My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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back in the swing

The trip is back on, kids – I’m back in the game, looking forward to 3 more weeks of French adventure, bout of homesickness over. For one thing, I remembered Sarah’s absolute lack of self pity. Even when she was obviously suffering, she never even acknowledged her illness; what a boring subject. She wanted to talk about books, travel, world news, life, not waste time with complaint. So she told me yesterday, in a nice way, to pull myself together and shut up.

For another, after weeks as part of a boisterous crowd, it is a great pleasure and relief to be alone once more, beholden to no one and fitting in to no one else’s schedule. I went to see the new Harry Potter last night, at the multiplex which is not five but two minutes from here. As I watched the fantastic quiddich matches and the little wizard kids turn into sex-crazed adolescents, it was hard to believe that the cinema was not in Toronto, Canada, where I’ve seen all the other Harry Potters, but in beautiful, exotic Montpellier, France. Then emerging afterwards into the narrow, crowded, carless streets and the vast open Place de l’Opera, packed with people and activity at 11.30 at night – and a tiny bit chilly. Yes, chilly. This morning, there’s a blue sky and a fresh breeze. “Fresh” and “Montpellier” are not usually used in the same sentence in August.

There are no bugs here. Last night I slept with the windows wide open to the air, whereas in Gordes, they were tightly shut against the huge bouncy grasshoppers, the giant spiders, the beetles like small black helicopters. Yesterday morning one of Elissa’s friends went to take a shower and found a scorpion in the bathtub. It’s embarrassing to be neurotic, but there you go, I have a phobia and in the country, have to endure it. In the city, it barely exists.
There are people here, movies, shops, restaurants, museums under a bright blue sky, and I’m free to explore them if and as I want. The apartment is full of books. A day of solitary pleasure awaits.
Tomorrow, I am headed, via Toulouse, to the south-west coast of France, to Bayonne, where my friend Michele will pick me up to take me to her summer place, a beach house, as I recall from my last visit in 1965, in Hossegor. Her sons and their wives and children will be there too. I won’t have the internet there, so am not sure if I’ll be in touch that week. Back in the bugless joys of Montpellier probably August 12th or so.
Here’s a Sarah story: she was a voracious, discriminating reader, and I’d try to find hardcover books in second-hand stores, particularly fairly recent ones, that she hadn’t read. But almost always, when I arrived with my offerings, she had already read them. Or else, she started them but they didn’t interest her.
One day, I said, “Sarah, I’m afraid I haven’t had much luck finding the right book for you.”
She looked at me with amusement.
“Keep trying,” she said.
I’ll be in touch.

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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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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.

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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