My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Farewell Stratford – yo Word on the Street

Now over 325 people have viewed the hot pink gazelle. I do not understand. Do people think they’ll be viewing an actual rose-coloured gazelle? I think not.

It’s an extremely hot Sunday – started dark and teeming, then turned bright and boiling for Word on the Street. I cycled over, and as always I found the packed event both depressing and uplifting. All those books on display, and not mine! And yet – all those books! All those people buying books – impossible not to be encouraged. And yet – not mine. At one surreal moment, I stood talking to a smallish press publisher who’d been sent my memoir manuscript and who had turned it down – for good reasons, no question. He introduced me to the man he’d been talking to, who I realized was the OTHER publisher who turned down the manuscript. There they both were, side by side, THE MEN WHO SAID NO, though the second guy didn’t realize who I was, I’m sure. He’s the one who said my Sixties memoir was “too much like all the others,” which led me to believe that he hadn’t read a word of it. Because of all the things to critique in my memoir, and there are many, being just like all the others is not, I think, one.

Anyway, my book exists and it’s beautiful. So good luck to you, dear gentlemen. At one point I was poking around a small publisher’s booth when I saw the writer Howard Engel sitting beside a large pile of his latest book. This man has been writing for decades, and there he was, unrecognized. So I bought his book and asked him to sign it. It’s a murder mystery, not something I usually read, but someone will want to.

So that’s today. Yesterday, my last day in Stratford, I saw “King John,” directed by Tim Carroll who directed the two gorgeous male-only shows I saw in New York last year. This one had some of the same ideas, which he calls Original Practices – doing things the way they would have been done in Shakespeare’s time, candles lighting the set and period costumes. I don’t care about his theories, just about the show, which was too long and beautifully done. Not often performed for a reason, it turns out – not one of Shakespeare’s great plays, wordy and convoluted. But an excellent production, extremely well acted and directed, every word and thought – even if there were too many of them – clear.

So I saw a not-great production of a very great play, a great production of a not-great play, and a weird production of a weird adaptation of a weird and wonderful book.

And then the bus home, which got snarled in hideous Toronto traffic and was an hour late. Made me actually think fondly of the train. So – you can’t win. And then the last of the Roosevelt shows, which had me weeping, tears rolling down my cheeks when FDR died far too soon at the age of 63. Simply incredible, what he accomplished in his short life. What a story. I confess I had a touch of schadenfreude when the narrator spoke of the difficulties of his and Eleanor’s children – those kids who had the most spectacular parents on earth and yet … And yet. It’s not easy. It said they had something like 19 marriages between them.

Here are two Stratford images:

The Avon
The Bourbon



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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.


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