Heather Menzies is an author and scholar who has written nine books, including Whose Brave New Word?, No Time and Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good. She will be on the panel at tonight’s event, Alone, Together: A civic life in the digital age, which will take place at Toronto Reference Library’s Appel Salon.
Tell us about your participation in the 2015 Spur Festival.
The theme of the conference was precisely what sent me to Scotland five years ago looking for my ancestral roots in the Highlands, seeking to reconnect with how they lived with each other in community and, equally important, with the land.
What do you hope Spur Festival attendees will take away from your session?
I hope people will come away with a deeper understanding of what’s at stake in the paradox of connection-disconnection, and the choices people can make.
What is the one item you never leave home without?
I never leave home without a partnered thing: pen and paper, even if the latter is just a grocery receipt.
Which book is currently on your nightstand?
I have 2 books on my reading table.
Non-fiction: a collection of essays edited by Indigenous scholar Leanne Simpson called Lighting the Eighth Fire.
Fiction: a wonderful novel of friendship during a time of sickness by Australian writer Helen Garver called The Spare Room.
In the last year, what is the longest you have gone ‘unplugged’? No internet, no cell phone, etc.
I have to admit that going unplugged is my default position. I have gone for several weeks unplugged in the past year.
Who was the last person you texted?
My son. He’s also the one with whom I text the most.
The animated show The Jetsons was set in 2062. Is there anything from their futuristic world that wish were a current reality?
I bet the Jetsons world had no dust. I could do without having to dust!
How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues: by phone, email, text or in person? How do you prefer to communicate with friends?
I prefer to communicate with colleagues by email, interspersed with the occasional long lunch. With friends, I prefer email for coordination, telephone visits if they live at a distance, and face to face wherever possible.
What do you love about Toronto?
Seeing Toronto friends. Plus, of course, meeting the other Spur Festival participants!