My new book “Midlife Solo” will be published by Mosaic Press later this year. Stay tuned!

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putting the champagne on ice

Only a few more days until the world changes, my friends.  Let us pray that Al Qaeda does not decide to get involved in the American election.  A neighbour suggested we gather on November 4th and drink a lot of champagne.  That’s the best idea I’ve heard in ages.  

It’s winter already, not even November – white pellets of hail or snow tumbling down as I write.  It feels colder when you’re not ready for it – I hadn’t even taken my winter coats out of storage yesterday, but there was such a bitter wind, I went back home and got out one of my warmest, with a giant hood.  Strange to be dressed like an Inuit at the end of October.  Time to take special care to fill the bird feeder.

We had an extraordinary class at Ryerson this week – midway through the term I give an assignment to push writers to be brave with their stories, and they all came through.  One after another, powerful, beautiful stories.  I marvel, as I always do, at the painful secrets we all carry.  
Many of the stories, as usual, were about fathers – absent, neglectful, distant, judgemental, abusive fathers, and one wonderful father tragically dead too young.  I tell classes that if I want to make people cry, I ask them to write about their fathers.  Because in general, so much is unresolved with Dad – Mum is there, for better or worse, and believe me, I’ve heard about plenty of terrible mothers, bad parenting is not the exclusive territory of men.  But at least she and her flaws are familiar.   So many of us didn’t know our fathers well, had never really talked to them, had no way of telling them or asking for any kind of truth.  And sometimes that void haunts us forever. 
This financial meltdown is quite something to watch – articles in the paper about living frugally, buying second hand clothes, not using your car – well, some of us have been living that way for a long time, so we barely notice that there’s anything different now except that food prices have gone up.  I’ve been an actress, a wife and mother, a single mother and a writer – so there was only one period, briefly, when I had a husband with a real job and we were actually solvent. Even then I often bought second-hand clothes, though in a designer resale store, not Goodwill which I frequented after my divorce.  Now the nearby Goodwill and Doubletake stores are more crowded than usual.  People are discovering the joy of poking through other people’s castoffs for something that more or less fits, doesn’t smell or have noticeable holes.  And of course, for the occasional treasure – “I can’t believe someone gave this away!”  Like my Chanel purse ($3.00) and Balenciaga ballgown ($18.00), which I am longing for a place to wear.
I would never complain about living outside of the mainstream.  Here I am on a bitterly cold morning, on the sofa under a blanket with the crabby cat at my feet, writing to you.  There is no money from this activity, not one penny.  I cannot even really afford to live in my house.  But I have managed for years, somehow, and so have most of my friends.  
Though it’s harder to be outside the mainstream, or outside at all, when it’s so cold.  

 

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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

Juliet in Paris
I came to Paris in the 1990s. Decades later I’m still here. Come with me while I roam the city, the country, and beyond.

Walking Woman
I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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