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soupe au pistou

BTW, I forgot to do a bit of boasting about my students earlier this week: Margaret Lynch, who’d never done any creative writing before taking my class, went on to do an MFA in Nonfiction at King’s and is now on the short list for the top prize for that year’s grads. Brava, Margaret, who has an incredible story to tell. Sam Stanley-Paul wrote a story for class about being an online teacher in the pandemic. After our comments, she rewrote and read it again, and we urged her to send it to CBC’s Karen Levine who bought it. Sam taped it in her basement; it will air on The Sunday Edition on May 24. (She’s read an essay on the program before, as have many of my students.) Ruth complained that she had nothing to say and then wrote a moving piece for class Thursday about her life in isolation; she rewrote and sent to me for editing, and now it has gone out to a newspaper.

Proud of you all! And of everyone else – all ten who came to class Thursday and the five who read, who have not been stopped by the strange state of the world.

It’s a glorious sunny Saturday morning of a long weekend, not that that means anything to most of us. I can see streams of people heading to the garden centre on the corner. Several readers have asked about my tenant issue; happy to report that though it’s far from over, it is slowly resolving, thanks for asking. I am no longer losing weight thanks to stress, I am now gaining weight thanks to cheese.

Spent time in the night trying to figure out where the time goes, adding up the (too many) hours on social media, blogging, and email; food; home, garden, and self maintenance; walking or exercise classes; aperitif with Monique (an hour a day); television; teaching and editing; reading newspapers, the New Yorker, and books; and – oh yes – writing. It still didn’t add up to the 14 or 15 hours a day I’m awake. Where does the time go? we ask plaintively. And the answer is, No @$#@ idea.

Dear friends Cathy Smalley and Christopher Banks (whom I met when I was a tour guide at the National Art Centre in 1969, the summer it opened), sequestered in Nova Scotia, wrote a few days ago attaching a recipe I gave them years ago. “As you can see by the amount of spillage on every page, this recipe is well used.” I’d completely forgotten it but will give it a try soon. Hello to Nova Scotia. We were supposed to be there this summer but now – who knows? Hope to see you soon. Sending love. (PS. I demand billing.)
(Click to enlarge.)



2 Responses to “soupe au pistou”

  1. Mita says:

    That's so cool about your students Beth! Your class was so helpful for me – I used three of the stories I wrote in your class for my final project for the creative writing certificate, and now planning to keep going with it. It's amazing how things take on a life of their own! (especially with encouragement and thoughtful feedback!)

  2. beth says:

    Mita, I'm so glad to hear that you're still writing. And yes, for all of us, finding the right ear to listen and encourage at the right time can make all the difference. Good luck with it all.

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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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