It’s pouring rain and I’m sitting in my room, back from a lovely meeting with a friend, where we stood under the awning just outside her apartment building, avoiding the rain and opening the door for people as they first stopped to put on their masks before entering. She is a lady who is independent and fierce, clever and a little bit wild, and she inspires me with her simplicity and ability to always step back and see situations from a different perspective. Her black hair, even while tied back and snugged by the straps of her mask, flows loosely beneath her shoulders.

This afternoon I attended the zoom book launch of one of my old writing teachers, Beth Kaplan, whose memoir is titled Loose Woman. When I first read her blog post about her book, my jaw dropped! I had originally called my blog Diary of a Loose Woman and then later chickened out and changed it. Beth’s memoir is about her wild sex life in the 70’s (‘back when I had a sex life,’ she says), her love of all things Paul McCartney, and her experiences at L’Arche, an organization that creates homes and support networks for people who have intellectual disabilities.

One person on the call asked “What would Wayson have thought of your book had he been alive?”, a question that made her tear up. Wayson Choy (author of The Jade Peony) was a dear friend of hers that also was a mentor and always gave her lots of great writing advice.

Beth (who recently celebrated her 70th birthday) said that she knew that the title “Loose Woman” was controversial and had been getting questions about it. She said that the title more represented the term “Loose” as being free and wild in spirit rather in bed (although she appreciated the racy connotation). I had a similar idea of loose when I first thought of it; it made me think of Radha, the lover of Krishna, who was loose in spirit and also in her giving nature. The opposite of loose? Tight! A person who is tight hoards, hides, holds back. Fear holds tight; love lets loose.

Beth read a beautiful passage from the book, and talked about the secret of working hard and staying relaxed at the same time. The grace of being loose, she called it. Here is the book cover – I am definitely getting a copy!

She also read a touching Mary Oliver poem, but I can’t seem to remember what it was called. I just found this one, which is also gorgeous and rings so true.

What if we all just did it anyway?… stepped out into the morning and let it all loose… sang to the sky and let the raindrops race down our faces.

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