My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Jian’s mother

If there is one woman in the world I feel sorry for these days, it’s Mrs. Ghomeshi. Unimaginable – from her golden Persian princeling running every cultural event in this country, to this – fighting for his freedom, the details of his sordid sex life splashed across every newspaper and TV news show. As many of you know, he was my neighbour, he was cheery, kind and friendly and I liked him a lot. Another neighbour who knew and liked him came over tonight to ask – what do you make of all this? What should we think? Particularly today, after the first witness’s testimony was shredded?

My take, so far, is this: There’s no question that he’s arrogant and has dark, twisted views of women, reciprocity, respect and sex; that he was not just stupid but insane to think he could continue to behave in a heedless, abusive way and get away with it. It’s good that society is dealing so openly now with violence against women, which I deal with all the time in my memoir classes – assault or abuse by grandfathers, uncles, family friends, leaving lifelong scars.

But there’s an article in the NYT today about a man training to be a priest who was arrested for seeking out very small children for violent sexual encounters.
A young seminary student from Ohio flew across the United States on Friday in pursuit of a goal he had spent weeks discussing online in explicit detail: finding a baby, either through adoption or cash purchase, to sexually assault.

In email passages reprinted in the criminal complaint, Mr. Wright discussed his sexual fantasies and said he planned to pay the parents of a baby girl so he could “adopt/own” her. “The cheapest baby girl under 3 would be good,” he wrote.

I try to be a forgiving and open person, but a guy this loathsome – I’d throw him over a cliff.

No question, Jian should not have done what he did – pulling hair, punching, slapping – without making sure that behaviour was consensual, which it sometimes, I gather, is. But there is no comparison, in my mind, between his faults and those who assault children and other innocents. He was dealing with adult women who volunteered to be there.

And I have been a woman like that. Reading my 70’s diary recently, I found a passage I’d completely, happily forgotten – that a sort-of boyfriend, one night, faced with me saying no, I was not interested in sex at this time, decided to force the issue. In essence, he raped me. And what I wrote in my diary was, “I loved it.”

That is what I wrote. I was thrilled that a man took charge and that I was helpless. I’m ashamed and embarrassed and I find it hard to connect to that 27-year old woman, but there it is in black and white. What goes on between men and women is complicated, and there are flaws on both sides. Let he who is without sin …

What can we do about sexual madness, though? It seems the internet has lifted up a rock to uncover the vile depths of human behaviour. To those who want to take sex education out of the schools, I say – look around you. See the superb movie “Spotlight.” Children need to learn what’s going on, what’s right and wrong. Because grown ups can be reprehensible.

Okay, enough of that, let’s celebrate the fact that it’s nearly spring in Toronto. So mild, incredible, I’m riding my bike everywhere and tomorrow – 18 degrees. Unheard of in February. From my back deck and my bike ride on the DVP trail on Sunday, a winter panorama:

 Out my back door

 In winter, we can see the outlines of the trees, the delicacy of colour – beige, grey, brown.

 Oui, Magritte, tout est possible. Ou presque.

Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion bridge in winter.

I celebrate what is good and beautiful and honest and decent, which is everywhere. Because the other side is too. Please, God, let Trump fade into oblivion and let’s move right along.



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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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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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