My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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There was a reassuring photo in the paper today, of a writer and filmmaker called Josh Freed sitting at his desk.  He has made a documentary about clutter, which he approves of and lives in. For months now, I have been berating myself because my office is in what my mother would call “a tip” – stacks of papers hither and thither on the desk side, and stacks of clothing on the closet side (my office used to be my bedroom and houses my wardrobe as well as my papers.)  But seeing Mr. Freed’s desk freed me, if I may make a pun, from guilt about messiness.  In comparison with his, my clutter is the essence of order.  It is pristine. 

Still – paper arrives and I don’t know where to put it, at least the vague bits – I might use this one day, I might need this in a story,  perhaps looking at this postcard in twenty years will make me happy.  Let’s keep it, somewhere.  Perhaps I’ll make a new file, put it away and forget about it.  Or stack it neatly somewhere in a neat stack with seventy-eight other pieces of paper that have no home but that I can’t quite throw out.  Ah well.  Thanks to my new friend Josh, I don’t mind any more.  Because unlike him, I can still see quite a bit of the surface of my desk.
I did a new bit of teaching last week – a three hour seminar on “memoir writing for seniors.”  I wasn’t sure how to condense my 25-hour term into 3, but it seems to have worked.  At the end, I asked them if their lives were a movie played out in scenes, what would be one of the most important scenes they would write?  We went around the circle, and their answers, as always, were moving and surprising.  What about you?  In the movie of your life, what scenes would you write?  



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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