Ron Hynes

November 21st, 2015 § 0 comments permalink

Ron Hynes, Newfoundland singer-songwriter died this week, at the age of 64. David and I both loved Ron's music.   Twice we saw Ron perform at one of our favourite venues, the Trailside Inn in Mount Stewart, PEI. The first time we brought our daughter Mary, who was about 6 months old, along with us. Ron saw her from the stage and dedicated a lullaby to her. The next time he and David had an animated conversation after the concert about how they should collaborate on something sometime. David often listened to Ron's songs, with "Dark River" and "Godspeed" two of his particular favourites.   In the summer, John Connolly, a PEI singer-songwriter and friend of Ron's, told me about a song Ron had written called "After Leaving Home." I found it on YouTube and wrote to Ron to tell him how much I liked it, and how David had liked listening to his CDs. Ron wrote back to thank me for telling him that. At the time I didn't realize how ill he was.   He was a towering talent, a master songwriter and poet. Gone too soon. Godspeed, Ron. RIP.  
Ron's last album, featuring "After Leaving Home"

Ron's last album, featuring "After Leaving Home"

     

Alistair MacLeod

April 23rd, 2014 § 1 comment permalink

macleod

It's with sadness that I write this tribute to Alistair MacLeod, one of Canada's literary lions, who died on Easter Sunday. David and I both loved his writing. In the 1980s when I worked at Playwrights Union, our Executive Director Jane Buss gave me a copy of his wonderful short story collection, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood. I remember laughing, weeping, and marveling at MacLeod's ability to get to the beating heart of family relationships. MacLeod's novel No Great Mischief is, of course, a classic. (In 2006, I had the pleasure of selecting and editing David A. Young's stage adaptation of that novel for Scirocco Drama.)

David French and I were lucky enough to meet Alistair several years ago when Lee Gowan of the U of T School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Department invited Alistair, David, and Michael Winter to do a reading. We all went out for dinner first, and it stands in my memory as one of those golden evenings where the company could not possibly have been improved upon.

David was to get to know Alistair better a few years later when he went to be Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor. Alistair's office was just down the hall from David's, and they formed a teasing friendship that apparently involved a lot of ribbing about offices. (Alistair's office was famously cluttered, while David, who was only in Windsor for a year, had a very sparse set-up.)

My condolences to Alistair's wife Anita and his children and grandchildren. His deep love for his family was apparent, and they will miss him very much.