• 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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I’m So Tired of Being Alone

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I went to hear a movie producer give a talk and he made the point that you have to have a lot of ideas. You can’t be clinging to your one script for life. Imagine, he said, if you found yourself next to Steven Spielberg at a cocktail party and he asked what you were working on. You pitched your script. He didn’t like it and said, “what else you got?” And you got nothing. I know books aren’t movie pitches, but I still think it’s really healthy to always be evolving ideas, taking notes, clipping articles, recording dialogue. Keep a list of ideas. They won’t bite.

How many ideas are you working on?

It’s So Typical of Me to Talk about Myself

Dear Friends of this blog. Under the category of better late than how did I possibly fail to mention the publication of a novel by our very beloved and brilliant Donna Everhart?Please join me in congratulating her on the publication of The Education of Dixie Dupree. Better yet, support the author and buy a copy.

Let’s try something new in the comments. Let’s see if we can do a live(ish) Q&A. Leave a question for Donna and hopefully she’ll answer.

Don’t You Remember You Told Me You Loved Me Baby

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I started a new diary today. The chances of abandonment are high. I’m not sure why, but they either don’t yield, or they get all fuck all in my face. For every filled diary I have, there are two or three with just a few sentences that never took stuck on some lower shelf or thrown away, abandoned. Sometimes the diaries themselves are too thick, too thin. Sometimes it’s the spaces between the lines. More often, I hate how the first few lines or pages sound. To coy or cute or resolute. You can really strike the wrong note and set the whole thing off to the wrong start. That’s part of the insanity, it’s only for your eyes and yet you seem to care. Funny that.

Do you keep a diary?

Song As Old a Rhyme

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It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone who regularly checks in for a little bile, but I’m a big lover of Beauty and the Beast. Big. Saw it today with about 300 screaming children at a Florida mall and loved every Disnified moment. Both a little scared, neither one prepared…I also really love parades, the dinkier the better, and small children wear ing glasses, and mutts.

What do you have a soft spot for?

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

 

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Lately, my inner monologue has gone completely out of control. I feel like Joan River’s aborted daughter. It’s like any positive thing I hear, I flip it, or gut it, or demean and diminish it. I’m no stranger to the negative thrum, to the mind’s dark pockets. Only now it’s so much eyeliner and torn hose. How are you? It’s been ages! Can you believe how cold it is? Ask your doctor about Lyrica.

What’s the worst thought you had today.

 

Everyone Knew Her as Nancy

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There was an article in the paper today about the 50th anniversary of The Outsiders. I had no idea that S.E. Hinton was sixteen when she wrote it after failing a creative writing class. I would like to point out for the record that I flunked out of my first year of film school at NYU. And then at Columbia, doing a poetry MFA, I had to take a six month “leave of absence.” Flunking never feels good, but it’s often a catalyst for, oh fuck it, flunking sucks.

What’s your best failure?

When I Found Out Yesterday

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Do you read book reviews? The NYTBR, People, The Nation, The TLS, The New York Review, USA Today, The Atlantic, the New Yorker? Do you read your hometown paper, The New Haven Register, the Hartford Courant, the SF Chronicle, the WASHINGTON POST, etc. The blogs? THe Awl, The Millions, Slate, Paris Review, etc. WHERE Do you find out about books and WHO do you believe?