Christina Vasilevski

Toronto Writer/Editor for Content Strategy, Content Design & UX.

Margaret Atwood: Impressions

Two days ago, I had lunch with Margaret Atwood as part of the contest sponsored by the Toronto Public Library. I won’t go into exhaustive detail here, as I’m still trying to recall everything that we saw and talked about that day, but here’s a mental Impressionist painting of some of my memories of the event:

My realization, when I first saw her in person, that she looked like any other regular person walking down the street.

My idiotic grin, miles wide, when she shook my hand. I was worried that it still felt greasy from my hand cream.

A bridge over a ravine in an uptown Toronto neighbourhood. The snow was falling, and everyone was coated in grey. People walking by with their dogs.

The faces and personas of the other contest winners I met – by turns gleeful, knowing, hopeful, and animated.

Passing by the memorial statue on University Avenue which Margaret Atwood called “Gumby Goes to Heaven.

The feeling of surprise and appreciation when she gave me and the other three contest winners a limited-edition silkscreen of one of her poems on thick, handmade paper.

The intense flavour of the lemon tart I had for dessert at the meal we shared. It was so wonderfully sour that my tongue became sore and I couldn’t finish it.

The hug I gave two of the other contest winners as I left them and boarded the subway that would begin to take me home. Again, my smile, still miles wide.

Why the Toronto Public Library matters to me

I try not to foray too deeply into the world of politics on this blog, but when I heard about a month and a half ago that Toronto’s libraries could undergo reduced funding due to Mayor Rob Ford’s agenda to “stop the gravy train” at City Hall, I had to act.

Luckily, the people behind the Toronto Public Library are both web- and media-savvy, and they put together a great petition and public awareness campaign, resulting in an extensive citizen protest at City Hall against service cutbacks.

However, in our recession-ravaged world, it seems nothing is truly safe. So the Toronto Public Library upped its profile once again by opening a contest to win lunch with a famous Canadian author in Toronto.

The contest is closed now, but I figured I would share my video entry with you all – who knows, I might actually win! So, without further delay, here’s why the Toronto Public Library matters to me: