being there in the warm season (well, outside the city, that is).
This year in London I've been working full time on the draft of a book. The draft is currently with my editor, novelist Richard Scrimger, and a handful of readers who have been kind enough to read what is currently a long manuscript.
The manuscript is a novel, called Lucy Speaks, about a young woman born in 1889 in a farming community outside Toronto.
Lucy Strath is a sort of literary prodigy who loathes farms, farming and farm folk, and eventually lands a scholarship to a U.S. women’s college, the only one that offers a Ph.D. to women at the time, Bryn Mawr. Her attraction to women's rights, writing famous authors and asking them to help her with her ideas, and her desire to be independent and take on some worthy and sometimes risky causes, takes her on some adventures. The story is told by Lucy’s best friend, Harriet, who is writing a kind biography of Lucy through her letters, diary entries and poetry. The telling of Lucy's story turns out to reveal a lot about Harriet, and the friendship between the two nineteen year-olds.
I've been writing this thing for years, and I can't wait to see it in the realm where I won't be able to think about (changing) it anymore.