My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

The essay book goes out

The New Quarterly asked for a short blog post about writing the Neel essay; it went up today.

And on Feb. 10, an interview about writing memoir will go live. Letting you know so the excitement builds. I know you CAN’T WAIT! 

Still Snowland out there, and now because the temperature has gone down, the sidewalks are sheets of ice. O Canada.

The big thing to tell is that I emailed a draft of the essay book to my editor today. On Tuesday we had a great Zoom meeting for the first time, editor Ellie Barton in Kingston and I, discussing what the project might entail. I thought it would take longer to get it together, but after days of sitting and sitting and sitting, I just sent it to her. 53 essays, 58,000 words. Maybe not worth the effort. We’ll see. 

I need to move my body but have just had dinner and much wine, and soon it’s Bleak House. So another day of, as the Jews says, sitzfleisch – sitting meat. Last night my eyes ached from so much screen time. But tomorrow I’m going across town to see the boys; it’ll be sunny but minus 12, so my fleisch will not be sitting. Sam has just contracted Covid and has a terrible headache, so I’ll be bringing freshly made stew and soup to my poor son who’s in desperate need of food. As Anna said, how many women do we know who contracted Covid and had nothing in the fridge? None! Men! 

Last night, the Toronto Public Library sponsored an interview with the writer and intellectual Lydia Davis. Normally I wouldn’t have watched; she’s obtuse and not of much interest to me. A writer friend wrote a poem called “I hate Lydia Davis.” But Lynn in France is studying her, so I watched and took detailed notes for Lynn, who in any case was able to watch the interview today. I was impressed at this beautifully run event with a terrific interviewer. Davis spoke at the end about how much she cares about libraries. Me too, Lydia. I was at my local today.

It’s odd, I’ve spent the past weeks with my younger self, the writer of the essays, a single mother of teenagers gearing up for them to leave home. As I sit here in the silent tranquillity of my kitchen, it seems eons ago, the constant activity, the noise, the pressure and tension of two difficult teens. It’s hard enough to parent teenagers, but doing it alone is brutal. I wish I’d been stronger. 

All right, no more regrets and recrimination, soon it’ll be time for Bleak House by the fire. WeTransfer just let me know that Ellie has downloaded the document. What a grand life of adventure! Stay tuned. 



2 Responses to “The essay book goes out”

  1. Trevor says:

    Love the Abbey Road with snow shovels pic – thanks!

  2. beth says:

    So much snow here, Trevor – we had a record-breaking fall last week. You have to be tough to be Canadian.

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.