My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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the week that was

First, hello to the reader(s) in Mandaluyong, in the Phillipines, who, according to Google Analytics, spent 25 minutes recently perusing my blog. Hello to new readers in Kuala Lumpur and Bhubaneswar, India, who spent eight minutes and two, respectively. Please come in; take off your … I guess coats aren’t needed where you live, so don’t take anything off; just make yourselves comfortable. I’d love to visit you, too. In the meantime, welcome to sunny Toronto.
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When my children were growing up, I went to a family counsellor for help, first in how to raise them, and then in how not to go insane while they crashed through adolescence. She was calm and sensible, very reassuring. Recently, I thought I’d like to talk to her one last time, about how to be a good parent to young adults, especially ones who live in the same town. How near, how far, how much support, how much distance? She was calm and reassuring. Many young people these days are taking their time assuming adult responsibilities, she told me. Be there, she said. Listen and provide help only when it’s needed and asked for, if you want to. Otherwise, stay back, stay out, get on with your own life and leave them to theirs.
Then the Globe ran an article saying exactly the same thing. It said – where do they get these statistics? – that 60% of twenty-somethings in North America are receiving financial help from their parents, and that there’s an epidemic of anxiety and depression among them. The kids, not the parents. Somewhere, I knew all this, but it’s good to have it confirmed – that our kids are not like us, and that it’s not easy growing up right now, especially, it’s clear, for boys.
So, my beloved children who never read this blog, I’m there and listening, but I’m also really busy.
Speaking of learning from our calm, wise elders, W’ysn Ch*y came to speak to my Ryerson classes last Tuesday; as usual, he was inspiring. Everyone, including me, left fired up for the writing journey.
Art is about taking chances, putting your imagination in a new place,” he said. “If you’re comfortable and in charge as a writer, you’re wasting the reader’s time. Pour everything out. We write for three reasons: for therapy, in which case you’ll play games and fight your own raw material; for approval, which means you’re writing as a hobby; and for the truth. The truth is not beautiful. If it’s beautiful, throw it away. Astonish and amaze me. Writing will not solve problems, it will enlighten us as to what the problems are. Create a 3 dimensional world. Shakespeare wrote characters both good and bad without judgement, just truth. Find and use the books that will feed you. Use your own fears, weaknesses, humiliations – they are everyone’s. Take a chance and tell the truth, deeply.”
Yes sir! we all said, brains whirling, clutching our notebooks.
And then he and I went to the Giller Light, the alternative Giller Awards. A ticket to the actual awards is nearly impossible to come by, so those not invited, small publishers, others in the book industry, go to a bar to watch the evening on a big screen and schmooze. W’yson said there weren’t many writers in attendance this year, maybe because the ticket has gone up $10, to $30 – it’s a fundraiser for Frontier College, which helps with literacy skills, but an expensive night out for a writer.
Anyway, lots of people recognised him. The room was 75% women, in fact, 70% women between 25 and 40 wearing little black dresses and boots, most with glasses. All smart, many lonely, would be my guess, and not going to find a partner here, that’s for sure, except if looking for a fellow female. Many cheered the victory of Linden McIntyre, a hardworking professional who told a very important story, not just about the decades of sexual abuse by priests on his native Cape Breton Island, but more, about the criminal negligence of church leaders, who simply moved the abusers from parish to parish. Mr. McIntyre showed himself to be a true gentleman with his generous acceptance speech, in which he named all his competitors several times and urged the audience to “buy their books!”
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Further to my post last week about pork, I’ve been trolling the Net for information. It seems lots of others are having the same thoughts about meat, and there are a few butchers in town who stock meat from animals raised and butchered humanely, or at least relatively so. Their wares are more expensive, but I’ve decided it’s worth the cost. I’ll eat less meat but be guilt-free. I’ll let you know what I find when I actually go to one of these places. Until then, I’m consuming a lot of omelettes.
My own butcher Mark, whom I’d told about my quest, informed me today that pork raised without antibiotics or additives will start coming in next week. He still doesn’t know how the pigs lived and died, though. But it’s a start. I bought a free-range chicken from him for Sunday dinner. $3.50 a pound. Am I a good person yet?
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Playing catch up, here’s another movie recommendation. I just rented Up, a Walt Disney animated film which had great reviews. And justifiably so – it’s stunning, rich, beautifully written and drawn, a treat for any audience from young to old. Imagine, an animated film which has as hero a crabby old man! And the best depiction of dogs ever. I thought of Wayson’s words – there’s a lot of subtle and moving truth in this film. A ++.
And now, off into the day. Because I’m here, and I’m listening, but I’m also really, really busy.

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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.

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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