My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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in which she boasts about public speaking

There are times, a few times, when I’m deeply grateful for my past and training as an actress, and yesterday was one of them. There are actors who say they can’t give speeches or talks, because they’re good at being other people but not themselves. I’m not one of them. I am good at being myself, and I seem to be good at giving talks.

My thirty years as a teacher have helped, certainly, and the chats at the end at my reading event So True. Yesterday, for my talk on memoir at the Arts and Letters Club, I was worried about my voice, since I still have this vile bug that’s clogging my chest and lungs. And I wanted the talk to be spontaneous but also to know exactly what I needed to say. So as usual, I wrote out the speech mostly with bullet points that could get me back on track if I got lost, and I had strong cough syrup before leaving and took a thermos of tea with honey with me.

And when I found myself standing behind the podium, in a gorgeous room in a building built in 1891, facing a crowd of over 60 artistic types, I was ready, I’d rehearsed the talk a few times, and it all flowed. The voice was fine, as I knew it would be. I’m a trouper, trained to be one. Actors don’t have the right to be sick. Or to show nerves.

I’d brought a bunch of books to sell, a few of each of my five, and they all sold. Two people asked me for editorial help. And they gave me a three-month free membership in the club, so I’ll be able to go back. It’s an oasis of dignity and calm celebrating art of all kinds, half a block from the madness of Yonge Street. Miraculous, really. Grateful.

Speaking of miraculous, this review of Midlife Solo appeared on Goodreads:

This is a fabulous book. These essays about love, loss and life are page-turning jewels. I’m not a nonfiction reader, but Kaplan’s essays held the same spell for me as an Alice Munro short story. She has a way of shining light on a small detail that casts a warm glow on other elements around it. Like a Vermeer painting each essay draws you into an intimacy with the different people in her life. I didn’t want it to end. Highly recommended.

Yes, it’s by Lynn in France, one of my dearest friends, and she got a little carried away perhaps – jewels, Alice Munro, Vermeer. If only! But still, she’s a critical French academic who would never say something she didn’t mostly mean. What lovely lovely words. Thank you so, ma belle.

And a student wrote, after receiving praise for her writing, You just made my week. I am so enjoying your class. It replenishes my soul.

Does it get better than that?

And now to get ready for Anna’s call so I can read to the boys over the phone. We finished Dogsong, about Inuit life, terrific if a bit too full of hunting for me, and have just started Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Rowling is such a good writer, so vivid, immediately grabbing young readers. And old readers too.

The main reason to have children is so you get to read to them, and eventually to their children too. A reward for surviving it all.

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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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Coming soon

A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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