My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Noo Yawk again

Sitting at the Caffe Noi on Second Avenue, where there’s blessed wifi. It’s a sublime day in New York, 80 degrees with a breeze. Sensation is gradually returning to my lower back, where tension accumulates. Soon the pain may be gone. Below my notes on yesterday. But today is today. I spent a lot of time in beautiful Central Park, which defines the word ‘oasis.’ I walked to the west side, poked about, went to my new favourite shoe store (Harry’s) and bought myself exactly what I’d set my mind on, little purple boots, yes, little purple boots, because I am worth it. Because it’s New York. Because yesterday went well and I’m staying at Ted’s for free. Because if there’s one thing Beth Kaplan needs right now, at the age of 62, with her new grey hair and her gorgeous grandson, it’s a soft pair of little purple boots.

Then I bought a New York Times and a sandwich and sat in a field in Central Park, back propped up against a giant slab of rock, reading the newspaper. Heaven. The great city roaring in the distance, around the edges. On the way in, I passed the Dakota – crowds of tourists gathered at the entrance, where our beloved John died. And just inside the park, Strawberry Fields, the tribute to him – a huge crowd. How much that man still means. I passed someone on the west side wearing a t-shirt that read “Still pissed at Yoko.”

I’m not doing much today – writing to you, walking, and tonight, the theatre, a highly recommended play called Cock on 42nd Street. Tomorrow, my father’s cousin Lola’s 90th birthday. I called her last night. She was watching “Seigfreid” on PBS, and told me about all the art exhibits I should see. She has seen everything. She doesn’t stop. Amazing.

Here’s what I wrote last night, at home at Cousin Ted’s:

Tonight was as alone as I have ever
felt. I was so nervous about my talk at the Studio that my back had been rigid
and aching for days; as the seasons shift, I had a cold coming and was
wrestling to keep my voice and my head clear. I’d worked on the Gordin play for
the talk, condensed, cut, sent to Tom. I’d rehearsed my talk, re-read notes
from past talks, re-read my book, re-read related books. I did meditation just
before, connected with my right brain, knew it would be fine. And yet my spine
was rigid with tension until 8.30 tonight, when it was over. An hour and a
half, that’s all, to 60 people or so at the Stella Adler Studio. How do people
who perform or talk to millions do it?
I’d awakened at 6.30 a.m., finished
what needed to be done to leave my house, including getting ready for the new
tenant who’s moving in while I’m away. A seamless flight, and once more, as
happened on my last Porter flight, I sat next to an ordinary-looking woman who
turned out to be amazing, fabulously interesting, wise and wonderful.
Train from Newark Airport into Penn
Station, C train uptown to 79th, crosstown bus to 3rd
Avenue, Cousin Ted’s doorman gives me the key and here I am. Ted is going to
his weekend home in Northport today, and I won’t even see him. His apartment is
crammed with treasures he has picked up in his many years of travel –
pre-Columbian figurines, Incan, Chinese burial figures, vast silver pots from
India, a mini-Metropolitan museum. Also the latest interesting
books. I went out to buy milk and peanut butter – my staples – took a brief
nap, reviewed my talk. Went out to meet David, artistic director of the Target
Margin Theatre in Brooklyn, which is performing my great-grandfather’s play
“God, Man and Devil” next month. We went to a café for a chat, and then I
left to go to the Studio for my talk. Lexington Avenue subway to 26th.
All around, this city, its excess, its
wealth. I had an Obama button on my purse; last time I had an Obama button,
four years ago, it felt like we were a secret society changing the world. Now – not so
much. I can’t help but feel some anger at these Americans. You live in the most
privileged society on earth, in the history of the earth, I want to shout. How
can you complain that you don’t have more? How can you not support a man who’s at least trying to do
good for all?
Anyway – there I was at the Studio,
surrounded by youthful thespians. A wonderful cast was assembled for the
JKL reading, and we had a rehearsal. People arrived. Tom introduced me, and the moment came, I had to stand up in front of all these people and do it.
And I did. It worked. They wanted an hour
and fifteen minutes, and that is exactly what was delivered, including the
play-reading. When I’m standing in front of a group of people, something
happens; it works. It worked.



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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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