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“Hamnet and Judith” and unwanted presidencies

Today would have been my mother’s 97th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mum. I’ve started the book about you and Dad – 3300 words or so. I’m not sure if that’s good news for you, but I think it is – it’s about how you were far from perfect, but you were spectacular. 

Favourite tweet from last night: “I sent the fly. RBG.”

I’m feeling hope for the first time in ages, at least about the battered country to the south. Kamala Harris is intelligent, honest, articulate, and forceful. The man “debating” opposite her – actually, interrupting and pontificating, at length – is so creepy and such an unctuous liar, it’s hard to believe he has any job at all, let alone one of such visibility and importance. But the fly showed us what he’s made of. 

It may be that the U.S. will return to some form of stability and decency. Is that possible? Yes, though it will take time, I actually think it is.

My cousin in Bethesda, Washington, saying at least we here are finding some humour in the situation, sent this:   


Yesterday’s excitement was being driven to Canadian Tire by John. A tenant’s very old microwave broke down and he needed a new one. OMG, the excitement of Canadian Tire! So much great stuff! I bought birthday presents for my son and my son-in-law, both with the big event in the next while, and tried to restrain myself from snapping up stuff on every aisle. I haven’t been shopping in so long – had almost forgotten how much fun it is.

But how glad I am to be out of the habit. Imagine, I used to buy new clothes on a regular basis, as if I don’t have enough clothes already. I now know the few things I actually need and will one day go out to buy. Sometime.

The best news, as I wrote to Mum, is the new work. I’m pleased with it; I think it’s a solid start. There’s actually even a title, something I didn’t have for sure for “Loose Woman” until the day before it went to press. Stay tuned; the downward slide will begin shortly. And then, I hope, we’ll rocket up again.

Have finished the novel “Hamnet and Judith” by Maggie O’Farrell; she recreates, in incredible detail, Shakespeare’s family life in Stratford, focussing on an imaginative invention of his wife Anne, here called Agnes, and his 3 children including the doomed Hamnet. It’s beautifully and vividly written, as was her last book “I am I am I am,” this one with a phenomenal amount of research. Any encounter with Shakespeare is welcome. But as with the last book, I found this one overwrought and ultimately unsatisfying. Putting me in the minority. 

Tomorrow I have to go to Ben McNally’s to pick up a book I’ve ordered: “Petra,” by my hugely talented friend Shaena Lambert. And then I have to go buy wine. Books and wine – what more does one need? Well – a sane planet, that would be good too.



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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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