• 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
  • Archives

Just Remember What I TOld You the Day I Set YOu FRee


There is so much going on. I can feel it. Some vegetables in my garden are getting their boots on. In a half-remembered dream a steering wheel came off in my hands, turned to dirt. I am jacked up on popcorn and diet Sunkist. I play on-line Bridge with strangers in the night. I can feel the pockets of desperation in the air. I can see the cinderblocks and hospital gowns. THe knotty pines and nighttime eye patch. I got invited to a party via Facebook! I read a rant by a man who won a prize. The trees are the color of peaches. The new Adele song dropped. Nothing at the Mini Cine. Did my nails with “Just in Case.”

Are you writing?

You’d Be a Wing In Heaven Blue

Sending huge congratulations to my great friend and mentor Patti Smith on the launch of her new book, M Train. I was on my striped couch when I read the first pages five years ago and knew something extraordinary was happening. There were twenty pages at the time and I’ve had the privilege of a ringside seat to the creation of this masterful work. Hopeful, melancholic, funny, elegiac, canny, frail, sturdy and sublime, M train is a map to an artist’s obsessions and passions including coffee, detective, shows, the graves of iconic poets and writers, the sea, the sky, the pen.

What was or is your favorite cafe to write in?

THe Tears of a Clown

Question: The last book that made you cry?

Salman Rushdie: I don’t cry when I read, really, though I did cry once while writing the death scene of a character I loved in “Shalimar the Clown.”

I just can’t say anything. But here’s what I’m thinking: Really? You’ve never spilled a tear over someone else’s writing besides your own? A chin quiver? A Sierra Mist? What about when Beth March dies? What about Tess of the D’Urbervilles? What about Jenny Cavalleri?

What books have you bawled over? Four hanky reads? Watcha got?

Got A Wife and Kids in Baltimore, Jack

Dear David Simon: I’ve asked you once and I’ll ask again: Will you marry me?  I finished Season Five tonight. Apart from the fact that I’m still not exactly sure who Marlo Stanfield was, that was the best ride since the Soaps. The Wire, for all its violence, is incredibly character driven. I’m going to miss the gang, the look, the tone, the pacing, the story telling. And the dialogue! Great fucking dialogue: And I quote, “You’re a cunt hair away from an indictment.”

What should I binge-watch next?

Find Out What It Means to Me



Thanks for the years of great comments, of great spirit, and support of all the writers who hang out here.

Everyone, get a copy or two of Franny & Toby. NOW! Congrats Tetman. You rock!!! Love, Betsy

I Went Out for a While and I Never Came Back

Writing a book is like finding a new lover. It woos you, loves you, fucks you, then leaves you. Dearest darling readers of this blog: I did it. I finished my book. I finished the fucker. It was due today and I turned it in today. 91,000 words cracked out of the sky, the tree, the branch, the twig. Am I stoned? Am I dead? Am I run over by a truck? Am I a cat, a bat, an owl, a toad? Every morning at 5:00, 5:30, I glimpsed myself in the window, a shadow, a golem, a cup of coffee. Does my nightgown smell like oatmeal? Who highlighted these transcripts in yellow? How many years did I wait for this? How many before I find another?

Fess up: did you write or did you play with your food?

I’ll Send You All My Love Every Day In a Letter

When everyone is going to the beach, kayaking on the lake, playing croquet on the lawn, I expect all of you to be sweating your balls off at your desk every day for at least, at least, two hours. Get up at five, make a pot of coffee and hit it. Turn off your email. Turn off your internet. Get a pad to note the things you need to look up. Do not come here because that’s what I’m doing for the month. I’m finishing a new book and I’m putting blinders on. I’m not going to Lena’s for lunch with my friends, I’m not weeding, I’m not smoking weed, I’m not going to UPS, the cleaner, or Walgreens for a shopping spree. My office is beginning to smell. The garbage can is a sculpture worthy of the Whitney. There are piles of paper everywhere and I can put my finger on any notebook and find what I’m looking for and be surprised at the same time. I’ve been writing since I was eight. This is the first time I feel vaguely confident. And for that I am reasonably certain that god will strike me dead.

Whenever you like, check in here and tell us about your progress or lack. Just keep writing and I’ll be back Sept. 1. Thanks to all you old friends for stopping in again. xo, Betsy


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