My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Past Life the film, and the past lives in student books

Corn. And peaches. Peaches, corn, blueberries, raspberries. Lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, new pototoes. Peaches. It’s summer!!!!

I’m having sweet corn on the cob smeared with fresh lime with every supper, and just made a peach crumble to take to Ruth’s cottage. 8 peaches, from the basket I bought at the market Saturday. I saved the last one just to eat. After the corn.

Life is so leisurely, I feel guilty. I’m waiting for various things to arrive so am not starting a new writing project yet. Today was so stunning, warm and windy, even if I’d had a project, I’d have abandoned it. And yet, what did I do all day? No idea. But now it’s time to cook corn and eat my peach.

The other day, I ran into a former student, a refugee from South America who came to my class to learn to tell his story. His account of the long dangerous trek he took as a teenager to get to Canada riveted audiences at one of my So True reading events; someone read it for him, with him sitting beside her on stage, because his accent was then so heavy. He told me proudly he has just completed an MFA as a sculptor, and his thesis contains stories he wrote for class.

When I got home, I got out the box marked Student Work, full of published work, and stacked up the books. Isn’t that something! And that’s not all, from my decades as a story midwife. Proud of that. Today at the little market at the Farm I ran into another student from long ago, whose haunting story of the death of a young son has never left me. She’s a good writer and promised to get back to writing. I want more books for that pile.

Yesterday, a rainy holiday Monday, at the recommendation of Julia Zarankin whose suggestions I always take, I went to see Past Life. A gorgeous film that unfolds in its own time, took my breath away. Boy and girl best friends in Korea are separated at twelve when her family emigrates to Canada; she ends up a writer in New York, and they get in touch through the internet. The power of the bond is undeniable. But she’s in NYC and he’s in Seoul. She eventually marries, but he does and can not, and he comes to NYC to see her. So beautiful, painful, the longing, the loss, the love. The complexity of the human animal. A beautiful film, highly recommended. Thank you again, Julia.

It made me think of my mother, leaving England to set out for NYC herself, to see if things would work out with Private Gordin Kaplan. How brave. She left behind her faithful fiancé Len to whom she’d been engaged throughout the war. After my father’s death, decades later, they reconnected; he flew to Edmonton to stay with her, but it was not to be. Among other things, he smoked.

Where will I live if I have to move out of here? How will I survive if I can’t look out at the garden, or at least at A garden? As I look out now at mine, I find myself wondering.

However, wherever I live, in August I hope there will be peaches.



2 Responses to “Past Life the film, and the past lives in student books”

  1. Pat Butler says:

    Beth, it gives me real pleasure to recognize my book “Thanks for Leaving Me” in your large stack. You were an ideal coach and editor. You have “birthed” much writing expertise in non-writers!

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    It truly is my pleasure, Pat. Brava again on your book, and subsequent books!

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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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