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Covid slump, Hitchens heights, and a big fat yes

Anna managed to squeeze in a call to me as her boys skated in High Park today. She was near tears, my poor beloved daughter. It’s overwhelming; because our premier and his team are lying incompetents, she’s sure Ontario schools are unsafe, so she’s off work, at home with two hyperactive boys during a bitter winter. My heart goes out to her. 

What’s the solution? She’s trying to find a student to come over after school and take them outside for a few hours, a day or two a week. My in-laws used to talk about “getting the stink blown off you.” And that’s what Anna needs someone to do for her boys. May she find someone to de-stink her boys and save her sanity. I hope to take them for at least part of Sunday to give her a break. But I cannot take them for a full day on my own; they’re too much for me. 

She almost wept again, talking of the latest discovery of the graves of dead children outside a residential school. If you want to watch an evisceration of the Catholic church and its vile apologists, its many centuries of abuse and violence, watch the brilliantly eloquent Christopher Hitchens have at it. Inspiring.

I know, four of my very best friends are practicing Catholics. They are the good Catholics, and there are many. But overall, as Hitchens details, the church has been such a force for evil. In fact, at the moment in the world, most religions are. Islam? Christianity? Insanely murderous. How did religion get co-opted by violent intolerant murderous self-righteous lunatics?

Sorry. Feeling angry today. A convoy of anti-vax truckers is wreaking havoc in our country, as if there isn’t enough going on. A nightmarish pissing contest between the disgusting Putin and the rest of the world. The ongoing stalemate in the US – what kind of political system is that? Paralysis. And it’s @# cold out there. 

Sam is better. He should be non-contagious by the weekend, so I hope we can see each other. 

Last night’s pleasure – the wonderful Henry Louis Gates and Finding Your Roots. Show runner Pamela Adlon, whose heritage is like mine, an English mother and a Jewish-American father, discovered on one hand that the man she thought was her grandfather was not biologically related to her, and when Gates’s team found her actual biological grandfather, they also found a half-sister to her mother who’s anxious to meet her new relatives. And then the team discovered that a great-grandfather had abandoned his wife and five children in Germany to run off to the States with his neighbour’s daughter, 22 years younger, and then a whole branch of the Jewish family tree she knew nothing about, murdered by the Nazis in Ukraine. 

Fascinating, powerful stuff.

Meanwhile, I’m working on my own family tree. Tomorrow I talk to the editor who’s read the essay collection, to find out what she thinks. Today I was working on the story of my uncle the world bridge champion. Sitting sitting sitting at the desk – heaven. Grateful, as I’ve said before, that at this time on the planet I do not have old people to worry about. I worry about my children, though. 

Just as I was signing off, I got an email about a 3100 word essay sent at the end of December to an American online mag called Full Grown People. Somebody’s actually reading! Somebody said yes only 3 weeks later. 

Dear Beth, Thanks so much for sending this to Full Grown People. I’d love to accept it.

Thank you, nice new editor. 

Through the years I’ve submitted 17 times to various sites on Submittable, to be declined 15 times, including this very essay four times before. It was sent to the Canadian lit mag Brick in September; no reply. It’s another story that matters deeply and that I’ve worked on for years. They pay $50 US. Grateful, as I’ve said before, that I do this merely for the fame and glory, and not for the money.



2 Responses to “Covid slump, Hitchens heights, and a big fat yes”

  1. theresa says:

    Very good news about your essay, Beth. I look forward to reading it! And I hope your son recovers soon. Stay safe.

  2. beth says:

    Thanks, Theresa. Much love from the frozen zone.

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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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