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the joy of going backwards

Usually we can hear the Gay Pride festivities loud and clear in Cabbagetown, but not this year. Are they quieter than usual over there? Surely not – it said on the news that a million people watched the parade. Maybe – maybe it’s not them, it’s me. I’m going deaf! That must be it.

A solitary long weekend, which is lonely and blissful, both. I’m sitting on the deck now, of course, at the end of a perfect hot, breezy day, listening to the chatter of birds, looking at the huge white hydrangeas, the livid purple of the clematis, the two fading roses. The smell of jasmine, lavender, gardenia, mint and basil – overwhelming. It is my country’s birthday today, as well as Pride; too bad when CBC news began to air the sound of the prime minister’s voice, I had to turn off the radio. We were a much better country once.

This is how working goes for this writer, in the age of Google: somehow – quelle surprise – I wound up thinking about Linda Eastman McCartney, how admired she was when she died but how at first she was scorned as a groupie. Was she a groupie? I wondered. So I Googled “Linda Eastman groupie” and lots of information came up. (The conclusion – sort of. It was the 60’s, she had a camera, she met lots of famous men, she did not say no.) But then one name among her lovers came up, beside Warren Beatty and Jimi Hendrix – Tim Buckley. She was disturbed by his increasing drug use, it said, and distraught when he died in 1975.

Bing – next jump. I met Tim Buckley on an airplane between Vancouver and Victoria in late 1974; he was coming in to do a concert, I was a young actress with long auburn hair doing a show in Victoria. We chatted on the plane, had a wonderful talk, and he offered me a ticket to the concert. I did go and went backstage afterwards and to the Empress Hotel with his group and I did not become a groupie. It’s a great story. I started to think about writing it – not just the groupie bit, but how Linda and I had Tim Buckley in common. He was strung out that night and died of an overdose only 7 months after I met him.

But first – just as Batman says, “To the Batmobile!” I say, “To the diaries!” I found 3 separate books for 1974, the exact date of the concert, and exactly what was going on in my feverish mind and life at that time – boyfriends, unrequited love, cruel housemate who stole my unrequited lover and broke my heart etc. Suddenly, on a hot Canada Day in 2012, I was plunged right back into 1974. It really is extraordinary. No wonder I have published so little – I spent decades writing endlessly, pouring out thoughts and words – to myself in diaries and to friends and family in letters.

Nearly 40 years later, now a slightly deaf grandmother with short grey hair, I write to you. Hope you had a wonderful day too, in whatever year you chose to live it.

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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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