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You Get What You Need


Just saw Joy. Oy. This movie suffers from the fallacy that lightening can strike twice. That you can make magic instead of respecting the fact that magic happens. That you can put Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in a bottle, shake, and voila: movie magic. The worst part for me was when Joy, out of despair, cuts her own hair. Then, a few days later, it looks like Frederic Fekkai cut and blow dried it. Friends, I am familiar with self hair cutting. My first attempt was in the third grade when I tried bangs. The year resulted in my plastering down the too short pangs with a parade of barrettes. Now, with the equivalent of a toe nail scissors, I take to my own locks when I’m stressed. It starts as snipping and ends up Bellevue. I do this a lot when I’m writing. Picking, snipping, jerking off. I love writing.

Any corroboration?

My Dream It Lingered Near



Three years ago, I started working on a new book. It was going nowhere fast and my husband kept saying that I had to use my blog voice. My what? My sociopath voice? My whiney vaginey voice? My pitted, potted, sometimes besotted voice. My childlike wonder, my hemorrhoidal idyll, my knock knock give a dog a bone. Short story long: my new book is coming out in May, 2016. It wouldn’t exist if not for the four years of writing here, the incredible love and support from our merry band. Even the guy who said he wanted to kill me and Patti Smith with a pitchfork. You gave me the chance to develop my voice, and as we say in these parts, I finished the fucker. Will say more about it soon. Until then, THANK YOU dearest readers of this blog. Love, Betsy

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself



Carrie Mathison decides to go off her meds to get her mojo back. She’s figured out if she goes off her lithium, she’ll have a window during which the mania will kick in and with it her x-ray vision, super-human powers. I know it’s just television, but this is mental. What were they smoking in the writer’s room? This is my illness and it’s not user-friendly. Not that I haven’t been tempted.

Writers, stay on your meds. Okay?





How Bout Me Not Blaming You for Everything


I’m working on the acknowledgments to my new book. I’ve always felt that the acknowledgments are the closest thing to Oscar acceptance speeches that writers get. I’d like to thank my mother, my father, my therapist in Riverdale. I’d like to thank my left foot, Daniel Day Louis, Julia Louise Dreyfus, my hedge fund manager, my hedge hog, my cockapoo. I’d like to thank my pain. I’d like to thank all the people who didn’t believe in me. I’d like to thank the one man who opened a door for me at Grand Central. I’d like to thank my eye surgeon Dr. Craig Sklar. I’d like to thank the woman at his office who did my paperwork. I’d like to thank my personal assistant, my personal trainer, my personal planner, my personal pizza. But most of all I want to thank the Duplass Brothers.

Who do you thank?

Don’t You Remember You TOld Me You Loved Me Baby?

I’ve never believed in “best of” lists until now. Congratulations to George Hodgman and Patti Smith. Thank you Maureen Corrigan of NPR. Fucking A.

Bettyville: A Memoir

by George Hodgman

Hardcover, 278 pages

In Bettyville, George Hodgman, who had a major career in editing and publishing in New York City, writes of moving home to Paris, Missouri to care for his elderly mother, Betty, who’s never acknowledged that her son is gay. In the opening scene, Hodgman is roused by a fretful Betty in the middle of the night: “[h]ere she is, all ninety years of her, curlers in disarray, … peeking into our guest room where I have been mostly not sleeping. It is the last place in America with shag carpet. In it, I have discovered what I believe to be a toenail from high school.” Like Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Hodgman’s Bettyvillecaptures the exhaustion, sorrow and moments of absurdity involved in caring for elderly loved ones.

M Train

M Train

by Patti Smith

Hardcover, 253 pages

Unlike her first memoir, the now classic, Just Kids, which was all about the thrill of “becoming,” Patti Smith’s incantatory M Trainis mostly about the challenge of enduring erosion and discovering new passions (like detective fiction and a tumbledown cottage in Rockaway Beach, Queens). Smith, of course, is a “kid” no longer. She’s now 68 and she’s suffered a lot of losses, including the deaths of artist Robert Mapplethorpe, who was her partner in crime in the Just Kids years, and her husband, musician Fred “Sonic” Smith, who died suddenly in his 40s. “They are all stories now,” says Smith, thinking of these and other deaths. The narrative of M Train, fittingly, is fragmented and incantatory, more like Smith’s distinctive song lyrics. At bottom, though, both of Smith’s memoirs tell a haunting story about being sheltered and fed, in all senses, by New York City.

Yesterday Don’t Matter If It’s Gone

When I was a young girl, I was convinced that the Nazis were going to storm our house and take me away or kill us. My mother sat me down and explained the difference between rational and irrational fears. Since then my irrational fears have multiplied exponentially.

  1. I will be killed like the Clutters.
  2. I will be pushed in front a subway
  3. A crane will fall on my head
  4. I will choke on a turkey and bacon wrap
  5. A drunk driver will hit my car head on
  6. I will fall while crossing the street and get run over; manuscripts will spill out of my canvas tote and the pages will be taken up by the wind and scatter over Fifth Avenue like confetti.

What’s your irrational fear(s)?


p.s. two people haven’t claimed their copy of Calf. So please send me your address for your copy.



















Your Lights Are On, But You’re Not Home


I’ve been off diet soda for five days and if there’s a bed free at Silver Hill, I’ll take it. I almost broke down at the Krauser’s driving home from the train station yesterday. They have a reliable stock of Sunkist diet orange and a bucket of stale Bulls Eyes. The staler the better.

What’s your poison?


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