When I was three or four years old, in the mid ’80s, I fell in love with My Little Pony. I begged my parents for the little plastic figurines, but they were reluctant to indulge my overtly girly interest. Being a boy, there were clear, acceptable expectations for my play habits: Batman and Transformers yes, ponies no. I can imagine my parents worried thoughts about how my subversive pony phase would play out through the rest of my life: would other kids make fun of me? Would that make me unhappy? Would I turn to drugs to compensate? Would that ruin my chances at university? Would that mean I would be living with them until I was forty?
Dear Ai Weiwei,
I think you’re hot. It’s not because I have a thing for beards, bellies or artists, because I don’t. (Especially artists — imagine what it would be like to date Jeff Koons? Scary. You’re bits and bites would be on display).
I’ve never read a Mavis Gallant short story, something that, as I write this blog post, I’m ashamed to admit. But every so often I come across a mention of this escaped Cannuck — who has lived in Paris for over 60 of her 90 years — that re-asserts her importance in the world of writing. As a result, I have a certain sketchy understanding of her life through the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, the National Post and other media outlets. The first time I really took notice was in a charming 2008 radio interview on CBC’s Writers and Company, but it wasn’t until last week, when I listened to another CBC radio interview on Ideas, that her life strongly resonated with me. She seems to have achieved something that I find deeply admirable — independence — and I wish I knew how to do the same.