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A coolish evening after the first really scorching, muggy day. I use my air conditioning only in emergencies, and today was one: oh, the pleasure of closing curtains and blinds and huddling in the artificial breeze. I had to buy a great deal of salmon today for Thursday night, so rode my bike early to St. Lawrence Market. Such a pleasant place, full of good things – had a long chat with the fishmonger about cedar planking and gravlax, bought some divine bagels and cream cheese, a lot of Quebecois cheeses, veggies, cycled home before the sun was high.

To the dentist – a piece of molar fell out last week, part of the general disintegration of aging. My dentist is as fine a man as you could find, but – what a job, I thought, always associated with pain and discomfort. He inserted more filling, and my jaw ached for the rest of the day – aches still. Luckily, after a visit with #1 Son, I had a date to look forward to – seeing the film “The Names of Love” with my friend Oksana. Carol, a student in the U of T workshop last week, wrote to all of us in the class and insisted we see the film. “The movie blew me away, she wrote – it picked up right where we left off – identity, race, belonging (and not) love fear heartache resolution ...
I was still a bit dubious because many of the reviews on-line were lukewarm. Well – the reviews were WRONG. It is an unforgettable, marvellous film. I could not recommend it more highly. And it is about all the things Carol mentioned and more, very funny, very sad.
My friend and I had a drink in Trendytown – Yorkville, another planet – and now here I am, as dusk falls, cooling off in the tiny breeze, spending the evening reading a fantastic book – Grammatically Correct, the essential guide to spelling, style, usage, grammar and punctuation, by Anne Stilman. It’s Wayson’s, and I have to give it back to him, so must read it tonight. A joy only a writer could understand.
Oh, how could I forget? Sunday, something amazing happened. I suddenly, out of the blue, realized what the memoir I’m working on was about. Not quite what I’ve been writing, no. Just as my father the biologist and researcher spent a long time doing experiments on something that turned out not to prove what he hoped it would, I have recently written more than 60,000 words, and in previous years 60,000 more, of a memoir that turned out to be going in the wrong direction.
Well – that’s life. That’s art. It’s compost, and you have no choice but to move forward. So Monday I moved forward. One of the bits of research I needed to do was to check my childhood books, stored in a box. One, a child’s dictionary, said in the front: August 1, 1955 – for Beth, for her 5th birthday, with love from Auntie Do.

So I called her, yesterday, to thank her again for the book she gave me almost 56 years ago. She laughed with delight. A great moment for us both.
My jaw hurts. It’s dark and cool, and the air smells of jasmine and lavender. I know what the memoir is about and where I’m going with it, more or less. More or less. Soon I’ll read more about correct grammar. But right now – the recycling has to go out, and the cat just threw up.



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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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