• 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 Felt All Flushed With Fever

 

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This is about being in the homestretch, seeing the end, the pieces falling into place, the yolk hitting the pan, the sizzle, your eyes ringed and dry, your fingernails bloody, your legs alligator handbags, pencil, pencil, pencil. You used to have eyebrows, you used to have friends, you used to answer your phone, you used to sleep. The last three pages, the last page, the last line of dialogue, the last touching image. Fuck all.

What’s it like finishing your project?

Good Times Never Seem So Good

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Spoiler alert: I continue to hate, including to hate the term, “spoiler alert.” I hate the barista at Starbucks near my office (and I hate the word barista). Every morning when I ask for decaf, she says, it will have to be a pour over the way the salesman at the shoe store used to squeeze my foot and say extra wide like it was my fault. I haven’t been blogging for a few reasons. I’ve been writing in my diary every day and that’s a time suck. I’ve weaned myself of late night television. I’ve been making a valiant effort to go to the gym. I can’t stop cleaning like in the old PMS days. And I’m lost.

Does the lord help those who help themselves? Spoiler alert:

Don’t Give Yourself Away

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Dearest Long Losts,

I hope everyone is in one piece, the holidays in the rear view. I’ve missed you!  I made one resolution even though it’s probably too difficult to accomplish, especially for me. I decided to stop hating with the caveat that I could still hate in my mind, I just won’t give voice to it. The idea being that if I don’t talk about the object of my hatred, it will dissipate. As a result, I don’t know what to blog about: unicorns, rainbows, marinated grilled chicken? Will my head explode if I keep this up? Will I turn into someone I like, and then what? Can a tiger change her spots?

What did you resolve?

Make Me an Angel

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I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year, though we are a magnificent group of unhappy, fucked up writers here. If the shoe fits, if the bee bites, if the netflix series you’re bingeing on is all out of episodes. If everything you write is a sestina about betrayal, if the novel you finished didn’t start, the screenplay you wrote for Julie Christie wound up in the hands of Heather Graham, if everything you didn’t believe in came true, if you found love lacking, the future past, if every time you open your mouth to sing a butterfly dies in the Pacific Northwest — what will you have, how will you live, when will you find the words to say it?

I love you all. Be safe. Write well. Love too much.

 

Let Me Hear You Say This Shit Is Bananas

 

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A lot of people ask me what I’m working on now, or if I’m writing. It’s an innocent question. Some people even say that they hope I’m working on something new. Most writers might take this as a compliment, and yet it calls up something in me that is not pretty. First, I suppress the desire to say, the fuck if I know. Or what the fuck do you care? Or are you fucking with me? Then I turn the tables: What the fuck are you working on? What is it any of your business? Why are you on planet earth? You don’t look good in plaid, and can you please fuck off and die.

What the fuck are you working on?

I’m Letting You Down Everyday

 

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On the way to work today: a black suede high heel boot folded over in the street, a pug in a shearling coat, a tiny girl in white, a pyramid of golden apples, a man sleeping on a handicap ramp, a hipster in a tight brown suit, a swarm of Citibikes, a father walking his son to school, holding his lunch box, a couple steps ahead.

Tell me about your morning.

 

 

 

Why Can’t You See This Boat is Sinking

 

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When you write about a room, what are the details that make their presence known? A white bowl with gold fish painted on the inside, a gray radiator, New Yorkers from the year one. Nesting tables missing one nest. Do you see them or make them up? To they enhance the story, magnify the themes or characters. A water bottle, a yoga mat, a dictionary stand, the Game of Life. Do you choose the details or do they choose you. That’s a trick question. You choose. Striped curtains of gold and red that fall to the floor and then some.

Is god in the details.