• 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 Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New

 

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I spent an hour in a B&N today. First, I check the poetry section. The sign of a really good bookstore, as far as I’m concerned, is the quality of their poetry section. I’m looking for breadth and depth. Then, I check if my clients’ books are in stock. Often I’ll photograph them and forward with a note. Sometimes, shelf-elf that I am, I move them to the front tables. And finally, I search for my three little fuckers.

What’s the first thing  you look for in a bookstore?

This Is Not Your Beautiful Wife

 

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Today, I walked by two guys. One said to the other, “Let me get this right, you have an LA nanny and a New York nanny. Who’s bougie now?”

The other guy said, “No, man, it’s not like that.”

What’s the best thing you’ve overheard lately? Do you use it in your dialogue?

Now I’m Wondering If Your Love’s Still Strong

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Found an abandoned diary, from a few years ago, abandoned after just a few pages. It started as many do, with a solemn promise to write every day. I don’t know why some diaries take and others don’t. Those few pages talked about wanting to write the Bridge Ladies book. Just my first thoughts about what it could be. That was mind blowing. The other pages were about an amazing conversation with my daughter, which I had totally forgotten. And which makes me sort of sad for failing to record so many more. I started a new diary a week ago, which is a dedicated project diary. I wonder how quickly I’ll forget all about it.

Do you love and leave your diaries, or are you loyal?

 

 

I Can See Clearly Now the Rain Is Gone

 

snow-leopard-cubs“He’s got a great nose for story, but he wouldn’t know a telling detail if it bit him in the ass.”  I heard a seasoned editor say that about a journalist over thirty years ago.  I never forgot it. I was just beginning to learn what telling details were, but what I wanted to know was whether the writer knew this about himself.  Or did he have a blind spot. Maybe he was more forest than trees. How do you know what your bad at?

What’s your blind spot?

 

My God What Have I Done

 

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Tomorrow, I’ve been invited to give a reading at a bridge club and then play bridge with the members. I don’t think any other author that I know of has ever had to prove themselves at card table. Like for three hours. The good news is that Bridge players really want to play more than hear me gas on, so the reading will be super brief. The downside is that my game isn’t all that good. Next, a woman making a documentary about Bridge is interviewing me before the whole thing gets going. I’ve always wanted to be a talking head.

Are you ready for your close-up?

 

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

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Guys! A package arrived today. Inside was a copy of The Bridge Ladies (UK edition, ahem) specially stamped with one of the world’s most illustrious booksellers logos: Shakespeare and Co, Paris. It was sent to me by one you incredibly beautiful mental patients who hang out here at The Lerner Institute for the Chemically Imbalanced. I don’t want to embarrass her, but since the envelope was thrown away before a return address could be procured, I have to publicly thank NOVEMBER. Thank you so much. And if anyone else wants to start sending gifts, don’t be shy.

What’s the best gift you ever received? Material gift.

 

 

 

The Trick You Said Was Never Play the Game Too Long

 

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I’ve been bingeing on Friday Night Lights this weekend (when I’m not reading Sophocles), and among the many things I love about it is how every single character is a great American stereotype, and yet they all feel very true to me. It’s almost like the more cliched they are, the more I believe in them (true blue quarterback, drunken hottie best friend, beautiful cheer leader they are both in love with, stalwart coach, loyal, supportive wife with the longest waviest red hair and good sense, painfully shy guy, painfully awkward guy, sexy girl flunking out, etc.) I’ve been able to predict how every story line was going to conclude, and I still cried at the end of every episode. My whole writing life, I’ve admired subtlety, nuance, ambiguity, grey area, etc. Why am I so in love with Tim Riggins?

Who is your favorite stereotype?