My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Ann Patchett, Lucy Grealy, Truth and Beauty

Very beautiful out there – fresh snowfall. Happily, I can enjoy the view from my kitchen chair – a bluejay at the feeder – as I have nowhere to go. And even if I did, I would not go, because I’m still not sure of my health status. My friend the public health nurse pointed out that Omicron can take up to 7 days to manifest, so this cold may still turn out to be the dreaded thing. I’m a bit better today, though, so there’s hope. I’ll test again on Wednesday. Whatever this is, I don’t understand how I got it, with all the distancing, masking, hand-washing. How insistent and strong these viruses are. Powerful enough to cripple the entire world. 9400 new cases in Ontario today. Scary! 

In the meantime, I just had some of my turkey soup for lunch; it was so good I stood up and headed to the fridge saying, “Maw soup!” which is what my son used to say as he sat in his highchair pounding his spoon. Maw soup! The fridge is full of food, the house is warm, soon I’ll put on the fire. There’ll be a nice warm Netflix and many mags and books to keep me stimulated. Sam says I must watch Station Eleven, so I will.

Last night, as I tossed in bed with a stuffed nose, something came to me: the first paragraph of an essay I’ve been struggling to write for years. It must have been inspired by the Ann Patchett book I’m reading in bed: Truth and Beauty, about her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy. It’s so good, so vividly written, I felt energized and inspired. This morning I wrote out my idea and think it’s a good beginning. Now to write all the rest. That’s all. Just write all the rest. 

I want to be Ann Patchett when I grow up. Though I’ve just discovered the controversy she endured after the publication of the book; Grealy’s sister wrote a long article in the Guardian accusing her of being less good a writer than Lucy, using the friendship for her own gain, a “grief thief.” The problem for all writers of memoir: real live people who don’t want their stories out in the world. Well, too bad, I say, at least about this one. Patchett brings Lucy, disfigured, egotistical, voracious, and brilliant, vividly to life. 

Here, yesterday, before the snow, is Lady Cardinal on my deck. Wish you could see her flashes of red – her red beak – her perky crest. She’s my favourite. 



One response to “Ann Patchett, Lucy Grealy, Truth and Beauty”

  1. Theresa says:

    First, I hope you don't have the virus, Beth, in any of its iterations. Take care. And oh how I loved the Patchett book about Lucy. A model in so many important ways and I thought that article by Lucy's sister was unnecessarily spiteful. I wonder if you've read These Precious Days, the new Ann Patchett essay collection? I haven't actually read the book but most of the individual pieces were published uh Harpers and the New Yorker. Drop dead wonderful.

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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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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.

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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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