Monday, May 8, 2017

Mary Walsh left them laughing

Last Thursday evening at Frederic Wood Theatre at UBC, Hal Wake and The Vancouver Writers' Fest hosted another wonderful evening with a writer: the hilarious actor and comedian Mary Walsh is now the author of a novel. When CBC's Lisa Christiansen interviewed Mary about her latest artistic accomplishment, the answers to the journalist's questions were true, evocative and hilarious.

Crying for the Moon portrays a Newfoundland Catholic girl, inspired in part by Mary's growing-up years in St. John's. Maureen makes it to Expo 67, but when she meets Leonard Cohen in a bar, she can't think of a thing to say. What a lost opportunity. The novel has been called gritty; the plot involves a woman who poisons her violent husband. If what Mary read was any indication, it also has humour and heart. I can't wait to read it.

By chance, I sat in the front row beside Lisa Christiansen's mother, and we chatted before the show. Hearing Mary explain to Lisa how to pronounce NewfoundLAND, I thought about Mompy, my own late mother, also from St. John's. For a moment, I heard her speak in the Newfy brogue she kept in spite of more than half a lifetime living "out west." This is what she said in my mind's ear: "Don't be crying for the moon, my dear." No, Mompy. Indeed I won't.

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