We did drive into Toronto today, and met up with Cameron and spent some time at the Shakespeare Cafe at the corner of Walmer and Bloor talking about writing, books and television. Actually, we did more than sit and talk; we eventually decided that we couldn't waste this spectacular spring weather and we actually went out and walked all the way from Bloor and Spadina to Eglinton and Bathurst, via the Annex, Casa Loma and the Nordheimer Ravine.
It was Erin's first time by Casa Loma and its stables. She had to marvel at all of the spectacular and gaudy austentation, and I have to admit that we chuckled over how this house had bankrupted the family that built it. Still, there's something to be said about failure, if one fail's spectacularly, and then puts his failure on top of a large hill for everyone to see. And it says something about Toronto that we could turn this into one of our biggest tourist attractions. When life hands you a lemon...
The stables have to be seen to be believed, though. The building is, quite possibly, more beautiful than the main house.
We also paid a visit to Glencedar bridge. This is an interesting bridge over the Nordheimer ravine northwest of the Bathurst/St. Clair intersection. Built in 1912, it carried cars until the mid 1980s, when it was deemed unsafe for car traffic. It wasn't unsafe for foot traffic, however, and rather than spend money to rebuild it as a car bridge, it was restored in 1989 and opened for foot traffic only. It's interesting to see the skeleton of the road laid out in wood rather than asphault. The stone and ironwork of this structure make it a very impressive bridge to cross on foot. It has become an elevated park, where a number of families just walk across it and, more often than not, stop halfway to stare out a while at the trees below. Now there's a tourist attraction you won't see in any brochure.
Anyway, after a dim sum dinner, we all retired to a nearby Chapters and talked more about writing. Cameron and I had some ideas about Erin's Otter that might be put to good use. We'll see. We also talked a bit about the Young City, and how to make the Taddle Creek more of a presence in the story again.
The magical river remains the story's biggest flaw, mostly because Aldous Magnait's tale is developing away from it, and I need to think of ways to tie in the river more naturally. It would probably help if I knew what the river's magic was, and what it wanted, and after talking with Cameron and Erin, I think I'm getting closer to figuring things out. One idea is to make the river's presence known in the form of rats behaving oddly. Certainly, if the river is going to possess the wildlife around it, it will have more of an obvious connection with rats than my other idea: coyotes.
And I'm about ready to get to work on Peter and Rosemary's argument, which should add spice to the proceedings.
I am fumbling around in the dark, but I'm afraid I've lost the momentum of the story. Not that this is a disaster; it only means that the beginning of the tale is now over, and I've officially moved into the middle. I don't know what's going to happen next, and I'm feeling things out as I go along, writing scenes out of order, on the basis of how cool they are. Once I've done enough of these, I'll set about tying these scenes together, and preparing for the end.
I'm not sure if this is a method of writing that I'd recommend, but it seems to be the method I'm saddled with.
Remember my speech about Americans liking their fireworks more than Canadians? I take it back. On the way home, Erin and I spotted several local firework displays, including a spectacular one beside Highway 401, in Mohawk Raceway. The effect was very much like Independence Night in Florida.
If we go so all out on a holiday to celebrate the birthday of a long dead queen, what do I miss come Canada Day?