My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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words from the wide world: Ajerbaijan, London, Provence, Zurich

An unusual day today: midday I taught the first class of the U of T term, to students who ranged from Vancouver Island and Nelson, B.C., to Edmonton, Montreal, Bathurst New Brunswick, and of course Toronto, to Athens, Greece, and Azerbaijan! Another huge advantage of Zoom – a student in Azerbaijan! It was a fascinating group; I look forward to this term, sitting in my kitchen.

And soon, tonight, I’m doing a Zoom class with the Toronto Dance Theatre. The company is based a few blocks from here; in 1973, I used to take the streetcar across town, from my room in a communal house on Markham Street, to take a class there. Since moving nearby, I’ve intended to do the same and never have. Usually by 7.15 p.m. I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and dinner. Tonight at 7.15 I’ll be dancing in the living room with the TDT. We’ll see how that goes.

The world is on tenterhooks; it looks like the man will leave office without blowing up Iran or starting a world war – one of the very few things we have to be thankful for. A recent New Yorker cartoon: two people watching television news; one says, Joe Biden is so boring, and the other says, Yes, isn’t it wonderful! Yes it is. An ethical man full of heart, trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered nation. I’ll be watching tomorrow, along with a relieved planet.

Some gratifyingly kind words from four men, today, about the book: Sasha, a man of Russian background who is researching the life of my great-grandfather in London, England and writes often with questions or new bits of info, wrote that he enjoyed how “Tolstoyan” Loose Woman is. When I wrote to ask what he meant – my great-grandfather was a follower and admirer of Tolstoy – he replied, “I thought that the combination of humour (my partner complained that I was laughing too loudly while reading in bed), the fact that all the exposition, including the entertaining part, was subordinate to an educational purpose, and the disregard for fiction reflected an influence of early Tolstoy.”

Love it, Sasha! That you were laughing so loudly is music to my ears. And thanks, that’s the first time anyone has linked my work to that of the man I consider the greatest novelist ever. I’ll take it. 

My dear Chris, whose blog is to the left: I liked the bit about l’Arche the best; I found that part absolutely wonderful, kind and honestThere was nothing I didn’t like, but to be truthful, the more introspective part at the end, the long inner dialogue about womanhood, marriage and career, was less compelling – not surprising for a male reader. I liked reading the thoughts of an actor about the profession as I am so, so deeply in love with theatre. That is something we share.

Dan, a writer from the south of France: I was deeply moved by your book. Your honesty, self-awareness, transparency and especially personal courage to strip naked on the public square shone through on every page. A life, any life, is necessarily messy; fiction allows us to arrange things (a polite way to say “lie about them”) so they (appear to) make sense. Telling the solid truth must be hard, but is surely immensely liberating (or so I imagine, I’ve never tried). Thank-you!

Thank you!

And Alan, a fellow Beatlemaniac and musician who lives in Zurich and whom I’ve never met, went to a cemetery in the snow to find James Joyce’s grave and tell him about my book; he made a lovely little film with a poem about Joyce. What a wonderful thing. Tolstoy and James Joyce – what a dinner party! 


Alan, Loose Woman, and James Joyce, in the snow: 

Luckily soon my swollen head and I will be stumbling around the living room making a fool of ourselves.



3 Responses to “words from the wide world: Ajerbaijan, London, Provence, Zurich”

  1. beth says:

    You mean Alan and the ghost of James Joyce in the snow? And Alan showing him my book? I love it too! What a treat.

  2. Theresa says:

    I love it all, Beth — your enthusiasm, the prospect of dancing, Joyce in the snow.

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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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