My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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confronting Canadian racism

At one of the gatherings to mourn the Muslim family just murdered in London in an act of racial hatred, someone left a big colourful poster: “I promise to teach my babies to love your babies.” Nothing more important in a world that seems increasingly dark and lost. Until we remember the past, which was also dark and lost. It’s good to witness kindness, generosity, compassion, much in evidence. I had an argument online – I know, what a waste of time – with a Canadian writer who’s lived in the States for decades and wrote a sneering condemnation of this country – that Canadians are so smug and superior when the monstrosity of residential schools and this horrible murder by an enraged young man prove we’re just as racist as the States.

Not. My daughter would agree with her, but I most emphatically do not. We should never be smug; the last weeks have once again taught us a lesson we should have learned many decades ago. But this country changes fast; has, even in the past weeks, and will continue to do so, in mostly the right direction. Much, much to do. Much, much done. People want instant solutions to extremely complex issues and condemn so very quickly. It does not help. Especially when we’re reeling. 

Here, life returns at last. Yesterday was a hard day, except that it also wasn’t; I lay in torpor on the deck all day awash in the scent of honeysuckle, could be worse. For once, no power washing, no construction, no loud neighbour conversations, just birds and the sound of my own anxiety. 

But this morning, things inside my swollen belly and head were calmer, and then my team arrived. John did a massive pruning while I sat snipping the pile of branches with secateurs to stuff them in yard waste bins. Then Nicole got groceries and helped me put in a load of laundry. Monique came later and tortured me by drinking rosé.

The weather is a gift, perfect – mild, sunny, breezy, wafting summer smells about. My legs and belly are shaky, but my confidence is not, not any more.

I realize that gardening is the perfect occupation for an impatient person like me. Impatience is pointless, counterproductive, in a garden; you think they’re listening to you say, hurry up? This garden has taken thirty-five years to get where it is now, inch by inch, mistake by mistake, countless shrivelled blackened plants and shrubs and bushes. Gradually, this bit worked, then that, then that, until it’s mostly working, all by itself, with some help and a lot of water. A mere thirty-five years. 

But it’s the same with writing; writing takes patience. Learning your craft, your voice, what your heart and mind need to express, and trusting those things at the deepest level with each sentence, takes time. At least, it did for me. That is, I knew from childhood writing was what I wanted to do. But it has taken until now – longer than thirty-five years – for me to feel more or less in control of the tools.

It’s a good feeling. 

Haven’t done this for awhile: here’s a message from my friend Nancy White.

Your book!  I dug into it last night, and the phrase that jumped into my mind was from The Producers, when the director who’d been given the script for “Springtime for Hitler” is asked if he’d read it and replies, “READ IT?? I DEVOURED IT!” (Perhaps this is a poor comparison…)
       Anyway, I’m enjoying it immensely!

Thank you, Nancy. I do hope “Loose Woman” does not bear too close comparison with that particularly unfortunate musical.

Speaking of writing, that brings me to Donald Trump ( and who thought that would ever be a thing?) Can’t wait for the book of all books. The man has obviously found an editor – correct spelling, commas, whole coherent sentences … wait, maybe this post was ghostwritten. But no, the tone is him. That’s his voice. I bet he was born with it. 



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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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