My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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having the great good fortune to live in Canada

First things first: the interview on writing memoir for the Globe went up this week. There are a few minor errors – Finding the Jewish Shakespeare is definitely not a memoir, for example – but it’s a nice article.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/article-why-so-many-retirees-are-writing-memoirs/

A tranquil, cloudy Canada Day. As you may know, I emigrated to this country from Manhattan at the age of three and a half months, with an American father and a British mother. Except when my mother’s sister Do lived here on and off, we never had family in Canada. Mum had no idea what to do with sweet potatoes; Dad didn’t understand Hallowe’en or polite Canadian reticence. 

All of us were profoundly grateful to live here for the rest of our lives.

I’ve never been more grateful than I am today, as we watch a fellow democracy, our neighbour, screech off the rails into demagoguery, authoritarianism, violence, and outright lunacy. Taking some of our citizens with it. 

My daughter does not celebrate Canada Day, because she carries close to her heart the horrendous injustices done to our Indigenous peoples and to all people of colour. There’s no question many reprehensible wrongs were done through the years, with no accountability. But there’s a powerful movement afoot now to make things right, more in the last few years than in all previous decades. Toronto’s police chief issued an apology recently for racist behaviour from the police force. The membership of the local Black Lives Matter responded by refusing to accept the apology. 

I asked myself, Does that help?

Our prime minister is a pretty boy who comes across as a lightweight, and yet under his government, through the destructive hurricane of the last few years, we’ve had a lot of progressive legislation and years of stability. We are one of the bastions of support for Ukraine and for reproductive rights. 

And it has been objectively proven that Canada had the second best response to Covid in the G10, after Japan – the second lowest rate of infection and death. Those screaming in the streets in Ottawa today might reflect on that, though of course reflecting is not what they do. 

I’m preparing to go to Monique’s cottage for a few days tomorrow, with Anne-Marie. Robin will be keeping the plant and plants going, watering and taking in the mail. I feel so rooted in this house, and this chair, that it’ll be good to rip myself out, even just for a few days, and next weekend, a few more days at Ruth’s cottage. No plans to travel, almost no plans at all – just sitting here, looking at the garden. I’ve had one raspberry so far, one pea. The lettuce has gone to seed, but within a few weeks, I’ll be feasting on tomatoes and cukes. Right now I hear the robins and the cardinal complaining about the empty feeder; I’m giving myself a birdseed break for the summer. 

If we lived elsewhere, my son would perhaps be in the army fighting a murderous invader. My daughter and I would be on the streets protesting draconian new laws. We could be praying for rain, or for vaccine shipments, or food, or peace. We have the incalculable luck to live in one of the most solid democracies on the planet. 

Today, for myself, I thank Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover, whose rightwing paranoia and persecution forced my socialist father to take a job in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1950.

Here’s the welcome rain. Happy Canada Day.

Loose Woman, bottom left, on a memoir bookshelf.

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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.

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.

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