Susie now lived with Bob Ploss in Slocan Park, north of Crescent Valley. I stayed with them in their one room cabin with the outhouse that overlooked a field of flowers. I didn’t know what I was doing there, and I missed Alec and the flowers in the park across the road from our apartment in London. So I crossed the country again.
By fall I was ready to go again. West. Bob’s ex-wife and her partner were going to Florida for a year or two and Bob arranged for me to live in their house while they were gone. My mountain paradise. A one-roomed cabin with a sleeping loft. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Lived through a heavy winter and a glorious spring. I planted a garden. Naked. A Jehovah’s witness came to share the word and left in a hurry. I did poetry readings at local events and fairs. With my clothes on. I lived there for all the seasons. I turned twenty-one and received a modest inheritance from my Gramma Nelly.
Another owner of the land where I lived wanted to move into the cabin. I went further west, Harrison Hot Springs, and danced in the local tavern. With most of my clothes on.
Choosing travel over buying land, I left for Europe in February. For six months I travelled alone, staying with friends in London, The Hague, Berlin and Rome. I had dinner with Leonard Cohen. He was drunk. I wasn’t.
I wanted to dance.
I tried out Montreal but it was 1976 and even though my French was passable, Quebec was a hostile nation then. I moved to Toronto and worked in the Harbour Castle hotel, danced at Toronto Dance Theatre learning the technique of Martha Graham, and wrote poetry and little stories.
I went back to Europe in 1978, intending to launch myself across the world. I stayed with my friends in Paris until it was time to go to Greece with a Dutchman I had met in 1976. I spent Christmas in Rome and New Year’s in Florence and spent too much money. I went to Amsterdam, for a few weeks and stayed with Videoheads, a team of men who filmed weddings and events on VIDEO. What a concept.
I came back to Toronto in the spring of 1979. I worked at Le Select Bistro, then at Fentons, with the distinction of being the first female waiter of that fancy place. We tried to start a union and failed. When I asked to change my shifts because I wanted to go to Glendon for Creative Writing, I was refused. I quit and went to work at an oyster bar in Yorkville, and then moved to a swank hamburger joint called Abundance.
I lived with Stuart Hughes for a year. That didn’t work either. He’s a distinguished actor and now married to Megan Follows.
One of my closest friends then was Leatrice, who worked with a man named Demi at Square Sun Productions, as an entertainment manager. The acts she represented included Shox Johnson and the Jive Bombers, Klo, The River Street Band (a Bruce Springsteen clone band), and Jim Carrey. Jim needed a place where he could bring his parents and be close. I gave him my apartment on Walmer Road and moved in with Leatrice. That’s it, folks, my big claim to fame – I sublet my apartment to Jim Carrey when he was a stand-up comic.
My friend Marianne introduced me to a therapist who wore purple clothes and a rosewood mala around his neck. He had a guru. I don’t need a guru, I thought. I don’t want to see some guy who is going to push some cult thing on me. No way. He didn’t. In fact, he seemed reluctant to discuss his guru. It’s personal, he said.