Ready, Set, Go!

Filed Under (To Get To The Other Side, Writing) by Estee on 07-12-2009

I hear Adam’s cherub voice, Ready. Set. Go! in my head as I’ve returned from Paris with fifty-two pages of something I think is finally good. It’s a little more than the weight and size of the limited edition of Jeanette Winterson’s Dog Days when I hold it. I can hear “ready, set go,” — that phrase we taught Adam to plunge him into a game or an activity, and I don’t forget the sound. Time, people, events happen so quickly and memory is fragile.

Over the past ten years, I’ve written two books, both incomplete and yearning to come together. At the Humber College for Writers and The University of Toronto, where I’ve attended writer’s conferences in the past, I was told that one’s first book takes about seven years to accomplish. Other writers have told me ten to fifteen years, which had me scratching my head at the John Grishams of the world and how on earth could they churn books out so fast. With my extraordinary impatience and harsh self-judgment, a difficult year has introduced me to some gentilité with myself and with others. So please “God,” this just has to be my year.

Thanks, John Baxter,  and his punctual rendezvous avec moi in front of Les Deux Magots, and avec Flannerie along Rue de Bonaparte and Rue Jacob, taught me a little bit more of the Paris that once belonged to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Miller and Gertrude Stein, among some other great literary figures. Thank you for also letting me hold a letter from Anais Nin to Jean Fanchette. I have come to realize why I became a curator but to understand the importance of preservation and memory.

I would recommend anyone out there to read John’s memoirs from Paris.x8790 He has written a series of that help describe the underbelly of and life in Paris.

It was not difficult to be alone in Paris and John’s paragraph caught my eye when I ran across it: “For a woman, Paris is a good city to be alone…Most of the expatriate writers who, since the turn of the century, created our image of the city — Edith Wharton, Jean Rhys, Janet Flanner, Nancy Mitford, Mavis Gallant, Dianne Johnson — were laureates of loneliness, who, even though sometimes married, preferred to live and work by themselves.” (page 137, Harper-Perrenial edition, 2005.) So here I was, a “ready, set go” decision to go to Paris, meet John, Leda and write. Another “laureate of loneliness,” but with no complaints.

Which leads me to also thank profusely, my long-time friend and pianiste extraordinaire, Leda Perac, who is another laureate living in Paris. I studied and became great friends with Leda in Germany fifteen years ago in colder, hungrier circumstances, nevertheless playing and singing our way through it all with Tori Amos. This time, having dinner in Le Châteaubriand with my face, she noted, visibily drawn from flight-fatigue, and undoubtedly the weight of a difficult year, she presented all of the letters I had sent to her in German when I returned to Canada in 1995 and 1996. Reading them between courses of poisson and some flirtatious chitter-chatter between myself and our exceptionally handsome waiter with the beautiful smile, I required her to translate the some of the very words I had written fifteen years later, to my chagrin. Leda, you helped bring back memories that remind me of who I was, who I am, and maybe more importantly, why I am.

And thank you, Paris. You gave me Adam, love, and fifty-two good pages. I’m ready to really begin.

Vive la présentation et le préservation.

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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.