My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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hearing from friends

Peter Blais wrote yesterday. He and his partner Tom Alway run the Maritime Painted Saltbox in Nova Scotia, to display their bright, brilliant art. Peter was a terrific actor first; I’ve known him since 1967.

He wrote, “Just finished ‘Solo’ – what a wonderful read. Two sittings. Distracted as you know – painting pictures – tryin’ to pay the rent. Beth – it was so good. Even if I had never known you – these essays would have hit one nerve/ touchstone after another. About…..everything. Childhood, parents, siblings, careers, partners, kids and every other wonderful fucking catastrophe. Thanks for the laughs and a few tears and a couple of OMG’s.”

Thank you, dear friend. If I sell some more books, I’ll buy one of your paintings!

But the bad news: another dear old friend wrote that her daughter, a lithe healthy 43-year old with two small children, has had a stroke. We are waiting on tenterhooks to find out what’s next.

And more bad news, or odd news: a woman I’ve known since childhood unfriended me a long time ago, for reasons I can only guess. I went online today, curious to see what has become of her kids, who are the same age as mine. And found, to my astonishment, that they are rabid anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists; one posted a photo of himself at the trucker convoy in 2022, wrapped in a Canadian flag, with “freedom fighter” below. My friend and her husband were vaguely lefty, in the arts. How could they have raised two such angry men? Their posts are full of rage.

I blame Trump for everything; like Pandora he lifted the lid on human anger and grievance, self-pity, greed, prejudice, cruelty, and, yes, blind stupidity. Evil-doers around the world looked at him and thought, Look at that guy, breaking every law, stamping on every human decency and still powerful and popular — what am I waiting for? And not just the Putins and the Netanyahus, but young people like this woman’s sons. A friend informed me that in a recent poll, more Canadians under 35 supported Trump than Trudeau. It’s terrifying.

Okay, enough, it’s cold enough without terror in my heart. The good news is that yesterday, my son visited; he is rebuilding his life and has very little money right now, and I was able to give him thrifted treasures – a sweater, a wool jacket and an Eddie Bauer down vest – that cost a total of $20. Miraculous that they all fitted, considering that he’s six foot eight with very long arms. Plus it was garbage day and I saw what looked like a perfectly nice rug in a garbage bag next door. He took it home – and it fits perfectly in his little apartment. Dumpster diving with Mum, he calls it. Makes me proud.

Every other wonderful fucking catastrophe. Love it, Peter. Ain’t that life.

Tomorrow, a podcast interview with Lisa Lucca, and my home class reconvenes after our Xmas break. There’s life in these cold bones yet.

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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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