Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Word, Creole & Paul

Last Sunday morning, I was at Word on the Street, Toronto's yearly book fair, for only an hour and a half, and I managed to be filmed in a documentary on language, buy at least 50 lbs of books , and lose the friends I went with.

Well, it is easy to lose friends in that crowd. It's also easy to keep buying books and finding yourself weighed down in no time. But a documentary? What's the chance? Okay, maybe all you'll see of me is a close up of my lips saying ten words in Creole for five seconds. But I find chance events like this fascinating. Alright, the film director happens to be a parent of my child's classmate, but what was the chance of her seeing me in that crowd and remembering that I speak Creole? But at the same time, it felt as if it was the most natural thing to happen to me, as if I was expecting it.

It's like, how come Teri felt she would win the draw for a subscription to Descant and tickets to their fundraising ball, and then ... surprise, she really won it! Is there some kind of cosmic intelligence that picks particular people by design? Or maybe we have some kind of magnetic power in our brain that wills things to happen. Mysteries to ponder upon ...

But speaking of Creole, I met an artist from Mauritius last Saturday, and we had a chance to speak in our native language. He was exhibiting his watercolours at the Francophone Centre. Paul Comarmond lives in Toronto but paints the islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, and Madagascar with crisp colours, deft strokes, and the sensitivity of one living there. It was a pleasure to absorb the exotic sceneries he depicts, thinking, Wow, I actually grew up there. I will have to hang one of his paintings on my wall even though I can only afford a reproduction. I learned many things from him, that Creole is now taught in some schools on the island, that it is being accepted as a written language based on its phonetics, and that there is an international Creole week. It felt good to be reconnected to the island where I grew up.


teri said...

wow, you speak creole too? that's impressive!

Peggy said...

I've lost some of its colourful expressions, and I throw in English or French when I can't find the right words, but one never forgets the first language one ever spoke.