My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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in the doghouse, but busy

From my old friend Susan Mendelson, founder of the Lazy Gourmet in Vancouver: I really enjoyed Loose Woman! It was a wonderful read and I couldn’t put it down. Also took me on a trip down memory lane. Have told everyone I know to get it!

Thank you, Susan, and thank you for many meals through the years, not just from the LG, but from your famous cookbook. The pork chops with red peppers in a sauce of white wine and ketchup – as you say in the book, it sounds terrible but it tastes divine.

And this from my new fourth cousin Lesley: I loved Loose Woman on several different levels. First, as a very honest, plain-speaking autobiography. Second, the description of your summer in France and work at L’Arche, and how it transformed your life. The book also evoked my own memories of the roller-coaster emotions of being a twenty-something in the 1970s, searching for love and security, but often finding only disappointment, humiliation and despair. 

Thank you, Lesley, and for the fascinating genealogical info you sent: there’s a line in Loose Woman where I mention a vocal exercise we did at theatre school to loosen the lips: “Billy Bunter bought a broken buttered biscuit.” According to Lesley, the actor, Gerald Campion, who grew famous playing Billy Bunter on television is a relative of ours! 

I sent this info to my friend R.H. Thomson, who was my classmate at LAMDA. He laughed and sent back a wonderful pic of us in “The Recruiting Officer,” me in what’s called a trousers role, a woman dressed as a man. Spring, 1972. 

Just watched a doc called “The Book Makers,” about craftspeople who make handmade books, artists, paper makers – and the huge Codex Book Fair in San Francisco, where they all gather. My people. Crazy and wonderful.
Won’t mention Doug Ford and what he has done to Ontario. But if you want to know, look at the front page of the Toronto Star today. Howls of outrage. Well deserved.

Like Doug Ford, I’m in the doghouse today. I can’t really talk about it, except to say that yesterday I hit “reply all” by mistake and should not have. Beware “reply all”! Someone may be on the feed who should not see what you’ve written to the others. That’s what happened. I’m sorry for my carelessness, but also that the person I offended was unable to see that an honest and not very serious mistake was made. 


It happened partly because I’ve spent two days doing nothing but sit in my kitchen chair tapping on this machine, banging out quick replies. I’m dealing with various issues, including a request from a Washington theatre to see the play I wrote years ago about my great-grandfather, so was re-reading and doing rewrites of that, got it out today. The emails keep coming in. Sometimes I feel the process is like pingpong or tennis – the ball comes at you and you have to hit it back. Requests come in, or notes that need replies, one thing after another. Tap tap tap – hit that ball back. 

But do not hit “reply all.” 

Funny that weeks, even months go by when I hardly write, and then the floodgates open. I’ve been working on an essay to send out soon, plus the play, plus other things. Plus income tax and life. Busy. The bum is numb. But how I enjoy this, when it’s flowing, when there’s too much rather than too little.



2 Responses to “in the doghouse, but busy”

  1. theresa says:

    I'm looking forward to "The Bookmakers", Beth. We belong to the Alcuin Society and I remember, maybe 8 years ago, there was an evening in honour of Peter Koch, one of the directors of the Codex Book Fair. He showed his film on the making of a special edition of Joseph Brodsky's Watermark, a beautiful extended essay about Venice. Friends of ours were involved with the edition (one of them set the colophon) and we had dinner with Peter and his wife Susan Filter who is a paper conservator. It was an amazing few days. Book design and creation at that level is so inspiring though of course the results are too expensive for most of us. But I'm glad people are involved and keeping the crafts alive – papermaking, binding, printing, type design, etc.

  2. beth says:

    Yes, the doc was fascinating – but certainly it's a rarified world, Theresa, involving countless hours of work creating the paper and the art. But glorious. A shot of a man smelling a newly made book with a huge smile – as I said, my people. Our people.

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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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