My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

Alice Neel, Alan Turing, and the beaver

First, have a wonderful Passover, those of you who celebrate!

Next, I just received a kind note from a writer about “Loose Woman”: It’s one of the best memoirs I’ve read; you had me hooked from the beginning and kept me in suspense all the way through as I asked myself, “How is she going to turn herself around?” It’s a wonderful story of transformation and redemption. It lifted my spirits and made me feel that anything IS possible.

Thank you! “How is she going to turn herself around?” sounds like the Ever Given in the Suez Canal. And I did feel like a giant immobile barge sometimes.

We had a heavenly week; now it’s grey but still mild, does not feel like March. The birds are happy – a great deal of chatter. A big item in the papers the other day was that one entrance to the Royal York subway stop in western Toronto had to be shut because there was a beaver inside. Apparently the stop is between two waterways and somehow the beaver wandered off track. There are coyotes in Cabbagetown, photographed on front lawns and in the Necropolis; people are warned to keep small pets inside, especially as it’s mating season. 

How I love that in the middle of this vast city, we need to be aware of the sexual habits of coyotes and the itinerary of the beaver. Take that, civilization.

Was nearly in tears Thursday morning wrestling with the internet and Rogers. I learned someone had created a fake Instagram account in my name and was asking people for money; when I tried frantically to change my password, my computer disconnected and I had to call Rogers, with two classes to teach on Zoom that day. So on a glorious sunny morning when I’d intended to get outside, I was dealing with some weirdo on Instagram and the lumbering behemoth Rogers. It got done, tho’.

In the hot sun of the afternoon, between classes, I rode to the heart of downtown, Queen and Bay, to deliver this year’s income tax information to my friend John. Riding in the sun was just like old times, a hint of normalcy. But not yet. 

And more normalcy – on Friday I did Gina’s Zoom line dancing class for the first time in over a month. I am still not strong but much better. And then I watched a film about an exhibit at the Met in New York, a retrospective of Alice Neel, dear friend of my parents in the late forties, described in the exhibition as “one of the great American artists of the twentieth century.” I went to meet her in 1981, a few years before she died; must write about that encounter. She was a tough woman, brave, fascinating. Wish I could see the exhibition. As the curators took us through it virtually, I looked for Alice’s portrait of my father that my brother and I sold years ago, but I don’t think Dad is there. Andy Warhol is, though. 

And then a piano lesson, painful but a start. Life returns to the old bones. I lost a month or two there, but will now reignite my energetic self. Soon. 

The Brits have put Alan Turing on their 50 pound note: the man who saved the world with his genius and then was essentially tortured because he was gay. The most vile injustice. I wish there were life after death, so Alice, who struggled for years to make enough to survive and was denigrated as a mere “portrait painter,” could see her paintings treasured; so Turing could see the country that treated him so poorly honour him now.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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”

Join the mailing list to stay up to date on this and other exciting news.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.