My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

All you need is love and writing

Such beautiful days, wet, mild autumn days with flashes of sun on the leaves as they fall. Spent hours Tuesday in the garden; my new friend Scott, a gardener and writer, came with his pruning shears to give my yard a much-needed cut. Short back and sides please. He snipped and snapped, and I followed behind bagging and bundling. There’s a bouquet of bright red leaves in my living-room, and a garden ready to hibernate for winter and emerge again, neat and clean, next year.

Scott is a wonderful gardener, reasonable and skilled; if you need some help in your Toronto yard, let me know and I’ll pass on his contact information.
I thought of Scott and his sharp shears as I sat in my Tuesday evening Ryerson class. This is the advanced group, men and women of all ages and backgrounds who’ve worked with me before and come back for more punishment. No, to go deeper, to write longer pieces and see what comes. And somehow, they have coalesced into a tight-knit group, good writers but also thoughtful, sensitive critics of each others’ work. They have learned the value of one of the most important skills for a writer – pruning. Cut out every word that is not needed, they’ve been told, and now they do, bringing in work that is spare and focussed and in some cases, like last night, inutterably moving.
Even after that exhilarating day, I woke Wednesday morning feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes I suffer bouts of insomnia and this is one of those times, linked, I think, to the lack of light as the days get shorter – I am a lightoholic, always starving for more – and also to my return from a lengthy jaunt to a ton of responsibilities, which sometimes overwhelm me. At 3 or 4 a.m., my head is flooded with frantic worries about fixing the house, renting the apartment, food, bills; more urgently, about my children, my book, money, the future, and about the lack of time.
So I grumped off into my day, cloudy with lack of sleep and many concerns. But it was Wednesday, so there was the usual midday class at the Y – not Carol, who’s running a marathon in boring old Florence, but Brian taught, and sweating was still great. I’ve made a new friend there, Alanna; before we began to chat, I could tell by the way she ran and her workout gear that she was not a civil servant, as many are at the downtown Y. Sure enough, she’s an artist. We two self-employed junk- and New York-lovers have a great deal to discuss as we run around.
On the way back, I did my usual zip into Doubletake where I found a mauve silk and cashmere sweater for $2.50 – woo hoo! – and then, for the rest of the afternoon, shut out everything else and sat at my desk. I struggle, because it’s hard to shut everything out in a house full of things to do, as opposed to the place is Paris, where all I had to distract me was Paris.
Made a late supper listening to the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour,” which I’d dismissed in memory as one of their more feeble efforts – wrong! The sublime “Penny Lane” made me stop and listen again, closely, to the power and push of Paul’s bass guitar; I suggest you listen again too, it’s brilliant. The album ends with “All you need is love” – John’s great voice in front, the others behind, Paul’s melodic bass line but also George Martin’s trumpets and orchestra, the cheerful background cacaphony, the flow of poetic lines and John repeating “All you need is love” at the end while the others go wild behind him. Paul sings, “She loves you yeah yeah yeah,” as if reminding them, and us, where they came from, how far they’d come. The balance and musicality, the sheer joy of that song with its sweet message made me weep.
As I was about to leave the kitchen, CBC’s “Ideas” came on. Paul Kennedy interviewed Mark Rowlands, a philosopher who lived with a part-wolf pup for twelve years and has written a book called The Philosopher and the Wolf: lessons from the wild on love, death and happiness. Rowlands spoke of himself as a simian, a clever ape, an animal no better and no worse than his brother the wolf. Other animals have not developed the ability to deceive and make bargains, he said; they are unaware of their mortality. But they have many skills far more developed than ours. He feels that the meaning of our ape lives is in the moments, the best times when we rise and flourish, and he regrets that religion emphasises the hope that we will have a life after death. “We’re all doomed,” he said. Better to live with that knowledge and make the most of the best times.
Eyes still pink from “All you need is love,” I stood swabbing at my kitchen counter for the fortieth time while I hovered around the radio, listening to a deeply spiritual conversation about the friendship of a wolf. Outside, in the soft dark drizzle, the raccoons were on the hunt and the leaves continued to fall.
Didn’t sleep well.
Wayson came over today and gave me a lecture, his usual wonderful slap and kick to get me going. He told me a fable about a man who had tons of worries going to a guru for advice. The guru told him to write down his worries so the man did, pages and pages, and gave the list back. The guru put it aside without looking at it. “Why didn’t you read it?” asked the man.
“Because I know what’s in it,” said the guru. “You have 83 worries.”
“Why 83?” said the man.
“Because everyone on earth has 83 worries. Except that there are some who have 84.”
“Who has 84?”
“The people who worry that they have too many worries.”
That’s me. 84 worries.
Wayson talked about the IFOA event last night with Alice Munro and Diana Athill, which I’d meant to get tickets for and didn’t until it was too late – another worry, idiot that I am to miss the literary event of the season. The two were marvellous, he said. I hope that the interview will appear on CBC or somewhere, so that we can all enjoy their interchange about writing and so much more. But the most important thing they said, said Wayson to me, giving me my message of the day, was this: We write to get it right. That’s all. Not for readers or to be praised or to be famous or for money.
We write to get it right.
You don’t need to be in Paris or Banff, said Wayson, about my other favourite writing retreat. This house is where you write.
But when I walk in here, my 83 worries fall on me like a heavy cloak, I said.
Don’t put the cloak on, he said. Put your worries aside when you can and write what is vital, write with passion.
Write to get it right, he said.



23 Responses to “All you need is love and writing”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then
    that, superb blog!

    Also visit my site – gymnastics clothing for women

  2. Anonymous says:

    It's a pity you don't have a donate button!
    I'd without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

    Visit my web blog – adidas activewear women

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me
    to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Outstanding work!

    my weblog: final year electrical engineering projects

  4. Anonymous says:

    Doh! I was domain shopping at and went to type in the domain name: http://www. and guess who already acquired it?
    You did! lol j/k. I was about to buy this domain name but noticed it had been taken so
    I thought I'd come check it out. Awesome blog!

    Look at my homepage … toshiba laptop battery life

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for

    Stop by my web-site; alps pointing device driver windows 8

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against
    hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on.
    Any suggestions?

    my weblog; toddler ballet shoes size 11

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this website? I'm getting sick and tired of WordPress because I've had issues with hackers and I'm looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    Here is my blog; vacation rentals san diego la jolla

  8. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would really like to have
    you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would appreciate your work.
    If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

    Look at my web page – vacation rentals by owner michigan city

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi fantastic blog! Does running a blog such as
    this require a massive amount work? I have no knowledge of programming but I was hoping to start my own blog soon.

    Anyways, should you have any ideas or tips for new
    blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic nevertheless I just needed to ask.

    Feel free to visit my homepage :: vrbo vacation rental by owner michigan

  10. Anonymous says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thanks a lot!

    Also visit my web site:

  11. Anonymous says:

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long
    as I provide credit and sources returning to your weblog: http://www.
    I will aslo make sure to give you the appropriate
    anchor-text link using your webpage title: Blogger:
    Born to Blog by Beth Kaplan. Please let me know if this is ok with you.
    Thank you

    Here is my page: investment property loans wells fargo

  12. Anonymous says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now
    each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

    my blog: vrbo rocky point sonora mexico

  13. Anonymous says:

    Your weblog seems to be having some compatibilty issues in my
    ie browser. The text appears to be running off the page pretty bad.
    If you would like you can email me at: randal_ratcliff@gmail.
    com and I will shoot you over a screen grab of the problem.

    Feel free to visit my web site :: tp corporate housing atlanta

  14. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

    Look into my webpage :: vacation rentals in myrtle beach cheap

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my
    newest twitter updates. I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    my blog post :: circuit breaker keeps tripping on hot water heater

  16. Anonymous says:

    I've gone ahead and included a link back to your webpage from one of my clientele requesting it. We have used your website URL: and blog title: Blogger: Born to Blog by Beth Kaplan to insure you get the proper anchor text. If you woud like to check out where your link has been placed, please contact me at: Thanks!

    my web-site; wafer fab equipment wiki

  17. Anonymous says:

    My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .

    net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using WordPress on various
    websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform.
    I have heard good things about
    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into
    it? Any help would be really appreciated!

    Feel free to surf to my blog post – memory card for lg cell phone

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am really loving the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?
    A handful of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in
    Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any advice to
    help fix this problem?

    My web page … weight loss journal printable

  19. Anonymous says:

    With havin so much content do you ever run
    into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of
    unique content I've either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being ripped off? I'd really
    appreciate it.

    Here is my blog post pilates power home gym

  20. Anonymous says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added"
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

    Many thanks!

    Feel free to visit my homepage: all appliance repair san antonio

  21. Anonymous says:

    Howdy! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?

    my web-site … frigidaire air conditioner filter

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am wondering which blogging platform you are using? I'm new to operating a blog and have been thinking about using the WordPress platform. Do you consider this is a good foundation to start with? I would be really thankful if I could ask you some questions through email so I can learn a bit more before getting started. When you have some free time, please be sure to get in touch with me at: Thank you

    Feel free to surf to my homepage chest freezers with ice makers

  23. Anonymous says:

    At this time it seems like Drupal is the best blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I've read) Is that what you're using
    on your blog?

    Also visit my blog :: ge refrigerator repair atlanta ga

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.


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.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.