My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Thoughts on testosterone, and war

Winter has hit; almost overnight it’s really chilly, – 3 right now. I’m proud to say that yesterday I rode my bike across town to the Tarragon Theatre, over half an hour ride in the cold. I will do my best with warm clothes, but my cycling days will soon be drawing to a close for this year.

People are writing to me in frustration about not finding Midlife Solo on Amazon or at Indigo. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do about that, distribution and listing are up to the publisher, and I guess it just takes time. In the meantime, Ben McNally Books would be happy to ship you copies; I went in to sign and dedicate three this past week. Mosaic Press will ship too. And again, if you like the book, please review it on Goodreads or on your social media. Send me your thoughts, whether you like it or not. I’d love to hear from you.

On my bike ride yesterday, I went to visit my friend Gretchen, who a few months ago moved from a house in Cabbagetown to a condo in the Annex. I understand — she’s relieved she no longer has to shovel snow or garden or fix anything. And from the roof, she has a spectacular view down to the lake.

I myself am a barnacle stuck to a rock in Cabbagetown.

She lives two minutes from Tarragon, where we saw Morris Panych’s latest play, Withrow Park. It’s a good production with four great performances, especially the fabulous Corrine Koslo, one of my favourite actors ever, doing a brilliant job as a very funny eccentric. I was a huge fan of Morris’s Frankenstein at Stratford, but am less sure about this play, which was highly entertaining but I didn’t quite understand what it was getting at, except ruminations about midlife crises and being stuck and not knowing what your life has meant. But entertaining.

A great deal of my time these days goes to reading pundit accounts of what is happening in Israel and Gaza, trying to figure out a sane way to understand and deal. My daughter is as you know on the far left, so the situation is black and white for her, as it so often is. But it’s not, it is a hugely complex issue with no easy answers. Including a ceasefire. All I know is that what seem like the heedless and brutal actions of the Israeli army toward civilians, especially children, are creating a tsunami of antisemitism that will target Jews around the world. Once again. It is to weep.

I hate to use a cliché, but I think our world these days is afflicted, much more than a few years ago, with toxic masculinity. In a confusing, unsettled time of change, people want violent authoritarian strongmen — Trump, Orban, Putin — or vitriolic wannabe’s like Poilievre — to tell them what to do and think, who to blame and hate and target for their problems. And pathetic little men like Netanyahu lash out savagely to show how strong they are.

One of my favourite quotes is from the TV show Thirtysomething, many years ago. One of the characters said, “What the world needs is a good antidote to testosterone.” To be fair, testosterone drive and energy has given us countless wonders, like Beethoven’s music and Shakespeare’s plays and the paintings of great artists, scientific advances, world exploration, so much more. But testosterone also gives us continual havoc and war.

Okay. As I sit looking at the garden, yellow and red leaves are showering down like snow. They’ve given up the ghost. Since I do not live in a condo, there will be raking. But today is about cooking. My friends Lynn and Denis arrive on Wednesday to stay till Sunday. They are French, with French expectations. Much good food will be needed, which I will do my best to provide. Plus I have invited many of their old friends anxious to see them for lunch or dinner or apéritif. Food! Cheese! Wine!

Time to cook. And rake. And feed the birds. My view of the city:

Cheers to you all, on this bright, breezy Monday.



2 Responses to “Thoughts on testosterone, and war”

  1. Mita Patel says:

    I agree with you Beth, a lot of the problems in the world are caused by toxic masculinity, and also the feminine and masculine being out of balance within individuals. I’m starting to do some comedy around that topic!! Love the garden… so beautiful.

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    Mita, I look forward to hearing your comedy! There are lots of bulbs hiding in the garden, sleeping until spring. Something to look forward to.

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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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