Love, & All that Jazz

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 222 pages
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At the end of Lewis' previous memoir, the bitterly and beautifully honest Little Comrades, she left her young self newly married in New York City in the year 1952. But at that point, everything is about to change.

Downstairs from Laurie and Sol lives Gary, and it soon becomes clear that she and her interesting neighbour are drawn to each other in a way that feels inevitable to both of them. Knowing nothing of the risks she is about to encounter, Laurie jumps, without a look back or a second thought, into a perilous new life with the brilliant, Manhattan-cool, dangerously charming Gary Lewis. Quickly divorced and remarried, she is soon the mother of a baby, Amanda.

Gradually, Laurie comes to understand the truth about Gary and his mysterious past breakdowns. His idealism and longing for poetry in art, life and love are inseparable from his passionate attachment to the turbulent, stunningly inventive jazz of midcentury New York. With his famous (Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Zoot Sims, among others) and not so famous hip friends, his days and nights become a sleepless, drug-fuelled, nonstop celebration, and his addictions to heroin, pills and alcohol ultimately reveal a dark side of his hipness. Just as her mother (the writer Ellen Stafford) had done before her, Laurie would soon be forced to run, escaping back to Canada with her child to make a new life as a single mother.

With a satisfying job in publishing, and a home and friends for Amanda in Toronto, Laurie discovers the freedom and peace of mind that self-reliance can bring. She learns – as many women did in the latter decades of the twentieth century – the truth of Alice Munro's prediction about a change coming in ?the lives of girls and women?. Love, and all that jazz, can bring defeat. A declaration of independence, on the other hand, can build an exhilarating new existence in which difficulties are met head on, with confidence and resourcefulness. It may even mean that love can continue.

This is the story of a marriage, and all that came after it.


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Conjuring Ira I
The sunny side of the street
Admitting impediments 3 I
Miles ahead
On the street of dreams
Manhattan melody 6 5
IO And Lassie comes on Sunday
Afternoon with Henry Allen 10 I
And my sugar melted away 1 66
Saying yes saying no
Love it or leave it
Tipping point 1 84
Seeing is believing 1 88
Thinking about change
Beginning to see the light 2 10

I3 Wishing on the moon
Little girl blue 14 1
The night we called it a day
Come rain or come shine 2 1 1
Taking a chance on love 2 14
Improvisation 2 19

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About the author (2013)

Laurie Lewis is a Fellow of the Graphic Designers of Canada and is Editor Emeritus of Vista, the publication of the Seniors Association in Kingston, Ontario, and director of Artful Codger Press.

Laurie began her career in publishing with Doubleday in New York in 1961. She returned to Canada in 1963 to join University of Toronto Press, where she worked in production and design of UTP publications, becoming Head of Design at U of T Press. During her thirty years in publishing, she also taught book design in Guyana, the Philippines and at Ryerson University in Toronto. She moved to Kingston, Ontario in 1991, where she founded Artful Codger Press.

Her written work has been featured on CBC and has been published around and about, including "Contemporary Verse 2", "Queen's Feminist Review" and "Kingston Poets' Gallery".

A chapter from an early draft of her first book "Little Comrades" was shortlisted for the 2007 CBC Literary Awards in Creative Non-Fiction.

Bibliographic information