My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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celebrating documentary – Woody and Vivian Meier

The Documentary Channel is free for the whole month of November, and I’ve been taking advantage. Non-fiction films – fab. Last night, a long doc on the life and career of Woody Allen, intimate and hilarious. What unparalleled brilliance – at the age of seventeen, he was earning more than his parents by selling quips to newspapers. He was dragged reluctantly into performing, and ended up in film-making because his first film was so damaged by the studio that he resolved to have full creative control from then on – and he did. He has a great relationship with his sister, with whom he has worked for decades, and with ex-wives and girlfriends like Louise Lasser and Diane Keaton, who spoke with great warmth, love and respect.

Of course, there’s one huge exception to that. I didn’t see what the doc said about Mia Farrow, if anything, it got too late and I went to bed. But we know her and her daughter’s allegations. Knowing what we now unfortunately know about abusers, the Cosbys and Ghomeshis who for decades got away with abuse until finally one woman and then a crowd came forward – the thought that Woody Allen has lived an exemplary if extremely neurotic life except for one heinous five-minute interlude when he abused his own 7-year old daughter in an attic – it makes no sense. We might not approve of the fact that his wife was once his girlfriend’s adopted daughter, but they have been married for 22 years and look happy. He’s weird, no question, and so is Mia; their whole relationship was insane. But in the meantime, he has never stopped writing, directing and producing films, some not-so-great and some magnificent.

Woody writes still on the German-made Olympia manual typewriter he bought when he was sixteen. “What do you do when you have to cut and paste?” asked the interviewer, and Woody held up scissors and a stapler – he actually cuts, and pastes. He said the talents he emulates are Groucho, Bob Hope and Ingmar Bergman. That reminded me of my friend Lynn, who says her role models are Jean Vanier and Lucille Ball.

Tonight at 9, for any of you in the vicinity, there’s a superb doc, not on the Documentary Channel but on TVO, called “Finding Vivian Meier,” about a strange woman who supported herself as a nanny while taking many thousands of brilliant photographs, which only came to light after her death. A beautiful and moving story. True stories on film, on paper – can’t get enough. Keep ’em coming.

P.S. UNFAIR! I am sixty-four, dealing of course with aging issues – osteoporosis, wrinkles, general disintegration. And yet I also have pimples – this week, a grotesquely giant adolescent pimple on my forehead, two on my face. My bathroom counter sports an anti-aging serum and various kinds of Clearasil, including Popped Pimple Paste. What fun to feel fifteen again.

Not!

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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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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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