Building Better Than I Knew

All too often an author discovers, once the book is irretrievably out there, that it contains mistakes that can’t be corrected until the next printing. My book contains its share of foolish errors that I managed to make. On occasion, however, something surprisingly good happens, and you discover a magical link that is totally mysterious.

For example, the very last lines of my chapter on Morley Callaghan talk about the outburst of Dixieland music at Morley’s funeral at St. Michael’s Cathedral: “Suddenly everyone was smiling and chatting, delighted by the uplifting surprise. We were all stepping lively as we moved behind the coffin through the old cathedral doors, and out into Morley’s Toronto sunshine.”

Today, enjoying William Toye’s book On Canadian Literature, I am studying his section on Morley Callaghan, and I read this about one of his short stories: In “A Predicament” Father Francis is hearing confessions when a man appears at the panel and says drunkenly, “I wanna get off at the corner of King and Yonge Street”; he is insistent, and repeats this more than once. The priest discharges him by saying “Step lively there; this is King and Yonge.”

I am so dazed by this piece of serendipity that I must step outside.