My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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a moment of joyful calm

You’ll be glad to hear I’m my cheerful self again, more or less, despite the horrors of the world and my own turmoil. I’d expected a bit of postpartum slump but wasn’t prepared for how hard it hit. What’s it all about, Alfie? The book still is not that easy to find – not on Amazon, not in bookstores except for Ben McNally Books and the publisher Mosaic Press. But at least it’s available to order from there, and readers are I hope receiving their copies. I’m going in to Ben’s tomorrow for the second time to dedicate and sign books before they send them out.

It amazes me how long it takes people to read books. Once I find one I like, I usually just slam my way through. Friends who were at the launch are in some cases only a few pages in. Of course, I interpret that as them not enjoying the book, rather than their being busy.

I sent an excerpt from Midlife Solo, a piece about my dad, to his dear friend David Suzuki, and David wrote back, “Read it and wept. I loved Gordin who was always bigger than life to me, an inspiring man …” And Dad loved David. What a spectacular pair.

Most of my time is spent marketing these days – posting on social media, sending queries to podcasters and literary festivals, setting up speaking engagements. It’s a big job to try to let people know your book exists, and I’m not very good at it, but better this time than last. It’s simply necessary, that’s all, so get on with it and shut up.

Watched the Giller Prize awards on TV on Monday, feeling as usual like Cinderella watching fiction writers dancing at the ball. How I wish there were such an event for nonfiction. Are we and our books simply not as sexy and interesting? I don’t understand. But I’m very glad to see Canadian writing celebrated, although this year several of the writers, like Eleanor Catton and the winner Sarah Bernstein (with what sounds like a really difficult book), might have been born here but have lived elsewhere for a long time. The show itself was far better this year than last, despite protestors shouting about the bank sponsor of the event and Israel.

The days have been beautiful – crisp, yes, but sunny and mild for November. Sam came over today and we raked many piles of leaves and made a big stew together; he took a pot of it home. Cooking with my son – what a pleasure. In fact, I was awake last night, counting my many blessings, realizing that this is a wondrous plateau of calm, for once. The book is safely out, my kids and grandkids are okay, I think, my health is okay, I think, my friends’ health is okay, I hope, and my country is not at war or run, yet, by wannabe fascists. Does it get luckier than that? I take none of it for granted; we all know something is always coming down the pike. But right now, today, I feel I’ve climbed a mountain and am standing at the top, surveying a beautiful vista.

Hello out there! Hope you are well too.

Out for a walk, met my neighbour Joe’s little black dog Bessie and the most beautiful Japanese maple in the world.

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3 Responses to “a moment of joyful calm”

  1. Alan Millen says:

    Hi Beth … I just got back from two weeks in France (Paris, Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon, Marseille, Nice). We were with friends from Vancouver. So am I bit behind in my attention to your always interesting blog. I have just ordered your latest book, which I expect will be on its way to Zurich shortly. I hope that cheers you up! I would be thrilled to be your first European reader. While in Paris during the first three days of the trip, I made my customary visit to Père Lachaise. I don’t know how many times I’ve been there. Anyway, on this occasion I came across the tomb of French “chansonnier” Alain Bashung, which was covered in lipstick imprints left by adoring female fans (one assumes). I wondered to myself: What would Beth have to say about that? You crossed my mind a few times on this particular journey. I did a little do-si-do sur le Pont d’Avignon, the video of which generated much mirth amongst the folks back home. Cheers. Alan (new nom de plume: Alain).

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    Alain, how great that I accompanied you on your journey, especially as you went to some of my favourite places on earth. In fact, my friends from Provence and Montpellier are visiting Canada and will be here on Wednesday for a few days. Thank you for buying the book!

  3. Theresa says:

    Beth, I returned from Edmonton last night to find your book by the front door! I’m reading it already (came home with a bug so am in.my bed for at least today). These are such welcoming pieces and really nicely organized. Will write property when finished…

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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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