• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
  • Archives

Tonight You’re Mine Completely

The great paradox of my life as an agent is that I am able to walk through fire for my clients while I can barely ask for anything for myself. 

I have clients who can’t ask for what they need. I try to fish them out of the water and pump their stomachs. I have some who love to ask in a roundabout way. And those who squall.

Does the ability to ask for something determine the chance of getting it? I always remember a line from Rocky Horror Picture Show (I know, again with the high-minded references) when Riff Raff says he wants nothing and Dr. Frank-N-Furter lashes back, “and you shall receive it — in abundance.”

The writer’s life is a limitless series of frustrations. The only thing you have control over is the actual writing. Every other step of the process demands that you ask for something. Will you be my agent? Will you publish my book? Will you blurb my book? Will you review my book? Will you Tweet my book? Will you come to my reading? Will you buy it? Will you read it? Will you like it? Will you fuck it? And most important, will you still love me tomorrow? Is it any wonder we’re all a bunch of nutters?

11 Responses

  1. Betsy, if I haven’t said it before:

    “You Light Up My Life.”

    Thanks for the daily illumination.


  2. No. No, it really isn’t any wonder at all.

  3. Nutters, yes, but it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane.

  4. Come up to the lab, and see what’s on the slab … my book.

  5. New biogrpahies out, re Cheever, Carver, etc. all drunks, all works highly edited, died early and drank like sharks after the flesh of their agents, who were really editors at that time. And the suicides of many women writers, like Plath. I could go on. Yes, writers are nutters, we drink or we take prozac or whatever and every morning we wake up from a day of rejections and start all over again. It’s masochistic, if anything. To let someone else, many elses, control our lives…sometimes I feel like a woman in an abusive relationship and I can’t get out. Their are no safehouses for depressed and anxiety-ridden writers. We are on our own….no one calls, no one emails, each day is a look into the abyss and we, the Gorky-insane, jump right in.
    Recently read an interview with one of my favorite writers today- Edward P. Jones…and he hasn;t written a word in four years. He looked sad and he could not explain why to the interviewer…here a writer who won just abut every award except the Nobel Prize. And he’s sad. Falukner was so sad he drank like there was no tomorrow….and there wasn’t, he died at a young age (55?) after receiving the Nobel Prize. We must be careful what we wish for. Just don’t turn to writing a memoir just because it’s hot today….then you’ll lose your family for telling the truth of their lives.
    Sorry for the rant. I’ve just decided to take a break from writing for a while, refill my botttle of Prozac and pick up daughter at the airport for Thanksgiving and have a happy time. There are some things I never want to lose.

  6. There is a great book on how to negotiate called “Women Don’t Ask,” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. Its focus is on the ways women avoid asking for things like raises, good contracts, and so on, but really it’s for anyone who wants to learn how to stop negotiating from an abject position. It describes in very specific terms ways to conduct negotiations in a clean, fair manner.

    I first linked to your site through Maud Newton and I now read you every morning. I look forward to your new edition of “The Forest for the Trees.” Many thanks for your great site.

  7. This book I am going to get, not that I need it since I am a shark agent. But, who can’t learn a thing or two from time to time. Thank you for reading EVERY morning. You are obviously a person with great taste and a kick ass sense of humor.

  8. If I go to a therapist, I talk, I cry, I learn, then I pay.

    If I visit your blog, I listen (read), I laugh, I learn, then get on with my day.

    Thanks for the free healing words and humor.

  9. I get it. I know this is intended to be funny. I know everyone else here gets it too. Now, let’s talk about this “nutter” business.

    Hyperbole passes for truth among the credulous; that is its danger.

    Some writers do suffer from depression and the like, of course, but depressed people who are not writers outnumber writers handily. Writers, especially the famous ones, just get more press.

    Us regular folks have to get SWAT involved to get two column inches on the city page. Life is not fair.

    Contrariwise, many, many writers live out their days with the usual assortment of ups and downs. They have friends and family, and they are not insufferably melodramatic.

    In my experience, many hacks and poseurs assume the role of Tortured Artist because their Bart Simpson-shaped bong came to them in a vision and told them it was cooler that way. It doesn’t hurt that being all weepy and/or cynical gives them a great excuse not to write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: