“Antic” is a word you hear rarely, and it usually describes the playful activities of children. P. K. used the word frequently, and it aptly describes her sometimes wacky behaviour. She enjoyed puzzles, riddles, games and songs that relied on a sense of the absurd, the bizarre. Her store of folk tales and Sufi stories usually involved peculiar twists, surprises and shifts.
She loved tricks. Introducing me to Bombay Sapphire Blue gin, she drew attention to the brilliant blue of the bottle and demonstrated its magical feature of becoming instantly clear and crystalline when it reached the glass. On a visit to a Toronto friend, she bragged that she'd hidden instant bubbly in her carry-on bag, proving her point by pouring a container of fruit salts into a flask of water. When I suggested that our dog was a poet, she immediately channeled his voice to produce some excellent doggerel, prompting her friends and fellow artists to do the same. She then encouraged me to collect and publish his various verses.
The word antic shares an etymology with antique, and suggests something surprising, curious, from another time or place. That was P. K.—and her love of the antic kept her very young, even when she became very old.