I met Alice Munro twice. The first time was away back in 1975 or 76, I don’t remember which because it was such a long time ago, but it was something like that. I was a student at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and among my teachers was the late poet/playwright, James Reaney. A play of his, I do believe, was playing at the university and he was hosting a party at his house for the company. Alice Munro, who lived, as she still does, in her home town of Wingham just an hour or so north of London, came to that party. At the time, she had published only three books and was only beginning to amass the reputation she would eventually have. I was 22 or thereabouts so she would have been around 42. In the crush of people, I managed to talk to her for about three minutes and, in that time, she said to me: “Jamie (as we called James Reaney) gets his inspiration from the outside (meaning actors, directors, i.e. the theatre). For mine, I have to go inside (meaning inside her spirit, her soul).” And that’s what I remember about her that night, other than her beautiful, gentle presence. She had a way of talking to you in a way that was genuine; she took you into her confidence and you felt good. I, for instance, wasn’t yet a writer, and wouldn’t be for a long time, and so...
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