My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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“Jane, the fox and me” by Fanny Britt

Ran into my neighbour friend Richard yesterday. “How are you?” he asked, expecting the usual clichés, I’m sure.
“Terrible. My computer’s not working, I have a bad cold and my back is killing me,” I replied with a scowl.
“A trifecta!” he said. No, there’s more, I wanted to say, but didn’t – the people in the house attached to mine have acquired an older dog that howls and barks constantly when it’s alone. And I’m feeling insecure and sad because I don’t know what to do with my book. A cinco-fecta?

Why did such gloom hit a normally cheerful, resilient person? There’s a hollow, vulnerable feeling in my gut, and I’m ready to blame myself for everything. Bad writer! Lazy loser! Perhaps it’s the changing season, the shorter days, the garden shutting down. Others are feeling something too – my student friend Chris, who was let go from his job a few months ago; fellow blogger Carrie Snyder, who’s wondering in today’s post about the wisdom of becoming a writer.

But enough. Wayson gave me a fridge magnet that I’m staring at now; it says, “It doesn’t get better than this.” And it doesn’t – I’m alive, my loved ones are alive – most of them, anyway – and it’s a stunning sunny day. I have a home and a brain, my teeth and my eyes, what more could I ask for? So shut up.

Rode to Indigo earlier to buy a book for young readers recommended by my friend Laurel: “Jane, the fox and me,” a graphic Quebecois book by Fanny Britt, translated into English. Beautiful, haunting – about a bullied girl who lives in fantasy with Jane Eyre, until she finds a friend. A bit like my book, a lonely girl who lives in fantasy with Paul McCartney, until she grows up and discovers real boys. Only this has only a few words and lots of pictures, and mine is the reverse. And this one really is for kids, whereas Laurel, who read my first chapter, feels that mine is in a kid’s voice but written for adults. I’d thought, for a while there, that maybe my book was actually Young Adult literature for 14 years olds, like the narrator. But Laurel is hugely successful in literature for young readers, and says no. And she’s right. I know nothing about the YA genre, having only read Neil Gaiman. Back to the drawing board.

Back to the drawing board. Whatever that means.

The newspaper has been filled with the most disgusting images – Harper, Flaherty and Mayor Ford, beaming at each other – talk about the axis of evil, or a trifecta of nightmare. I used to scream if I even glimpsed the picture of a spider in the paper; now it’s any of those 3, let alone all 3 together. However. Even in their vileness, they’re not nearly as vile as the Tea Party Republicans now trying to destroy Obamacare, comparing Obama to Hitler. Good to have perspective.

Tomorrow I’m going to do the switcheroo – put away the little cotton dresses, get out the sweaters and the gloves. It’s time, despite the heavenly heat today and for the rest of the week. My cold will get better, and so will my back. Maybe the dog next door will settle down and stop howling. (I spoke to them about it, feeling bad for the dog, but of course, they don’t hear him, because he only howls and barks when they’re not there. One of the small disadvantages of working at home …) And after my beloved Mac filled me with despair with a frozen cursor at night and then again the next morning, when I rode to the Mac store on Queen Street East and turned it on, it worked perfectly. “Maybe it just wanted to get out,” I said, as the guy smiled and shrugged.

And I’ll find a solution for the book.

The wheel turns, and on we go. It’s 7.30, and there’s a glowing red flush across the sky as the sun departs. “Call the Midwives” is on TV soon, and then of course Jon. And there’s a fresh supply of sourdough bread and chocolate.

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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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