My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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The Colour of Ink

Lots of people have been writing to ask why I stopped blogging on June 21. Sorry, readers — that’s when the new website was uploaded, and though my blog subscribers were supposed to be migrated automatically to the new site, they weren’t. My tech helper is working on it, and I hope to have you all with me again soon. (Though you will only be able to read this after you are.)

Went to the Y for my usual class at 12.30 today, to hear that Tony who teaches Mondays had just called in sick and there was no staff to take over. Disconsolate —Ella had traveled 40 minutes to get there, there was a new guy who’d never been — we were all about to drift away when, like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, we said, Why don’t we wing it? The Y rustled up a tape and off we went, Jane, Ella, Lolita, Ed, John, the new guy, and me, taking turns leading a warm-up, some running, weights, mat work, cooldown. It turns out Ella, who weighs about 90 pounds, is as tough as Tony. “Ten more!” she cried as we did pushups and sit ups. A communal effort on a holiday Monday.

Also, I just heard from a beta reader, a magazine editor to whom I gave the manuscript of Midlife Solo, asking for feedback, especially criticism. She just wrote, “Beth! Your book is WONDERFUL. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’m not even halfway done. I am FILLED with admiration.”

So that also feels good. Very very good.

Speaking of good, I have a wonderful documentary to recommend: The Colour of Ink, directed by Brian D. Johnson. Such an unlikely subject, a soft-voiced Toronto man, Jason Logan, who gathers detritus and material from nature to make special inks that he sends to artists around the world. The camera follows to show us the artists at work. And what a variety of artists — a New Yorker cartoonist, a Japanese calligrapher whose brush is bigger than a mop, a Muslim artist who writes swirly black Arabic letters; a painter is mesmerizing as she meticulously draws thin lines, back and forth, over and over, in a lovely sky blue.  We celebrate the gloriously vivid colours of Mexico and the man who makes ink out of melted down guns — I mean, isn’t that the best, the pen is mightier etc.? As Ken Whyte writes in his newsletter,

Who knew?

The joy of nonfiction writing and documentary — a deep dive into a fascinating new world, to learn about something you’ve never thought about before. My relationship with ink will never be the same. A shorter version of the doc is available on the Documentary Channel, but the full-length film will be released in the fall on the NFB website and later on its Amazon portal. Bravo, Brian, for this gorgeous film. Highly recommended.

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2 Responses to “The Colour of Ink”

  1. Theresa says:

    Oh, I look forward to this documentary. I remember visiting the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin and spending a lot of time reading the information about the composition of the inks. They were beautiful, yes, but what amazed me was that the richly vivid colours have lasted so well over the centuries (book created in around 800 AD). We think we know so much but then we see what was known then and have we really improved our inks? Yes–and no…

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    What’s wonderful is that ink has such an ancient history and is still so vital. Not to mention octopi and squid, who knew about its value long before we did!

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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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