My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Faces Places (Visages Villages)

Confusing – I’m sitting here with two identical silver MacBook Airs, only one was bought in 2011 and the other last week, on sale on Cyber Monday. I figured my Mac – eight years old! – must be getting close to the end and thought I should replace it before it dies. Grace came over to help me transfer files, but we’d barely started before she had to go. So now I have a lovely new machine with hardly any files and a lovely old machine that contains my entire life. As soon as my genius Grace returns, I’ll sort this out. The new one just startled me with a loud DING. What does that mean?

Still heartsick about this dark time on our planet, and yet so much, despite all, is wonderful and good. Today I went to see “Faces Places,” the film 88-year old French filmmaker Agnes Varda made with a young artist, and it’s sheer joy, absolutely one of the best – and in fact, on the NYT “Best 10 films of the year” list. The premise is so simple – an old woman with two-tone hair and a young man who never removes his hat or sunglasses become friends and colleagues and drive around the French countryside finding interesting working people to photograph, whose pictures are then plastered, metres high, on buildings, on trains, on abandoned bunkers. It’s profoundly moving, quirky, a affirmation of life and art and our common humanity. I loved every minute – and fantasized about being 88 myself and finding a young man to work with. Tiny round Varda has so much fun.

That’s Varda’s eye in the background. Their work in the film reminded me of the exhibition I saw at the Met in NYC earlier this year of the work of photographer Irving Penn, who besides his long career shooting models at Vogue, travelled the world photographing tribespeople in Africa and working people in France and England. Faces. Places.

When I emerged from the Bloor – and how I love this cinema, devoted to documentaries, how lucky we are in this city to have it – it had started to snow, the first snowfall of winter. How excited my grandsons must be. I walked partway home, through my beautiful neighbourhood, in the particular muffled silence brought on by snow.

Yesterday’s joy, two of my favourite male persons, Eli and Wayson, playing pirate boat and having supper. There’s a great bond between my sometimes-mature grandson and my sometimes-playfully childlike writer friend.

After I’d delivered Eli back home, Wayson and I had dinner and binge-watched 3 episodes of the new season of “The Crown.” On my old computer, which has the Netflix password. Delicious.

At this time of year more than any other, I feel blessed – health, a roof, a meal, a family and friends, and things I love to do, including my work. What more do we need? I know I know, a few more sane politicians would be nice. And a crushing defeat for the vile Roy Moore in Alabama tomorrow. Come on, my American friends, you can do it!

Oh – and then there’s this headline in the Star on Saturday: “Eating cheese every day might actually be healthy.” Now that’s what I call good news.



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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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