• 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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These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things

Alarming Increase in Ambien Emergencies

Tylenol PM, Advil PM, Benadryl, Melatonin, Tryptophan, Xanax, Ambien. Am I missing anything? It’s so hard to shut it down at night, but I’ve been working on my insomnia and trying to get seven hours of sleep. I feel so much better when I do and I’m less irritable. Though I think irritability is one of my better qualities. The worst thing about sleep aids (besides addiction and fuzzy head) is that I can never remember my dreams, though I often wake up screaming. The goal is shut it down and wake up at five, ready to write.

How do you sleep?

When You Believe In Things That You Don’t Understand

Image result for lace doily

I’m watching the world series and I’m thinking that we should all put war paint on our faces before we sit down at the keyboard. I’m thinking that we should cross ourselves and say a little prayer before writing. I’m thinking that chickens should be swung over our heads, sage burned, hair shaved, nails painted. The room should be pristine. The light slanted. Gregorian chants incanted in the distance. On the shelf and in this order: a monkey paw, three pink trolls, two blue pieces of sea glass, a framed four leaf clover, a lace doily stolen from Emily Dickinson’s house, a milky marble, a sand dollar, Robert Mapplethorpe’s rose pencil, a seashell from Colonsay, and a brass shoe.

Any writing superstitions?

 

You Are My Love and My Life, You Are My Inspiration

Cats Playbill - Opening Night

I went to a Broadway play today and the playbill had an interview with  a young actor who was quoted as saying that he chooses roles based on working with people he likes and parts that will help him grow. The fuck! I choose parts based on working with people who will hurt and humiliate me, and roles that will help me regress and fill my heart with self-loathing. I’d like to play a potato, Cordelia, or Carmella Soprano. I once read that Michael Caine would look at the first and last page of a script and if his name was on the first and last page, he would take the part.

How do you choose roles?

Rainy Days and Monday Always Get Me Down

Image result for mike and ikes dispenser

In truth, sunny days get me down. I love the rain. The sound, feel, light of a rain filled sky. I love to stay inside. I love to stay in my sweats. I love endless cups of coffee and baby carrots. I read for a living; why would I like sun? I don’t like the beach (except on overcast days), I don’t sail, ride, make sun salutations. I’m strictly an indoor girl. Favorite activity: going to the mall, hunting for bargains, getting Mike and Ike’s from the candy dispenser and going to a movie. Not even a good movie. I will see almost anything. I love trailers, too. The more the merrier. I pretend I’m both Siskell and Ebert and give both my thumbs a chance to praise or pass on a trailer.

Inside or outside?

I Can’t Make You Love Me

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I’m just going to say it: you have a to keep a journal or a diary if you call yourself a writer. You can’t count on memory. You can’t count on anyone to remember what kind of hat she wore or what you felt about Hart Crane. I know a writer who kept a day book during her thirties. On any given day, she can consult it and see if she had her period, if she had a crush, if she learned a new song, or found treasure in the form of a biker jacket with a paisley lining, You must take notes,on pads, placemats, notebooks, the inside of your palm. You must write and write and write and write. Your arms are branches, your lungs fill and empty, your eyeliner is flawless.

Do you feel me?

Is That You Baby, Or Just a Brilliant Disguise

Image result for thomas edison

Every now and then you have one of those days when BAM you have three new book ideas. Not saying they’re good ideas. Not even saying they’re actually ideas. In all likelihood, nothing more than a derivative half thought based on nothing more than a phrase or silent fart. Still, it’s better than walking around like the living dead, which is about as close an approximation of how I amble though my life. But today I had a whole flounder of ideas and we both know that I’m not going to write any of them, that come morning I won’t even remember them, but you can’t take away that popping feeling I had crossing Tower Parkway on the way to dinner.

What do you do with your brilliant ideas?

Hey There You With the Stars In Your Eyes

Image result for sally field you like me

Today, a client asked me why I like the Emmy’s. Get to know me. I live in a perpetual award show. Have you ever seen me in an elevator? I don’t just like award ceremonies, I am an award’s speech aficionado. I came of age during you like me you really like me era. I understand what it is to spend most of your life in therapy. To want love and greatness and appreciation and spotlight. Double-sided tape and jumbo shrimp. I want to congratulate all other nominees in the category. It is such an honor. 

Who are you going to thank?