My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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saving my sanity

A quiet day here in the battered house, down to its skeletal bones upstairs, and downstairs, cluttered and strewn. It makes me laugh to think how I used to fuss about putting stuff away and now – nowhere to put it, so it’s just everywhere. You enter my living room through torn plastic sheeting. Showers of drywall on the stairs. Life is good.

My closet.

“News of fresh disasters.” My mother would get the joke, from “Beyond the Fringe,” our favourite comedy album. (Feeling like a dinosaur as I type the words “comedy album.” Wuh? say the kids. Wuzzat?) Yesterday, fresh disasters, but we figured out a way through. And there was good news: the roofer came at 8 a.m. to inspect my flat roof. Doesn’t look damp, he said. No water pooling. Termites must be coming from somewhere else.

I walked to the Y yesterday to take a shower and sit in the silence of the sauna. The place will save my life in the upheaval, as it has so often before. I read once about the importance of the “third place” – not home, not work; in England it’s the pub, in France the café. For me, my second place, since I work mostly at home, is the Y.

Some treats: on Monday, dinner here with my friend Stella Walker, who didn’t mind picking her way through the rubble, and then the season finale of the breathtaking My Brilliant Friend. Yesterday, getting Calypso by David Sedaris out of the library, laughing out loud on nearly every page. A note from a longterm student, saying he’d had printed the first draft of his memoir, and when he brought it home and showed it to his partner, they both burst into tears. “My whole life in a box,” he wrote.
I want to thank you for all your guidance and support in making this stage of my writing journey come true. 


My pleasure, my very great pleasure. Another longterm student and friend wrote to offer me a private suite in her basement, and Monique said I can come next door anytime. Shelter! Thank you, kind neighbours. Jean-Marc and I went to Green’s, the local junk/antique store, to pick through her unbelievably cluttered basement for old doors and other things. We now have about 56 possible doors. My friend is still bursting, exploding, with ideas. Sometimes that’s wonderful, sometimes not so much.


It’s stretching my tiny mind to figure out where things are. I’ve been in such a routine for so long, and now I turn to go upstairs to bed, but no, my bed is downstairs. I go into the hall to put on my boots, but they’re under the piano bench. It’s good for the shrivelling brain.

Sparrows on the deck, pecking snow. The other day there was a young hawk hunting in the garden, which is mostly white and brown. Here’s something else that will save my sanity: the Conservatory in Allan Gardens, where I dallied yesterday on my way to the Y. Colour and scent and beauty.

Somewhere, in the jumble of furniture and clothing stuffed onto the third floor, are Christmas presents that need to be wrapped. Christmas! The pageant! Let’s not think about that right now.

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2 Responses to “saving my sanity”

  1. theresa says:

    I loved Calypso!

  2. beth says:

    I'm loving it too. I speak about him often in class. If only writing as humorously as he weren't so difficult.

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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.

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