My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Free at last. Almost.

Finally! After waiting nearly two years, I just had a call from the U.S. consulate and now have an appointment in April to renounce my American citizenship. I have to go to Ottawa to do it. I lived for not even three months in the U.S. after my birth in NYC before we emigrated to Canada; though I’ve never since lived or worked there, I had to spend thousands of dollars in accountant’s fees to file five years back taxes and will have to hand over a money order for over $3000 to be released. The injustice and expense make me furious. But what a relief it will be to be free of that country. Yes, there are many marvellous Americans, all my remaining extended family live there and I love them, but ye gods, could a nation be more lunatic than that one right now? Listening to the countless Trump supporters is like being in an alternate reality, a Twilight Zone where black is white, up is down, and definitely, wrong is right. Get me out, asap.

Further to that, I’ve just deleted my Twitter account. I hung on despite Musk because there were some good people there, but these past few weeks, the site has been flooded with shocking quantities of garbage. The last straw: something came up that purported to be a video of passengers in one of the planes headed for the towers on 9/11. I moved past as quickly as possible once I realized what it was. Can you imagine watching such a thing, or posting it? The level of depravity. Gone!

What other poison should I rid myself of, while I’m at it? I do still listen to and read the news. Sigh.

On a more cheerful note, however, it’s so mild out, it’s like March, not January, so I rushed about on the bike doing errands. Yesterday, I was interviewed by Vancouver book podcaster Joe Planta, who’d read Midlife Solo thoroughly, asked the best questions, and said the nicest things. “Incredibly relatable,” he said. “It was like sitting with someone I’ve known for a long time.” We talked about the many people profiled in the book — Dorothy, Penny, Babs, Len, Bob, and others — how honoured and glad I am to bring them back, to introduce them to readers, though they’re no longer here.

Julia Zarankin, a wonderful writer herself, emailed today: “I’m reading your book slowly — savoring the essays and your voice. I appreciate your honesty and good humor! I adore your blog, & everything I love about your blog is in the book! Fun, thoughtful & such a testament to your resilience, empathy and capacity for reinvention.”

And Ruth Miller, another great writer: “There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t engaged in the story of your rich and eventful life, so beautifully told in your unique voice … Your honesty is a gift to your readers; you unpacked quite a few suitcases with feeling, candour and humour. There is no superficiality in your story-telling and all of it conveys lessons you have learned and shared with us so generously. We learn from your essays and recognize our own foibles and triumphs and regrets in many of them.”

So kind, such welcome words, thank you very, very much.

Yesterday evening, I watched On Broadway, a documentary about the Great White Way, that made me want to jump on a plane for New York (though I will certainly wait for my citizenship to be sorted first!) It made me think of my ex and I seeing Amadeus on New Year’s Eve 1981, I pregnant with Anna, not realizing we were watching the brilliant Ian McKellen as Salieri. The incredible Nicholas Nickleby that Ed and I flew in from Vancouver with 6-month-old Anna to see. The show was 8 1/2 hours long in two parts, and we had one ticket; I went to the first half while Ed stayed with Anna, then I rushed back with the ticket to my uncle’s where we were staying, and Ed cabbed down to take in the second half.

Joy. Many more wonderful times, and some not so wonderful, including going down for Ed’s own productions on Broadway which unfortunately did not last long.

And then I watched the end of Nature on PBS, showing a female chameleon laying her eggs and dying immediately afterwards, her skin a kaleidoscope as she died, electric, neon, vivid changing colours, an incredible miraculous thing.

Oh – and our beloved Jon Stewart is coming back to the Daily Show in February. We need you, Jon!

It’s an amazing world, my friends. It’s good to say yes. Yes to my first baking in years: lemon blueberry muffins with lemon glaze, a recipe from the NYT. Never too much lemon. MMMM.

And sometimes, it is also a very good thing to say NO. No more. Begone!

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4 Responses to “Free at last. Almost.”

  1. Juliet says:

    That’s very courageous of you, Beth, to renounce your American citizenship. Well, maybe ‘courageous’ isn’t the right word, but there is a word that escapes me right now.

    I wish to renounce my British citizenship but, frankly, can’t be bothered because of the paperwork involved (and cost).

    Bojo, Brexit, the British Conservative Party, the Windrush scandal, the Grenfell Tower fire and, most recently, the utterly shocking British Post Office scandal (google it) … I feel embarrassed to be a British passport holder.

    Good for you.

  2. Kevin barker says:

    Ye gods…
    Just read your parting shot at Bob Baker, formerly of Citadel, in The Globe. Good for you speaking up!

  3. Beth Kaplan says:

    Juliet, they gave me no choice, with their disgusting tax rules – who knows what else is coming down the pike? I have a friend in the same situation, born there but has not lived there for decades, who decided to “fly under the radar” and hope they don’t notice her. I didn’t want to live with that; they stopped me once going through customs with a Canadian passport. But as I said, it has cost thousands. Infuriating.

  4. Beth Kaplan says:

    Kevin, you must have read Loose Woman, with its scenes at the end of my doing a play with an actor and a director who seem to resemble those two. I had to change their names, unfortunately, since they went on making life miserable for countless people and making a great deal of money as they did so.

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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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