• THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

    I wrote a book called THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. It's an advice book for writers, though it's more about what makes writers tick. 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. I post less frequently now, but hopefully with as much vitriol. Please join in!

    Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I’ve learned one thing about writers, it’s this: we really are all alone. Thanks for reading. Love, Betsy

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You are My Love and My Life

 

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I applied to four MFA programs. I was rejected by three. I wasn’t hopeful waiting for that fourth letter. In fact, I was morose. I remember going to the Second Avenue Deli by myself. The waiter looked at me and said, “It can’t be that bad.” On the walk home, I told myself that if I didn’t get in and stopped writing that it was on me. I couldn’t let a college tell me if I was a writer. I got in. I had a nervous breakdown. I finished. And never wrote another word of poetry. Good story?

What’s the point of this story?

Sealed With a Kiss

 

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It had to happen. Five a.m. roll call. Do you know where your keyboard is? People always ask me how I get it done, full time job and writing. I hear in their voice some astonishment and revulsion. I don’t blame them. I also hate people who are productive and smug. I once had breakfast with the then CEO of Random House and he told me he got up at four, read the WSJ, NYT, and Financial Times WHILE ON THE TREADMILL. His cuff links were gold skulls. How I do it is I get up at five. And I don’t look at email until 10:00. When I finally look at my email, I refer to is as breaking the seal when the voices and needs of my clients come rushing in and I put on my apron and fill the pockets with seed.

Faces Come Out of the Rain

 

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Where have I been? Where have you been? Who was that woman across the aisle certain she was on the wrong train? Did I help her? Did I help you? Yesterday the coffee cost less than today. I hate people who say live in the present. One day at a time. Forgive yourself.  I don’t ever want to talk about the weather. I don’t need to live life to its fullest. Half full is plenty for me. Is the next stop New Rochelle?

Where have you been?

My Everything

 

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I did a talk at a Bridge Club today. During the break,  a woman approached me when I went to get a cup of soda. She said, and I quote, “I could have written your book.” Of course, she meant that she related to it, but she kept saying that phrase, “I could have written your book.”

What should I have said?

Put It in the Ground Where the Flowers Grow

 

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There was a review of Philip Roth’s new collection of essays in the NYTBR over the weekend. It quoted Roth as saying something to effect that he was lucky because he didn’t care about happiness. First reaction: brilliant. Second reaction: DB. But I keep thinking about it. Does an artist care about happiness? Or more to the point, does caring about happiness diminish or embellish your ability to work? What is happiness, beyond Twinkies and sordid sexual encounters? Is caring about happiness related to caring about what other people think? Is happiness even a thing?

Do you care about happiness?

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

 

claire-danes-emmy-awards-in-los-angeles-09-18-2016-2I can’t post tonight because I am watching the Emmy’s. I am an award show junkie. I don’t care how long, stupid, or ridiculous they are: I love the stars, the speeches, the faces of the losers. I have been writing some version of my acceptance speech since 1972.

Who do you thank?

I’m the One That You Want

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GUYS!!! I’ve been blogging for like seven or eight years and WordPress made us an Editor’s Pick today. I have no idea what this means except that they probably ran out of people to pick, but I’ll take it. I also want to share that I like to eat pizza while walking outside, I like to watch men check out women on the street, I am never happier than when a pair of shoes actually fits me. I am not going anywhere. I drink fate-free, caffeine-free diet coke and not because anyone forces me. I for real love to play bridge. And this tiny little mole of a nod to the blog made my day.

What makes your day?