My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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off again

Here is a highly recommended list of rules for writing fiction, almost all of which are true for non-fiction as well:

On Wayson’s recommendation, I got the short stories of Katherine Mansfield out of the library. They’re superb! Like Alice Munro, she captures an entire life, a whole society and era, in a few pages. Heart-breaking and crystalline, especially masterpieces like Miss Brill, The Doll’s House, The Daughters of the Late Colonel, and Bliss. She died at the age of 34 and left so much brilliance behind.
My friends, I’m getting out my very large travelling shoes again. My horoscope for the year in Elle magazine ordered me to. Mars usually stays in Leo every two years for seven weeks, Elle informs me; “this year, it’s staying until June – half the year! This totally amps your energy, ambition and sexual desires. Goodies are going to spill … into your pocket. Yay!” it says.
My mantra for the year, according to Elle: “I welcome the abundance coming my way!”
Yes I do.
In order to encourage this abundance, I have decided to celebrate my 60th birthday a little early. Both my employers kindly agreed to move the dates of my spring classes by one week, giving me the entire month of April off. The apartment I rented in Paris last year was free, it turned out, for almost 2 weeks at the end of that month, and my friend Christopher, who if you recall lives in central London right by Carnaby Street, is going away over the Easter weekend at the beginning.
And so the plan formed and has taken shape. I leave March 29th for Paris, will spend 2 days there getting over jet lag and falling into the cheese, then I’ll take the Eurostar to London to stay at Christopher’s over the Easter weekend and fall into the theatre. After that, I have nearly 2 weeks when I’m not sure where I’ll be – stay tuned – then back to Paris, where my daughter will join me for 8 days together. I have invited my son too, but so far, he has said no. He’s sorting out his life, getting on with his job, too busy landing to take off again. I understand.
Bringing my kids to France, I decided a few months ago, would be my birthday present to myself. Soon they’ll be joined at the hip with partners or work they can’t leave; right now, they’re both fairly footloose. I want to share France with them, especially as they’re both foodies who love cooking and entertaining. Anna wants to take a cooking course while she’s in Paris, specifically sauce-making. Great idea. I hope Sam changes his mind, but if he doesn’t, we’ll do it another time, I hope.
Several people will rent rooms in the house while I’m away, and once more, I’ll do this as cheaply as possible, spending most of my time sponging off those poor friends who live in desirable places. You only turn sixty once. I will be here at home in August for my actual birthday, but the celebration will begin in Paris, Anna and I arm-in-arm on the Champs-Elysees, thinking about sauces.
I welcome the abundance coming my way.



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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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