My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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note from the trenches

Student Marcie, who lives in Italy part time but happily is not there now, just sent this – wise words from Italians. What pleasure to listen to the flow of that beautiful language.

Last night, a huge treat, in Italian – the next season of My Brilliant Friend began on HBO, one of the best series ever. Superb.

Yesterday’s line dancing class was a triumph. Gina is a twig, a lithe grandmother who looks seventeen. Her energy, humour, and great music kept us going through the cold wind. A toddler came from the playground nearby to stand staring at us in disbelief.

Portrait of courage or lunacy: Frozen Canadians, dancing.

I invited two friends over afterwards; one of them is going through a serious depression, to the point that we’re very worried about her. So – tea and a long urgent talk about medication. Of course, this is not a good time to need a health care professional for any other reason than the virus.

Later, a CNFC board meeting via Zoom and a decision to cancel our conference and reschedule – not in the fall, as I’d thought, but next year at the same time and place. What a relief. We have a year to re-program.

And then, the last Ryerson class, also via Zoom – nine students on my screen, discussing each other’s work. They’ve told their most important stories, learned some craft and technique, and now know each other very well. I hope they continue to meet.

Sam is off work for at least two weeks, but luckily he has savings. Luckily I have savings and tenants and can work virtually, and Anna is used to living on almost nothing and has more childcare work than she can handle. What this means for countless people who live on the edge = disaster. I hope the money the government promised will get to them asap. In the meantime, my daughter, in addition to looking after many children, made a vat of green curry soup yesterday and offered it online to anyone not too far away who needed food. So later she went out delivering soup. She’s an atheist who lives the ideals of Christian charity. Don’t tell her I said so, though.

Here’s what the rest of the week holds: today a Skype editing session with a student, and then a walk with Ruth and her dog. Tomorrow, another line-dancing class. Thursday, the last U of T class via Zoom. Friday was supposed to be a book club meeting about Middlemarch, cancelled. It’s the day I was due to leave for Paris. Saturday is Bach’s birthday. In my daytimer – nothing, absolutely nothing.

But I’m used to that. I work from home; we self-employed writers are used to filling our solitary days. I am drowning in solo things to do – writing work, reading, endless reading, organizing and sorting, cleaning and tidying, cooking, piano practice, the garden, much more. All that matters is the focus to get it all done.

Focus. Aye, there’s the rub.

Ciao, bella!



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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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