My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Ann Patchett, comedienne

Saw a woman at the Y today. She’s been there for years, a keener, very athletic, and I’ve assumed she’s becoming anorexic because she’s been getting thin. The array of bodies on display at the Y is astounding. Today I saw her in the shower with one breast, that terrible scar I know so well from my mother’s body on the other side. Another woman last time in the shower had no hair anywhere on her body, so thin she was nearly transparent. The monster stalks us. And yet there they are, at the Y. My friend and mentor there, Carole, is taking a course on aging and the brain; she was told that exercise may be even better for the brain than for the body.


A stunning day today – I didn’t want to go inside anywhere, just sit out and bathe in that warmth. Because it won’t be here much longer. But I had things to do, and one of them was get this @#$# manuscript off my back. So I did – today it went to my editor in Vancouver and on Monday to my editor friend here. I can’t stand it right now. It’s terrible. No one will ever want to read such self-indulgent drivel.

Stay tuned.

After tonight, I know who I want to be when I grow up: Ann Patchett. My friend Jacqueline invited me to hear her at the Reference Library – the event was sold out so I was grateful for the invite. When I got there at 6.35, the place was overflowing already; they said people started lining up at 2. By 7, when it started, it was standing room only along both sides of the room. Oh what a joy it must be to speak to a room jam-packed with people who love your words. An obscure writer girl can dream.

No wonder the room was full – she’s not only a wonderful writer who achieved success early, she’s a fabulous speaker, as funny as a stand-up comedienne.

She said, among many other interesting things, that Hillary Clinton is going to win in November, not because she’s the better of two bad candidates, but because she’s terrific at her job. Yay! She said she lived the first decades of her life like a Catholic schoolgirl, trying to be good and nice, and was freed from her fear of offending anyone in her books by writing “This is the story of a happy marriage,” a non-fiction book which included lots of truths about her family. She says when she found out they didn’t care if they were in a book or not, it freed her to tell the stories she needed to tell. Her latest book “Commonwealth” is thinly disguised autobiography. “A writer needs to write what is most frightening,” she said, which for her was to tell the truth about her family. “When you turn 50, you cease to care.”

She was hilarious about her childhood – her incredible memory – “I have crib memories,” she said. She grew up “before the invention of child psychology” – “we were like free range chickens,” no one knew or cared where the kids were.

I don’t watch TV, she said – TV is only there to sell you something; they keep you in a knot so that’s easier to do. I understand to a degree. But I rushed home from hearing this terrific writer to turn on one of the best TV shows ever – “Call the Midwife.” Vision TV is showing old seasons that I missed. It’s extraordinarily good. I’d love to invite Ann over to watch with me. She is a LOT of fun.



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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.


Coming soon

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

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