My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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The Writing Life: routine

I speak often to my students about routine – that it can be an artist’s best friend, so that you don’t have to fight to find a time to sit down and write, you just slide into your routine. Easier said than done.

This was sent by friend Bruce today, a great quote from Annie Dillard’s “The Writing Life”:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.


As you can see, I have learned, thanks to my friend Chris, to post other blogs on the side, so you can check out the ones I like. Theresa, whom I know only through her profound and poetic blog, tried to post a reply on mine today and was thwarted by technology. So she emailed instead. 

 A lovely and moving post, Beth. I do like to polish silver (and my daughter certainly doesn’t…). A few years ago, on a winter road trip, we found a blue-wax encrusted candelabra in a junk store in Falkland. When we got it home, I scraped off the wax and used the silver creme my mother gave me (along with her wedding silver, never used; I use it all the time) and that dark tarnish disappeared to reveal such beautiful silver. I think of it as our Ian Tyson candelabra because we’d been listening to “The Road to Las Cruces” on that trip: “Does the wind still blow out of New Mexico?/Does the silver candelabra still shine?/Is Kathryn still queen of El Paso?/Never to be yours, never to be mine…” And like the wedding silver, we use it all the time. 





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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.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.