For years now, Canadian author Patrick Lane–a poet, novelist, and memoirist–has been one of my favourite writers. I first discovered him in university, when he visited to give a reading. I also had the pleasure of hearing him and his wife, Lorna Crozier, read in Hamilton at a LitLive event a couple of years ago. (You can read my review of Crozier’s wonderful book of poetry, Small Mechanics here). Lane’s memoir of finding healing after a violent childhood and years of addiction was a highlight in my first year MFA reading list–and I continue to sing its praises to readers today.
Lane was recently named to the Order of Canada and awarded an honorary degree by the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna. Today, many of my literary friends have been posting excerpts from his intensely beautiful address to the convocation. So here are some words– from the stunning last section–for you to savour, as well:
“What I promise each of you is that there will come a day or night, a morning or evening when something as rare and fine as a blue sapphire butterfly will fall into your hands from a cold sky, a fearful child will climb into your bed and cleave to you, a woman or man will weep, will laugh, will sleep with you in the sure belief that the one they abide with is governed by a good and honest love. No matter the degrees you have earned and the knowledge you have accumulated, remember to believe in yourselves, to believe in each other. In a world as fearful as our present one, I ask that you not be afraid. Today is merely an hour. Remember in the time ahead of you to hold out your hands so that beauty may fall safely into them and find a place – however briefly – to rest.”