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The Boy in the Moon

At 7.45 Tuesday night I was sitting calmly in my sweats in the kitchen, working, when the phone rang and my friend Annie said, “Beth, where are you?” Suddenly I remembered – I was to meet them at the new Crow’s Theatre, not that far away, at 7.30, to see “Boy in the Moon” at 8. Yikes. I threw on some clothes, ran to get a cab on Gerrard, and actually made it on time! The joys of living downtown.

How glad I am not to have missed one minute – what an extraordinary non-fiction play. Adapted from the book by the same name, written by Ian Brown about his severely handicapped son Walker, the play features three actors as Brown, his wife Johanna, and their daughter. They speak to us, they have scenes with each other, and Walker looms over it all as a circle of light. Deeply moving and beautifully done. I, of course, wept. Thanks for not giving up on me, Annie.

Yesterday was biblical – record-breaking rain, all day long. I sat in my office and watched water pouring, not safely through the downspout, but from the roof straight down onto the second-floor deck. The downspout is broken and can’t be repaired because there’s a bird’s nest inside it. I haven’t gone close to check, but the winged comings and goings – and squawks – are unmistakeable. Even in the storm, mama kept flying in with supplies. So – I’ll have to wait until the babies have flown the coop before repairs.

But there’s lots more wildlife to occupy me. A lonely raccoon wants to live on the second-floor deck and has been chased away several times. There are mice in the kitchen cupboards, ignoring traps set by John. Worst of all, though, I was sitting in the kitchen working with a student when I saw movement behind her – bugs, ants with wings, coming out of holes in a decorative pillar at the top of the basement stairs. Horror. I covered the holes, sprayed in Raid and called the termite guy. Yes. Termites. Again. He and his team are coming in a few weeks with their new powerful poison that, he assures me, is harmless for humans and devastating to wood-eating bugs.

The world is too much with me. At least, the animal and insect kingdom. I told the termite guy it was time to sell this wreck of a house and move to a condo, and he told me about a condo job he just did, $400,000 worth of anti-termite work.


My former student, now friend and editor Chris Cameron, has just published his memoir, “Doctor Bartolo’s Umbrella,” about his career as an opera singer, much of it written for class. Bravo, Chris – it’s a lovely book, well-written, funny, poignant. He came to speak to my U of T class on Tuesday and will come to Ryerson in a few weeks. I thank him for that, and for the very nice mention in the book’s acknowledgements of me and the Thursday home writing class, nine of whom were here last night to celebrate him, and then to read their own magnificent stories that one day will be in their own books. In fact, Chris just emailed, What a great class last night. Everyone works to such a high standard and all the pieces were rock solid and enjoyable. I got the impression that nearly everyone has a book inside them, whether they know it or not.

Wednesday morning was the English conversation group potluck with the immigrant women of Regent’s Park, to break bread together before Ramadan starts. A huge feast – many spicy dishes involving chick peas. One young woman didn’t remove her niqab, the only one who doesn’t in the room full of women, and to eat, had to lift up the black veil to slip the fork underneath. I don’t understand, but it doesn’t bother me any more. I like the women a lot, and I think they are enjoying the chance to speak English.

The good people of Montana have elected a man who assaulted a reporter for asking questions. The papers focus on the power struggle handshake between Trump and Macron. Young girls blown up in Manchester. The world grows more and more frighteningly surreal. Makes me want to hunker down and hide. Just me and the raccoons, the sparrows, the mice, and the – ugh – termites.



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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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