My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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grappling with the demons of doubt

I do not have Covid-19. Found out in 24 hours, thank you very much. Suddenly, when I heard “negative,” I felt better. But not a whole lot better.

These last days, as I prepared to sit in a recording studio taping the audiobook of my memoir, I unearthed my inner neurotic actress. Suddenly I felt fragile and unwell. My throat hurt. All I thought about was my voice, my strength – how to prepare? I did vocal exercises all morning, limbering up throat and lips and tongue, as we learned to do in theatre school. I found it hard work, reading into a microphone for 3 hours, then editing the tapes we did the day before. Satisfying, but also scary. I’m recounting my own very personal story, and one of the voices, the negative voice I know so well, kept saying, “Who’s going to want to listen to THIS? What a waste of time and money. YOUR time and money.”

I’m insecure about my voice and also about my writing. Yes, I get good feedback about my writing from friends and students. But I contacted a publicist in Vancouver who was charming and friendly, willing to take me on. But now she’s ghosting me. All publishers but one turned me down. I’ve never won a prose writing competition, never been included in an anthology. There’s something about my work that doesn’t work for the industry. Too much telling, Wayson used to say, not enough showing. Whatever it is – it’s what I do, it’s what the book is. What if it’s disappointing readers right now?


And yet – I’ve taped 145 pages of my book so far, acting my buns off, trying to do the voices, the accents, convey the mood swings of this young woman as she sets off on her odyssey. If no one wants to listen to it, I’ll be disappointed, but I won’t be surprised. That’s our business.

Monique who’s reading it said tonight, I thought I knew you but I don’t at all! I said, Well for one things, you’ve never known me to have a sex life. Now she’s reading about a time when I had a very active sex life. Not to mention the booze and drugs. Cu, the young technician doing the taping, mostly doesn’t listen as I read, but after yesterday’s reading, he wanted me to discuss something I knew about that he, cool young dude that he is, did not: cocaine.

In the meantime, Trudeau is struggling at a bad time, and the Democrats seem to be doing a good job at their convention. Please God.



3 Responses to “grappling with the demons of doubt”

  1. Pat Butler says:

    Beth, how brave of you to openly tell the world about your insecurities about writing – the talent you develop in your masses of students! What a kind, inspiring person you are. If Professor Kaplan questions her own abilities, the rest of us are immediately given permission to suffer similar pangs, but feel encouraged to carry on anyway. Thank you for being honest.

  2. theresa says:

    I send good wishes. These feelings are part of the package, I think. I look forward to your book and I know many others are too.

  3. beth says:

    Thanks to you both, and to the others who've emailed encouraging things. Sometimes I feel I should share the downtimes, the ebbs and flows, because I'm so upbeat most of the time. And yes, Theresa, I do think a certain amount of self-doubt is an important part of the artist package – as long as it doesn't silence us. Enough to make us strive to be better; not enough to make us give up!

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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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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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