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“a gentle joy”

I think the word for the air is ‘soupy’. I have been running the AC for the first time this summer, for survival. Time to go out to water and pick some chard for dinner. But first, listening to Macca on Spotify and checking in with you. 

Some lovely things happening. My brother came to visit with his 14-year-old son Jake. The last time he was here two years ago, he’d just returned from Israel, of which he is an ardent supporter; in his view Israel, like my parents, can do no wrong. As you can imagine, one person in particular at the table objected vehemently to this view; there was a violent argument, and we have not seen him, or spoken much, since. There’s a long history of us not getting along, so I just let it be. 

But he came and we all had dinner and a really great visit. Apparently he apologized to Anna for provoking the argument. He took her boys swimming in the pool at his hotel and they adored Jake, who’s a sweetheart. I have very few relatives left in the world, only one sibling and one nephew. It’s a source of great pleasure that peace was made. 

He expressed interest so I send him a few excerpts of the letters I’ve been transcribing between our parents after their separation in the mid-fifties, which to my mind explain why he and I have never been able to be friends. What I found in the letters made me weep. They both adored my chubby blonde brother, who was, indeed, adorable, but for some reason they both denigrated me. It’s there in the letters, including, as I quoted a few months ago, my dad writing to Mum, “I’d almost forgotten what a bitch Beth can be, but your letter reminded me.” I was seven. I hope my brother sees why I hated him, that we really didn’t have a chance. We have not been able to fix it in all these years. But maybe we can now. 

Last night, the Word Sisters, an impressive group of women in publishing, came for a potluck dinner on the deck. One is a writers’ agent with one of the best agencies in the country, another is a publicist with one of the best publishing houses. I want to shout, “LET ME IN!” We disagreed about the term “vanity publishing” which they still use and which I say is dead as a term; now we say “indie publishing.” There’s no vanity in our struggle to get our words out into the world.

Occasionally I wonder if this blog is worth the time and focus it takes to keep it going, and then, out of the blue, comes a boost, a gift. Someone wrote this on the blog. Thank you, Ellen! I needed that.

Less than a week ago a few of your blog readers (fans) and I were discussing how much we enjoy your blog for the beauty of the words and thoughts, the spirit of kindness that always radiates, the optimism and the gentle, reasonable, and positive approach to life. Even when you discuss more serious personal matters (e.g., your recent health challenges, your friend Patsy, your worries for the well-being of those you love), you do so with warmth, honesty and courage, and from that we all learn and grow. I follow, and am grateful for, your suggestions on books that you recommend, for the music you discuss, and for the films/documentaries/tv shows that you discuss. For all world issues I rely on mainstream news, but am interested in other’s opinions when discussed. Your blog is a gentle joy and I thank you for that.

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5 Responses to ““a gentle joy””

  1. Theresa says:

    I agree with Ellen. A gentle joy that is civilized and intelligent and spirited.

  2. beth says:

    Thank you, Theresa and Nick! You are very kind.

  3. Mita says:

    I agree too! I enjoy reading your blog, and have been inspired by it in the writing of my own blog. I enjoy hearing your stories about your friends & family, your courage in sharing the painful experiences, and your journey in writing your book.

  4. beth says:

    Thank you, Mita. Glad to hear I'm helping to inspire you.

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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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