My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

The Summer of Soul

Received a note this morning from the Executive Director of my union. “On behalf of the Writers’ Union of Canada, I am writing to congratulate you on your nomination for the 2021 Whistler Independent Book Awards for your book Loose Woman: my odyssey from lost to found. It is a great thing in a writer’s life to receive such recognition. May it be an unforgettable boost to your spirit. Again, congratulations and best wishes for your future successes.” 

Isn’t that lovely? How kind. Yes, the nomination is a most definite boost to my spirit, and I hope to be able to boost that spirit right back to my desk soon. 

It’s amazing how much better you feel when the shadow of a cancer diagnosis passes you by. Also amazing, just how many people know about that particularly intimate procedure yesterday and have sent congratulatory messages. No secrets here! 

So, feeling almost myself again – not quite, but getting there. This afternoon Anna, Thomas and gang are going to my neighbour Monique’s cottage for the weekend, so I went over this morning to help Anna get ready. Which mostly meant keeping Ben out of her hair. Ben has received an informal diagnosis of ADHD from his pediatrician, which will, Anna hopes, get him some extra help when he goes back to school. Today, he wanted to play hockey with me in the laneway. And Glamma did spend some time whapping a tennis ball back and forth with a hockey stick. Ben was San José and I was Montreal, he dictated, and before playing, we had to skate to centre ice to receive applause while our names were called. He is always saying, “Imagine …” At lunch, he said, “Imagine the floor is covered with bird-eating spiders!” 

Yikes. Where do these things come from?

How happy I was to be able to play with this soon-to-be six-year old. She’s coming back to life, folks. For those who are interested: I see two doctors, one on the 19th and another on the 23rd, to get two opinions on the future of my gut and its exploding appendix. Stay tuned.

Last night, still dopey from the sedative, I watched “The Summer of Soul,” a documentary about a fabulous music festival put on in a Harlem park in 1969, with footage ignored until now. What a huge treat, this celebration of black music and of black culture generally. When early in the film the Fifth Dimension started to sing “Let the Sunshine In” – one of the anthems of my youth – my tears started and kept going. The showstopper is the magnificent Mahalia Jackson singing gospel with a very young Mavis Staples; if there’d been a roof on the park, they would have blown it right off. The power of those voices is deeply moving. Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, B.B. King, Gladys Knight and the gliding, finger-snapping Pips! And the clothes – so much dripping fringe and psychedelic colours, spectacular. Highly recommended. 

It’s gloomy and damp for the third day in a row. I went to the back and lo, for the first time ever, a lot of raspberries. I first planted these raspberry bushes decades ago with a cutting from my mother’s bushes in Edmonton. Voila, after at least 25 years: the triumph of Farmer Beth. 



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.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.