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Happy 82nd birthday, Macca! Age is a feeling.

First, Happy 82nd Birthday to James Paul McCartney. Macca recently announced several major world tours, where he’ll perform in front of massive audiences for three hours without a break — some forty songs old and new, almost all of which he wrote. And he’s not just singing, but playing piano and many kinds of guitars. A phenomenon.

The weather turned on a dime, as it does. It was almost chilly for a few days, then really really hot. Now it’s cool, dark, and pouring. Good for the garden. And we can breathe. My AC, of course, is not working, but I rarely use it anyway.

On Saturday I went to Soulpepper Theatre to see Age is a Feeling, a one-woman show by Canadian actor Haley McGee. It has had rave reviews — a beautiful young woman telling the story, in the second person “you,” of a woman who ages from 25 to 90, when she dies. There were moments when I was moved, yes, like when she confronts the death of her mother and father. But I was surprised not to be MORE moved. It was entertaining; I’m glad I saw it. But truthfully, it didn’t leave me with much. I’m quite far along that journey myself. Maybe I wasn’t convinced that a thirty-something actress, even one with lots of talent and courage, has much to show me about aging.

More than from the show, I’m learning from my friend Janet, who’s visiting Toronto and has been living here this week. Janet is 85 and though her body has limits, her spirit is expansive. She notices everything. When we walk in my ‘hood, she points out things I’ve never noticed in all my decades here — look at that lamppost, isn’t it beautiful? My God, she says, peering through someone’s window, see how high the ceilings are in this house? Must be 15 feet at least!

Limitless enthusiasm for life — not a bad way to live, to age.

Sunday night we watched the usual PBS shows (Professor T, clever and amusing, but OMG Grantchester, get a life!) while I taped the Tonys to watch later, fast-forwarding through the ads. I’ve only seen a bit of it but oh how I love the theatre and its mercurial, crazy, honest, brilliant people! Though I gather Daniel Radcliffe won a Tony. I will never forgive him for his blithe condemnation of J.K. Rowling, the writer to whom he owes everything.

On Sunday, my new Substack went out, on trying to write about my meeting with Alice Neel over forty years after it happened — how to remember and recreate? Luckily — and this is the message — I’d taken notes.

Mon dieu, at 8.45 a.m. it’s a typhoon out there. I pity people trying to get to work, remembering once being caught in a thunderstorm on my way to a class at Ryerson, and having to teach for two and a half hours in wet pants and shoes.

Finally, some pix for you: part of the garden from the kitchen door right now, in the rain; a cartoon that all writers can relate to; a fine sign; and a drawing Eli made for me a few years ago, that is the message of all my teaching and writing: How is it at your house?



3 Responses to “Happy 82nd birthday, Macca! Age is a feeling.”

  1. Chris Loranger says:

    Beth I love you but shame on you for crediting all of Daniel Radcliff’s success to JK Rowling. You are smarter than that. First, she has nothing to do with his development of a prodigious talent. His parents shaped his values and development, the casting agent who recognised his talent, and all his teachers, coaches and mentors have also helped this very talented young man succeed. You can be very harsh in your judgements sometimes. JK Rowling could use her platform for good, but she chose to go after transgender people. She invited responses; Daniel’s was one of hundreds. Give the guy, a very talented young man who appears to be also a very generous spirit, a break. Your forever pal, Chris. XO

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    Clo, the fact that you think J.K. Rowling “went after transgender people” shows that we are far apart on this controversy. She started simply by pointing out that women born as women, and women who become women later in life, are different and should not automatically be treated as exactly the same, especially in spaces where women born as women want safety, i.e. battered women’s shelters and prisons. Some trans women were and are insisting the opposite. At the very start of all this, Radcliffe jumped in to condemn Rowling, she a woman whose books are all about tolerance and care and support for the underdog and who has given a huge portion of her hard-earned fortune to underdog causes. It only took one high profile condemnation for millions of others to pile on, leading to years of death threats and cancellations for her – including an anniversary special about Harry Potter in which she hardly appeared. So then, yes, she got angry and began to overstate her case. Radcliffe is undoubtedly nice; he’s a talented man among many. He might eventually have emerged from the pack, or he might not. But becoming a superstar in Harry Potter at a young age definitely gave him all the edge he needed. To have so little gratitude to her, to have mischaracterized her as a hateful bigot, is unforgivable in my books.

  3. Trevor says:

    Happy Birthday Sir Paul!

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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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