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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Givin’ Yourself to Me Can Never Be Wrong

This is it, my last post until Monday, January 4, 2010.

As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.

Here’s my question, if I don’t believe in god, resolutions, or e-books, what do I have to look forward to in the new year? The answer, Nation, is writing. Writing. And writing. As far as I can tell it’s the only way out. I want to know on January 4, 2010, what you did, writing-wise, on your vacation (or few days off, I hope).

Did you finish your novel, start one? Did you get your query letters buffed and polished? Did you write a poem? Read a poem? Sublimate massive amounts of rage at those who rejected you this year and kept writing? Did you write a letter? On paper? Did you put a novel away? Did you write in your diary? Did you find the common thread in your story collection? Did you start therapy to deal with your  writer’s block?

Did find a title for your new project, and that title galvanized the whole thing in your mind? Did you write twenty new pages? Ten? Or did you throw out every page you wrote, but wtf, you knew you were getting somewhere, big picture-wise. Or you threw every page away and fell into a deep despair which seemed to have no end in sight? Or did you just jerk off, and by that I mean were you really good to yourself?

My goal is block out my new script with my collaborator. And figure out how to install the new Final Draft software. If it would help to pledge your writing goal here, go for it.

Please take good care. I miss you already.  Otherwise, happy and healthy new year. Let’s hope it doesn’t suck as much as this year. Love, Betsy

39 Responses

  1. “Sublimate massive amounts of rage at those who rejected you this year and kept writing?”

    Please try not to get personal. And January 4th? How’m I supposed to keep my shit together without your blog?

    Have a beautiful new year, and good luck with the blocking collaborator.

  2. Jeeze. Without your blog, everyday feels like a Sunday. A rainy, cold, Calvinist Sunday. But that’s OK, I’ll just sit in the dark until Jan. 4, taking dictation from the angels. That’s what writing is to me. What? Isn’t it like that for everyone?

    Happy New Year Betsy. Thanks for 2009.

  3. I’m tinkering with Ye Olde Manuscript, plotting a new chapter or two and mulling over the next project. High time to shed the oily skin of ’09 and move into the new year, breathing deep and clear.

  4. January 4th? Fuck that.

  5. I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.
    –Flannery O’Connor

    Revising and reading and thinking, thinking, thinking.

  6. My goal for 2010: Complete 10th draft of novel, submit to friends, revise again, submit to you.

  7. I too shall report at the end of my break, but so far during my writer’s retreat, less than a week ago I wrote over 25,000 words, not all of them of any merit, but an achievement nevertheless.

    It comes out of seven solid days of writing an no interruptions. Back home interruptions abound.

  8. My goal is to somehow stop myself from working on New Idea of Fun and Epic Excitement and finish Dreaded Long Edits on Old Novel. It must be done….

  9. Gonna miss you. Hope your break is productive and fun.

  10. I’m taking a break from all the hard work. Reading a popular bestseller and really enjoying it. I’ve got to do something entertaining if there are no more posts till Jan 4th!

    It’s always Daylight Savings Time here on Betsy’s blog. Is this intentional? Seems like there’s always an extra hour of sun over here. Great holiday, everyone.

  11. Last night in the wee hours, as I finished Chapter 22 of my memoir 14 years in the making, it suddenly occured to me that I’m moving closer to the cliff that will mark either my birth or death, that is, the finishing point. Or the vanishing point? It’s going to be monumental either way, but I’m finally ready for it. I have four people reading as I write (an editor, two men and a woman). They either like it a whole lot or love it, and have helped push me closer.

    Why am I telling you this? Probably because it feels surreal that I’m this old, still climbing the ladder of my writing, hoping to get to the top some day so I can rest for just a moment, and begin something new. Two years of therapy taught me that I must not keep this project in my lingerie drawer, where my plays have remained, any longer.

    My goal for 2010 is to send the book to you, Betsy. If you don’t like it, I’ll continue searching to find someone to be the kind of dream agent you describe in your book.

    Do they really exist in this day and age? It must be similar to the way my children wonder about Santa and his reindeer. I want to believe, but still, I wonder.

    • Hi Yolanda-
      Believe! Believe!
      This year I finished a novel that I started more than 14 years ago. And I just got an agent! Believe the people who like it a whole lot.
      And congrats on almost being done.

  12. Continue writing every day – if I stop I’m not sure I’d start again (it’s kind of like dieting, I guess), and, although I know the whole blogosphere is taking a hiatus, I’ve written ahead and put a couple posts in “draft” mode and will post them during my family vacation. Not that my tiny amount of readers would really notice it if I disappeared but I guess I would.

  13. My goal is to read and revise the remaining chapters of my novel by January 4th. They’re tweaks mostly, but it involves careful, aloud reading. I’ve asked my betas to have their comments to me by January 10th, so by then end of January I can query.

    Today and tomorrow are quiet days for me…maybe just the standard movie and Chinese food, but no hoopla to enjoy – or to interfere with my goal.

    Happy New Year, Betsy and to all your cool commenters!

  14. Betsy, I can’t believe I have gone this long without knowing you had this totally awesome blog. And what a perfect post!!!


  15. I didn’t know the creepy dude in the photo until I googled the quote. Which led me to Wikipedia. Which led me to seeing for the first time a plea on the Wikipedia site asking for donations. Anyone here tempted to give a donation to wikipedia? I didn’t but felt a little bit guilty like when I lapse in giving to public radio. I’m obviously going a bit off topic here at the suggestion of August.

    • Well, the cat’s away–you know what that means.

      I wasn’t tempted to donate before I read your comment, but I am now. 90% of what I know comes from Wikipedia (the other 10% from http://www.nastyhentai.com). Well, not so much tempted to donate as guilty that I won’t.

      How pathetic is is that I’m still checking the blog for new posts?

      • Good Lord! That’s a real site! I had no idea.

        Warning: The preceding porn is not August-approved or endorsed.

      • Not pathetic at all. I do it all the time. This speaks to Betsy’s previous entry but yesterday while running my fourth errand I wished I would’ve counted all the women I saw wearing tight jeans tucked into stylish boots. That one for me might be starting to approach the feeling Betsy gets when men take their iphones out of their pants.

      • I am pro-women-in-tight-jeans, they can wear kitten-fur for all I care. Well, as long as they stay away from Uggs. My wife is a life-long anti-uggite, and I seem to have internalize her prejudices.

        Today I am re-reading my MG humor draft, and finding it more sad than funny.

  16. Finished a draft of my next proposal, girlfriend. How you like me now?

  17. I’ll be working on a couple of blog posts and my list of best books of 2009 (read, not necessarily published this year). But then, I’m one of your non-writer readers.

  18. I’m using the holiday as a break from the querying cycle. I’ve only sent out a few on my novel, but I can tell it’s going to take a lot of mental effort to do this right. So I’m turing my brain off, enjoying my kids and my husband at home and my visitors and all the holiday food, and after January 4th I’ll turn myself back into a writer again.

  19. I’ve been taking a break from querying my novel due to the holidays and hearing that it’s a bad time to query- so I’d like to get some queries ready that need to be sent by snail mail so that when the holidays are over I can start querying right away.
    I like the idea of posting my new years writing resolution here- and mine is to keep working on my other novel regardless of wether the novel I’m querying finds an agent in 2010. And not to give up on querying the finished novel!

  20. I hate double-spacing manuscripts of early drafts for my agent. Deal with space-and-a-half, and save a tree.

  21. I bought “Forest” four or five years ago, skimmed it and it languished on my shelf. A few months ago I picked it up and I’ve been reading it slowly again, chapter by chapter. It’s just a wonderful book from so many angles. Sad to see I’m getting toward the end, I just looked for you online. And I see this wonderful post.

    Thanks for all your words!

  22. This cheese smells funny.

  23. So, when you said January 4th, you actually meant January 4th? That’s crap.

    • Yeah, who knew Betsy has such self-control?

      Not how I envisioned her. Apparently she’s a willowy blonde shiksa with an iron will. She probably says ‘to-mah-to.’

  24. 12 pages, give or take.

    joined a writing tutorial where i’m expected to produce 12 pages every two weeks. for the entire year. should have a novel in one year, right? or hospitalized with anxiety disorder NYD.

    what the fuck.

    wish me luck.

    • Good luck. 🙂 12 pages every two weeks shouldn’t be anxiety-producing unless you wait until day 13 to start them. (Which is,to be fair, what I would do… probably I’d do 24 pages once every four weeks, straddling the due-date marker.)

  25. I am kind of at a loss. I have a bunch of short stories, probably a books worth, but I am not sure if I ca function in a long format.

  26. I continued working on my novel. I have to do it at night typically, so the slower schedule and handful of days off allowed a more energetic series of sessions. I find that even if I can just get a half hour in, I’m closer to what’s going on and more likely to think about plans, progress, plots, and protagonists when I’m sitting in the car or setting up my son’s train set. I definitely picked up some momentum.

  27. OK, here goes. My goal for 2010 is simple, really:

    Figure out this whole writing thing.

    Soup to nuts — barest idea to selling the movie rights.

  28. I know a little late, but I wanted to thank you for inspiring me to start a new short story after reading this post over the holidays (in Paris, great for inspiration!)

  29. I started writing the novel I told everyone I was working on last year.

    And I was working on it…really…

    I totally browsed through phone books and ate brownies and wrote down stuff strangers said/did on the train and everything.

    Also filed submission guidelines for publications I admire and made a calendar of relevant deadlines (& accompanying themes, if applicable). That felt productive.

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