I'm feeling Dutch these days. Could be because I keep making Dutch friends! It's also because I spent yesterday at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of NetherlandicStudies, where I spoke about my book What World Is Left.
My two dinner guests last night are both associated with CAANS. Mary-Eggermont Molenaar was born in Holland, but now lives in Calgary. She has been doing research on the art collection of Sir William van Horne. My other guest was Dutch journalist and author Rudi Wester. Rudi told us about her latest project -- a biography of another Dutch journalist and painter named Jef Last. My parents, who are also Dutch, came for dinner, too. Rudi told us that in 1946, Jef Last worked together with my opa (my mum's father) on a book about a Dutch island called the Walchren. This was news to my mum!
Rudi has been researching Last's life for many years. She told me she began by interviewing everyone who knew something about Last -- and who was older than 80. This ties into my view that it's crucial to get older people to tell us their stories.
In tomorrow's entry, I'll tell you a little about the creative writing workshop I'm doing here in Montreal at Hebrew Foundation School. I'm working with six talented lively ten and eleven year olds. They're working on a group story -- and if they all do their "homework" I have a feeling it'll make for great reading!