• 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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The sound of a midnight train, wearing someone’s ring, someone calling your name (for H.G.)

A writer and a douche bag walk into a bar. Hi guys. Is anybody still out there? I miss you. I know a few writers whose mouths are filled with sand. This is the winter when five writers packed a lunch and hiked the foothills of Long Island. This is when a poem got unwritten. You are always in a mitten. This day started. A girl fell to her death from a building she didn’t know was there. I saw a play that seemed true. First you hear the sentence in your head. Then a girl steps up to the bar. You are easily awakened and fitful. A bowl of applesauce sounds awfully nice right now. Will the fiction writers please stand up. Will the choir do the preaching? One chapter a month. One page a day. One sentence in front of another. And then the sky goes dark and the lights come up and two girls in Speedos stand before lockers, talking trash.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

27 Responses

  1. i wish I wrote fiction.

    Your entries are beautiful.

  2. Practice until your fingertips bleed and your voice is raw.

    And then take a cab up 7th Ave, ’cause finding parking in Midtown’s a pain in the tuchus.

  3. Sure, we’re still out here. Fiction writer here, standing up. One page at a time. One. Page. At. A. Time. Ugh. Glad to see you in my Inbox.

  4. Wait, a writer and a douche bag are two different people? I always thought we were one and the same.

    One page at a time. Then rewritten, four times over.

    We miss you terribly. Thanks for throwing us this nice meaty bone.

    • And I was just thinking today – only Betsy would understand (about my Jewish family) – can’t believe, haven’t clicked on here for 2 days, and look what I missed.

  5. Oh, always so good, so odd, so true. Thanks for showing up, again & again.

  6. Hows it goin’, Betsy?

  7. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
    Is Carnegie Hall still there? Do people still pay to play? Too many toll booths at the door, high price of practice I guess.

    How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
    If YOU, of all people have to ask, we’re doomed.

    Lassie come home, we miss you terribly and need you to save us from ourselves.

  8. Still here. Parsing it out. One word at a time. Glad to hear from you.

  9. A fellow writer packed me a brown bag lunch, my name on the bag in green crayon. 6 a.m. A pink-red heart. White cheddar. Sliced apple.

  10. i before e except after c, but that doesn’t always hold true, although it works in words like friend or fiend. Get praise for a short story in 5th grade and go on to think you can really do it when what you write gets the attention you crave but are reluctant to ask for. Turn radical, at least until the chips are down, the wolves are at the door and the baby cries for more. Win some kind of award in college because people are intrigued by your experimentation at a time when Hunter Thompson takes excess to the extreme and coke heads and meth freaks are staying up all night for a month to write something they think will work like Burroughs, William S. Set out to find the truth on the open road, but wind up in love in a ten cent town along the river. Get dumped, hit the road again, find love in the land and write about it, but it doesn’t work, so you just write some more until before you know it you’re old but still writing and sooner or later maybe you’ll get there or else just walk on by and settle on the Carnegie Deli instead.

  11. Ah, Betsy and friends, how I’ve missed you, and how you all give me different strengths, thoughts, ideas, inspirations.

    I haven’t found the rumbline course to Carnegie, nor have I really sought it. But I’ve explored some fine places along the way, met good people and miscreants, and seen weather fair and foul. All I know is that between the dream and the deed lies the doldrums, the dead calm that steals your strength and empties the larder. Whistle up the wind, chant, curse, pray, watch for riffles and catspaws, but move, foot by foot, but move or languish.

    Not much writing for me in April, except in Elsie’s log, as we’ll be sailing most of it. I’m checking gear and getting ready to find some stuff that stories are made of.

    Stay well, friends.

    • Hey frank, I’m right there with ya, missin’ this school of misfits and malcontents.
      You stay well my friend, sail safe, long, low and in control just as much as ma-nature lets you. Kind words to the bride from the old lady that never made it to Mystic.
      Be well…and i mean that.

      • Ah, Carolynn, my friend, thank you. I’ll pass the kind words to Lola.

        She’ll sit this one out, though, as there may be more discomfort in this one than she’s willing to tolerate, a sure sign of her better judgement. This time, a small fleet – the largest 14 feet, mine 12- will loaf from Pensacola to Cedar Key, avoiding sand bars and finding some of the other kind. There’s a reunion of shipmates and other crazies at the end. It’ll be quite a party.

  12. There is no Carnegie Hall. There are only streets, traffic lights, misleading signposts, and roadkill.

    • Well, that and a few fabulous successes, who stage things we really want to hear. Inspiration. Aspiration. Having a bad day/chapter? This lot cares.

  13. Lucky for me I have never wanted to go to Carnegie Hall.

  14. Hey! Down in front!

  15. I put some whiskey in the pen and wrote. The words faded as they dried. If I sniff the paper I can smell them, just.

    I put the whiskey back in the bottle, took a shot of ink, and started again in blood dyed Sailor jentle black.

    It’s an honest effort at fiction:the crowning achievement of our lies.

    Welcome, liars. You are among friends.

    Buy at the bar, though. There’s a floating tab at this table and someone is going to get stuck with it at the end of the evening..

  16. I’d probably take the A train down to 59th Street and transfer there to the D, then take the D to Seventh Avenue. Or hell, if it’s a nice day, I might get out at 59th Street and walk Central Park South over to Seventh. Or if it’s raining and it’s getting dark and I was flush, I might catch a cab.

    The truth is, I never left you. I been here every day, every day, wonderin’ would you come out to play.

  17. I need a drink. Join me?

  18. Most often I prefer to hear someone else’s creative voice rather than my own!

  19. Under this cold Scandinavian sky, I feel warmed up with your words. Many thanks. (At these moments I only write notes about my long travel journey!)

  20. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal
    but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but
    I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions?
    Many thanks

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