My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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great news = happy Beth in Mexico

Sunday morning of the long weekend, and the silence is deafening, except for the birds. Not a car or siren, not a streetcar, not even a voice, just birds. And yet if I hopped on my bike, I could be at the heart of the megalopolis’s shopping strip at Yonge and Bloor, or the financial district at King and Yonge, in ten minutes. I marvel.

Just bought marigolds, cucumbers, and lettuce from the corner to plant today. Yesterday, Nicole came to help with the massive job of cleaning out the shed, where things have been piled higglety-pigglety for years, and then the storage shelves in the basement. Exhausted and filthy after two hours, but much was done, very satisfying.

So tidy! For how long?

But before I rhapsodize again about the long weekend, I’d like to share some great news with you. In February 2020, I flew to Mexico to attend the San Miguel Writer’s Festival, less interested in specific workshops and seminars than in getting a feel for the event. I enjoyed it thoroughly — Mexico in February, what’s not to like? Let alone a lovely small town and a massive international gathering of writers. I thought to myself, Self, I thought, you could teach here.

And then Covid hit, so in 2021 the conference went online. In 2022, I applied, a lengthy time-consuming process, and was turned down, though with a nice note saying they liked my application, had too many returning teachers that year, I should apply again. I didn’t the next year but with a big sigh went through the rigamarole of applying for 2025.

Yesterday I opened an email from a name I didn’t recognize. It began:

Dear Beth Kaplan,

Congratulations! It is my pleasure to invite you to join our distinguished faculty for the 2025 San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival. This year, we received an unprecedented 375 high-quality and impressive faculty applications, from which your submission has been selected by an eight-member committee.

I stared at it, couldn’t take it in. Wait — I’m in? Someone said yes? I felt like Sally Field — they like me, they really like me! Especially because not long ago, a teaching job I really wanted and felt I deserved went to someone else.

So, a week or two in Mexico in February 2025. A 90-minute workshop taught at least 4 or 5 times: “Tackling Your Memoir: Seven Essential Steps to Courage and Craft.” I’m on it. That’s exactly what I spoke about at the Arts and Letters Club and the synagogue and will speak about again at a Toronto public library in a few weeks. It’s my thing, you could say.

Receiving that invitation was a huge lift and boost. And then a few minutes later two more emails came in, one from a former student and the second from a stranger, about Midlife Solo, how they relate, how much this essay or that reminds them of their own lives.

My cup runneth. Etc. Especially because the lilac is still in full bloom.

Today, a long quiet Sunday, planting, errands, but right now, dancing with Nicky and her tribe on Zoom.

Since I’ve no other nice photos to share with you, I’ll post this lovely one that just popped up from 2014, at the launch of All My Loving. Eleanor, the best of the best. I will listen to Writers&Company today. I bet it’ll be Alice.

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2 Responses to “great news = happy Beth in Mexico”

  1. Theresa says:

    I can’t think of a nicer place to spend time in February, Beth. How lovely.

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    Yes, I agree, Theresa. And though I will be working, I imagine time lolling in the sun, thinking of the snowy wasteland back home. Except of course that last winter here we had hardly any snow. But still.

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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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