• Here’s the Story

    I wrote a book called The Forest for the Trees and it’s an advice book for writers. For four years, I blogged every day about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. Now, the most popular posts are gathered in Greatest Hits ( a work in progress) Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I've learned one thing about writers, it's this: we really are all alone. Love, Betsy
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I Love All the Things You Say and Do

Just want to mention that I spent four hours in Temple and forgot to atone. Spent the entire time thinking about writing, my writing, the writing of others, the cover of the NYT book review, a new client I shook hands with, the way my eyes feel most of the time which is dry and achy and sometimes slightly pulsing. The lady in front of me had a lace doily folded in the shape of a piece of pie and pinned to her head with a bobby pin. But it came loose and the pleats on the doily were hanging precariously off her head, the bobby pin also hanging on for dear life. Really, pray for my sins and pray for the dead with all that going on? Please, ladies, attend to your doilies! I beg of you.

What distracts you from yourself?

31 Responses

  1. Women distract me from myself. As ambitious and self-aware as I tend to be, I love women. They’re wonderful creatures, tenacious and hard-as-nails, fragile and giving, mean and honest. I can’t compete with that, and yet I adore it.

    P.s.– If I didn’t already have an agent I would totally want you as one, Betsy, because I’ve been reading your posts in secret for more than a year and I love your vulnerability and honesty and the questions you present.

  2. This reminds me of my childhood when I was forced to go to church wearing little white gloves and a Kresges’ hat with a too-tight elastic band that made my neck itch. What distracted me from the boredom and discomfort was the lady in the pew in front of me wearing her fox stole with its glass eyes and leather nose.

  3. For years, a friend of mine has used the expression “going off on a doily” to refer to getting all het up over some small detail. Back in college, she was asked to dinner at the campus diner by a fellow who got bent out of shape over his taco bowl’s being incongruously served on a doily. Their courtship did not end well. While I wouldn’t exactly describe you as having “gone off on a doily,” I am sorry to hear that doilies are still proving such impediments to the holiest pursuits of life.

  4. I’m having a full-blown anxiety attack over my rapidly-approaching deadline, so of course, what’s distracting me is the court case in Canada over Darwin the monkey, found wandering in baby clothes outside an IKEA.

    Best quote from the decision: “(Case Law) states that the nature of an animal, rather than how it is treated, determines whether it is wild. The monkey lived in Ms. Nakhuda’s house. He wore clothing. For a time, he slept in Ms. Nakhuda’s bed. These attempts at domestication were imposed on him.” — from Judge Valee’s decision

  5. “What distracts you from yourself?”

    Very little. I somehow almost always manage to bend the local universe around the solipsistic singularity lodged beyond the event horizon in the blackness of my soul. Pray for me.

    (See what I mean? Dios mio, pray for anything else!)

  6. Syria distracts me from myself. It feels like effing Hitler all over again.

  7. Averil’s book!

    It’s . . . I was going to say amazing, but it’s Averil’s and it’s absolutely believable that she’s written something as absorbing as this.

  8. What distracts you from yourself?

    Sadly nothing. It’s all about me you know, the world I mean. I live with my delusions, my sense of self and the disappointment that the honesty of the mirror and the calender betray me.

    I’m jealous, Sarah W got an ARC of Alice…the bitch ;)

  9. If that dame thinks a doily is going to get her on the good side of Jahwhe, she’s got another guess coming.

  10. Ina Garten. I just made her sopprasatta pastry and a sauce for light-flaky fish that’s to effing die for.

    So … well … food.

  11. Weed. Whiskey. Half a C note up my nose and wondering where the hell the other half is. Black Prarie’s song about Band member Richard Manuel.
    The end of a life, unpredictable and absent of grace.
    Changing colors of the leaves, a lone coyote on the prowl.

  12. Seems like a good place for holy:

  13. That’s the reason those prayers are repeated a hundredfold–to distract us from our own distractions. How the human brain swerveth! L’Shanah Tovah, Betsy.

  14. My friends.

    And I can neither confirm nor deny that I ate a BLT smack dab in the middle of the day on Yom Kippur. Not on purpose, it was just what I was hungry for.

  15. What distracts you from yourself?

    Sigh. The flippin’ internet.

  16. For some reason The Sound of Music music is playing in my head with this post. You know: doorbells and sleighbells and doilies with hat pins…

  17. Volunteerism is my distraction of choice. Why worry about a lack of a social life when there are so many organizations willing to occupy my every non-working moment with committee reports, fundraisers, meetings and, eventually, some task that actually Makes A Difference? But, my Saturdays spent restoring PT 305 – with the guys I fondly call ‘pirates’ – is the ultimate distraction. Quite nice to belong to a group of dedicated, Type A history buffs with an unselfish interest in preserving a piece of history.

  18. Seriously! Think of the children, for goodness sake. I once knew a boy who became paralyzed all along his left side when the metal tip of his best friend’s umbrella poked him in the eye. That’s the kind of suck that sucks forever.

    The words keep me from myself. I wish they came easier. Perhaps then I wouldn’t react in such dramatic ways.

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