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August winding down

Late afternoon, a glass of wine in the late summer tranquillity of my garden – but there are dark rumblings underfoot. My mother had heart palpitations yesterday and went to hospital in an ambulance; she’s fine now and it has happened before, but it’s always scary.  The husband of one of my dearest friends is having a cancerous lung removed right at this moment.  Yesterday there was a chill of fall in the air, and in the world – Pakistan, Georgia, many deaths in Afghanistan, unrest and war.  And in one corner of the world, athletes compete for round bits of shiny metal.  Sometimes I think I am not simply enjoying my garden, I’m hiding in here.

I was happy to see that the newspapers agreed with my glowing assessment of Ceasar and Cleopatra when it opened.  Paul McCartney has my vote for the 66-year old with whom I would most like to have dinner; Christopher Plummer has the 78-year old slot sewn up.  But he won’t be free to dine for some time.
A few weeks ago, I was dozens of pages into my new work, a memoir, and wasn’t sure where I was going, so I pulled together a bunch of pages and sent them to a wonderful dramaturge and editor, Iris Turcotte.  Iris and I finally got together recently, and she chain-smoked her way through an assessment.  Once again, I am taught all the things I teach my students: show don’t tell, paint pictures, bring the story vividly to life with detail.  Go deeper.  Unpack.  
Iris told me that she thinks the last scene of the chunk I’d given her is in fact the beginning, and the voice and tense are wrong.  Suddenly, I understood why I was having such trouble. Her input was invaluable.  And now, to begin again.  Only a few more days to get a solid piece of work done, before September – teaching, sweaters, the gradual diminishment of the garden.  
So, as I hide in here, tapping away at the machine, I am relishing every second.  



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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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