Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Bourgeois Heroine, That's Me!

I'm far behind in my reading blog, but came across something the other day that I just have to share as it's so apropos of all the activities and itineraries I've listed in the past several posts. It's a brief passage from Eva Hoffman's Appassionata, which is turning out to be a very good recommendation indeed from someone whose recommendations I've learned to trust. It's about a concert pianist who is musing about her lifestyle at the beginning of a multi-staged concert tour:
She thinks of the stages she will have to cross before reaching the piano, the interviews she'll have to give, the dinners she's promised to attend. Bourgeois heroism is what Peter calls it, the acrobatics of being in so many places practically at once, and doing so many amazing things in one day, and then conversing over dinner with unflagging energy.(page 5, underlining mine)

Obviously, my itinerary and activities are neither as glamorous nor as important as the concert pianist's, but nonetheless I chortled at the wry label, imagining it appended to my "oh, my life is so tough, I had to go to a conference in Montreal, then I flew back to here, then I went to there, then I b-sat my granddaughter, then I . . . " However will I soldier on? Oh, I'll just muster up some of that bourgeois heroism. . .
Anyway, it struck my funny bone, and perhaps will strike yours. . . .

Meanwhile, since I've mentioned my reading blog, I'll tell you that while it's not at all caught up, I did post the other day in recognition of an old grad school friend and office mate winning one of the world's biggest Poetry Prizes -- which is Canada's own Griffin. Congratulations, Karen Solie! I'll happily recommend any of her three books of poetry to you: Short Haul Engine (short-listed for the Griffin a few years ago, and Modern and Normal, both published by Brick Books and the winner of the Griffin 2010, Pigeon, published by Anansi.


  1. I would take issue with your statement 'my itinerary and activities are neither as glamorous nor as important' For me what we do is defined by context and to me your life style evokes much lifestyle envy. That you read with water lapping below your window is indeed most glamorous, especially compared to the sound of train tannoy annoucements that drift through my french windows.
    I would also take issue with 'important' because whilst society continually undervalues educators we should not undervalue ourselves. It takes great skill to educate, one that is never appreciated until said pianist tries it!
    If this blogging malarky has taught me something it is that there is glamour in all our lives much as there is sadness and loss. It just looks different from where we view it from.
    That said I'm all for some 'bourgeois heroism'!

  2. You would earn an "e" b/c femme bourgoise. I often react with knee-jerk irritation when I hear people of privilege complaining, me included. A guy I used to work with said, "I wake up, I tickle my kids, I eat, I go to work: I've got it made; the rest is gravy."

  3. Oops, left out an e- bourgeoise.

  4. Thanks, Alison! I have to say that from my perspective being able to stroll the high streets of London, take in a play or concert, and check out the fab galleries all seems v. glam to me -- all relative, no?
    Duchesse: I caught myself one day feeling stressed because I had to fit in a grocery stop to pick up goodies to serve some GFs who were coming over for g&Ts, which were to be taken out on my deck while my wonderful cleaning lady performed her magic inside -- and the rushing for groceries was happening after my hair appointment -- I was complaining in the midst of this wealth of privileges! I did catch myself, thank goodness, and had a bit of a chuckle, but for that split second I was honestly feeling a bit aggrieved, poor me!

  5. I think your activities sound very glamorous ... next to mine, at least. Context is all?

  6. Yes, Tiffany - context -- the greener grass, right?


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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