My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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First We Eat

Today I feel as if I’ve crawled up out of a deep hole or out from under a heavy rock: light and air, a huge weight lifted. The two issues that were weighing me down are resolving at a rapid pace. The basement apartment – I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it – has been miraculously transformed into somewhere livable. The divine Holly finished off yesterday by washing the appallingly dirty floors. John has repaired the broken chairs and doors and other broken things. I washed the windows and freezer, the stained cushions and rugs. And today Dan the painter came to freshen the whole place, fill the holes in the walls, make it pretty again. Standing down there, it feels as if I’ve scoured my soul and come up clean and clear. I will not think about the cost.

So – very soon, a lovely fresh fully furnished one-bedroom basement apartment in a fabulous location with an adorable landlady will be available for rent. If you know anyone suitable, please let me know.

And at the same time, today, the contract for the book has been finalized. Soon I’ll meet with the publisher/editor about cover and internal images, and we’ll be underway. Another incredible relief. Today I spoke to a book publicist who might be interested in taking me on. I’ve done no writing for ages, have been buried in Pinesol and vacuum cleaners and Windex and stain remover. But soon – soon – my writer life will begin again.

This morning it was very hot; John brought me a new fan which went on right away, a blessing. Then a downpour. And right now, the sun is out again on the wet grass and trees, the smell sublime, everything glistening.

I know, my friends, that everything I’ve described over these past weeks – the destruction of my basement apartment, my anxieties about the book – are first world problems. I own a house and can pay for the publication of my book since no one else wants to publish it. I do not take any of these privileges, my great good luck, for granted. Grateful to the tips of my toes.

The other day I bought a ticket for the Hot Docs Festival and sat in my kitchen watching a doc called First We Eat, by and about a woman in Dawson City, in the Yukon, who decides that for a whole year her family should eat only what is grown or produced locally. This means not just no imported vegetables and fruit but no salt, no sugar, no coffee or tea – no bread, even, because there’s little local wheat. Brutal. It’s beautifully shot in this gorgeous wild part of the country, with full acknowledgement of the hard work of the local farmers and the wisdom of the local Indigenous people.

This is real pioneer stuff, people who need to kill a moose to have meat for the winter. It made me think carefully about the food I eat – the mangoes and avocados trucked all the way from Mexico, and other exotic fare. Doubly so because I have just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about the same thing – eating local food, growing your own. But even she didn’t ban salt, sugar, coffee. The Yukon filmmaker’s charming children are hilarious as they endure her foraging in the bush and producing inedible wilted greens or rock hard bread from some strange grain – but they get through with grace and learn a vital lesson about our world, and some of the food looked delicious. Well worth watching. And how great that I could sit in my kitchen and experience the beauty of the Yukon through a year of seasons.

All this, as people all over the world, and of course my daughter and her family, protest police brutality and systemic racism. And then the NYT convulses after publishing a Republican op-ed advocating harsh military intervention. And my right-wing friend writes to say he looks forward to visiting me in November after Trump wins again.

I was about to say, over my dead body. But between riots and the pandemic, perhaps that’s a bit too literal.

There’s a sparrow perched on the gardenia on the deck, where one glorious flower is just opening. It’s Wayson, come to visit, to say, Onward. I hear you, my beloved friend.



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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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