My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

The opera Carmen, George Saunders on empathy

First — Episode 3 of my podcast about writing memoir is up. I’d love to hear what you think. 

An embarrassment of riches. Last night, I was Eleanor’s guest at the opera: Bizet’s Carmen. Centre orchestra seats for this gorgeous opera, passion, obsession, drama, death, glorious music, huge cast. Rich rich rich.

  Got the streetcar there and walked the downtown streets: tents on the sidewalks, a woman flailing and screaming on an office building step, and then, inside the opera house, glittering lights, a woman in a ballgown, artists who’ve trained for decades to make spectacular sounds – the contrast is surreal and haunting. Life in the big city.

    And tonight, again – going to see an African dance troupe dance Pina Bausch’s choreography of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Talk about riches! 

    I’ve had lovely feedback for the Brevity essay. At the same time – here’s the Beth moan – when I told you about reading old posts for the next bound blog book and being horrified by all I’ve forgotten, I was also horrified by this: in October 2020 I wrote about opening a box of clippings about my father, being excited by what I found there, looking forward to the next book which would be about my parents.

    That was exactly two years ago, and I am no further ahead. Yes, my memoir was published in 2020 and a lot of time went into trying to get it noticed, without much success. And yes, this year I spent a lot of time re-editing and sending out an essay compilation, with no success at all. What I did in 2021, I have no idea. Guess I’ll have to check the blog and find out. 

    Lest I get too discouraged, am reading about the talented Rick Barton, an artist almost unknown in his lifetime. Bizet died before knowing how popular his work would be, and so did Barton. I intended to see the exhibit about him in NYC and regret I did not. If I were ever to try to draw, it would be like this.

    Read an article in the Guardian, “I used to be ashamed of being a fangirl. Now I see how joyous and creative it was.” She talks about her love for Lady Gaga, her friends’ for various boy bands, and her new appreciation of that time in her life. I got out my Sixties memoir, All My Loving, started to re-read for the first time in years, and am laughing out loud. I was an obsessive fangirl, channeling my love for the Beatles and Paul into stories about our life together, sagas that saved my life at a lonely, difficult time. I’m proud of this little book that delves into the mind and heart of a passionate 14-year-old fangirl. Moi.

    When it’s reprinted, I’m going to change the subtitle. Before, Coming of age with Paul McCartney in Paris, which is clunky. It will be Paul Beatle, Paris, and me. Better? 

    George Saunders has written a wonderful article about the power of empathy we feel when reading fiction. And George, may I add, as I always do, nonfiction and memoir.

    The garden is shutting down – but the anemones shine bright. As do artists, always. 




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.