Wouldn’t it be great to have a mentor like Robert Weaver?

I had never heard of Robert Weaver until a couple of days ago. I was plugged into my iPhone while I did housework, the Ideas podcast came on and I learned Robert Weaver had devoted over fifty years of his life to nurturing the development of Canadian literature. As I listened I realized almost all of Canada’s literary talent had been influenced by this man.

I felt almost jealous as I listened to Alice Munro or Alice Laidlaw as she was known back in 1951, tell her story about her business relationship with Weaver.

Munro had heard Weaver was looking for short stories to read aloud on his CBC radio program, Anthology. She wrote him a letter and included two of her stories. He wrote back suggesting ways she could improve them and subsequently bought them both. Munro says, “That was probably the greatest moment of my life,” appearing in print and being paid for the privilege.

From then on Weaver wrote her occasional letters asking what she was working on and telling her to keep writing. He also bought lots of her stories.  Why can’t I have a mentor, someone encouraging me to write, showing me ways I can improve my writing and paying me for the privilege to print it? I recommend this podcast. Go to the best of ideas podcast page to listen to part one or subscribe in iTunes.

Canadian editor, author, and broadcaster Robert Weaver (1921-2008) was well-loved and rather influential. Born in Niagara Falls, Weaver attended the University of Toronto. Later, he worked for the CBC. Here, Robert created radio shows featuring unknown Canadian writing talent that later were to become well-respected writers such as Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro, Timothy Findley, Leonard Cohen, and Margaret Atwood.

Robert Weaver founded the Canadian Literary magazine “The Tamarack Review” in 1956 and the magazine was successful for many years. During his career, he edited over a dozen anthologies and in 1979, Robert launched the CBC Literary Prize, an annual event.

Life before the Internet

It started raining on Saturday afternoon drowning out our BBQ party It continued to rain all night and all day on Sunday. I haven’t seen this much rain since I came here in Western Pennsylvania but I have to be honest, this year, we’ve had our share of fair weather and sunshine as well.

To make things worse our internet disappeared sometime Saturday evening. Instead of cleaning up after the last guest left, around midnight, I thought I would do a quick perusal of my favorite sites, while I finished my last glass of wine. No way. My ISP internet service provider is a small company, great for personalized service but on Sunday morning all I could do was leave a disgruntled message on their answering machine.

So what do I do on a rainy Sunday with no internet? It felt like a digital sabbatical. I started knitting the second sock of a pair I started last summer. I start reading a new book. I drink 2 cups of espresso with milk, commonly called a latte; it’s weird for me since I rarely drink coffee. I whine about the weather, restart the router, my computer, and the signal receiver, more than once, to no avail. I eat a whole tin of chocolate chip cookies and go to bed early.

I can’t phone them, the ISP, before I leave for work because their office isn’t open, mutter mutter. However, it has stopped raining so I leave my raincoat on the peg by the back door. I look at the scattered bits of blue sky and wish them to get bigger. Maybe when I get back home my internet will be back up.