My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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The Nature of Love

Amazing! I did my DNA some years ago, to no surprise, well, one small one — 50% Ashkenazi Jewish, 42% British Isles, 2% Northern Germany and 6% Norwegian — that’s the surprise. Oh those rapacious Vikings! My Jewish family are from Ukraine, as most Jews from that part of the world were — had to be. But they just sent me a new breakdown, not just British Isles but exactly where. And my British ancestors all come from around … drum roll … LIVERPOOL!

Yes! The Beatles are distant relatives! No wonder I have loved them all my life. We’re family.

How do they do that? How can a bit of spit in a test-tube tell them I’m 42% from around Liverpool? Phenomenal.

The audiobook is taking shape; I’m excited about it. The stories in Midlife Solo are so personal, I think hearing them in my voice will add. There are a few places where as I read, I was close to tears. We kept those bits in.

Last night I watched The Nature of Love, an excellent Quebecois film that had a great reception at Cannes. A 40-something philosophy teacher in a longterm, fading relationship has a passionate affair with the skilled handyman fixing the couple’s country place. They seem like kindred spirits, laughing and talking and incredible, overpowering sex. On the down side, there’s the painful breakup with her ex and the tentative encounters — her with his family and he with her friends, difficult because they’re from such disparate backgrounds — before the end. The performances and script are excellent.

I’m haunted by the film today, memories of my own love obsessions, how they devoured me body and soul, as they do the protagonist. Despite the tremendous payoff in emotional and sexual gratification, I am beyond grateful that I’m past that — that flinging away of autonomy, common sense, and dignity. (I hope. I assume. I’m pretty sure. But never say never.)

We human beings are strange creatures.

Speaking of which, I just had the teacher assessment from my winter beginner’s class. Most students were satisfied, some very much so, but there was one deeply unhappy student who complained that I tell too many stories from my own life. Sigh. As I wrote about the 94-year-old memoirist I recently talked to, who had so many stories, I thought we’d be talking forever, we aged storytellers do tend to go on. What do you want — there are a lot of stories in there! But I have to say, it’s the first time in my 30 years of teaching that any student has complained about that.

Funny, all the praise through the years feels good, but the one comment that will stick in my skin forever is this one.

Can’t win ’em all. C’est la vie. Etc.

Phooey.

PS I just went to donate two Midlife Solos to the Toronto Public Library system, since they have many on order and some holds and who knows when the books will actually appear. But they cannot accept donations for the system, only for sale.

The sun is shining. It’s cold, but the sun is shining, and Canada ranks at #15 on the World Happiness Scale. How lucky are we?

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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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