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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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Solid As a Rock


I have a mortifying confession to make. I’ve been doing a boot camp course at my gym for the last month. The first day the instructor showed up wearing all camouflage. This did not bode well. I was sporting one of my literary t-shirts from my vast collection from writers’ conferences I’ve attended over the years. The first two sessions, I went completely white, felt as if I were going to throw up, and saw a wall of white light I choose not to call god.

On Saturday, our young man had us working out on the machines. When he helped me, I noticed him looking at my chest. Now, I know I’ve got a great rack, but it didn’t compute. Then, his eyes got bigger as he focussed in on the faint writing on my shirt: Breadloaf  Writers Conference. “Did you go to Breadloaf?” he asked, as if it were Oz. The punch line, of course, is that my boot camp trainer is an aspiring writer.


Normally, I groan upon making these discoveries. You can barely park your ass down on a plane without running into someone who thinks he’s the next Hemingway. I asked my trainer what he wanted to write about & I have to confess I loved his story. Being the consummate agent, I’ve negotiated a deal with my friend. We’ve set a goal of April 1 for me to lose ten pounds, for him to come up with twenty pages.

Does anyone want to get in on this action. Comment here on what you will accomplish by April 1 (pages or pounds) and we’ll all check back in. Gotta go finish my reps.

34 Responses

  1. I’ll match him twenty pages by April 1st…I’m the Breadloafeee who was too dazed after a cross country flight to notice that the dear little girl who’s jellies I was complimenting her on, was holding hands with the agent I had flown 2000 miles to see…check the summer love blog comment from Santa Barbara:)
    …Santa Barbara dreamin’/ signing off -after gearing up reading Mary Karr’s interview in the Paris review..dreaming big:)…why not????
    p.s. I’m a yoga therapist!!! Will trade lit input for putting you thru your paces for what is somewhat rudely called “yoga butt.” Nicely featured in Jan/Feb issue of COWGIRL magazine…I know, it’s not the Paris Review, but….hey

  2. By April 1st I want to have a draft of my WIP ready to give to my agent.

  3. Okay, I’m in. By April 1st (any coincidence that this is April Fool’s Day?) I will have completed a thorough edit of my memoir which is complete but needs a better story arc, etc. Just because my life had no story arc, no big deal. But that’s my goal.

  4. 5 pounds and a revised novel well underway! (I want to revise my novel twice by end of year and lose 10 pounds total).

  5. Camo-pledged writing! I love it. It’s a great trade-off. Your trainer must be in cloud nine and banging away on the keys. I’m still cracking up that he’s a personal trainer. I think there’s a social construct floating around that writers have to be sedentary, black-clad, chain-smoking drunks in order to exist in that category.

    As for my goal by April 1, I hope to finish the second draft of my YA novel and drop five pounds.

  6. By April 1 I will have written 57,000 words of my second romance manuscript and sent queries out for my first one.

    And I’ll be a better vegan. Not a perfect vegan, though, because I’ll still live in a country where waiters say, “We have some lovely salmon today,” when you tell them you’re a vegetarian.

  7. I want to be at 80,000 words on my WIP by then, minimum. If I do 1200 words a day that’s a reasonable expectation.

    I also want to have a contract with an agent by then for the novel I’m querying, but that’s not something I can control. 🙂

  8. I am chuckling at the trainer’s fortune. Is he a kinder, gentler trainer to you? My goal is to finish writing about Chapters 9 & 10 of Nehemiah in my WIP. Would love to finish the whole rough draft, but realistically that probably won’t happen.

  9. By April 1 I want to be down 15 lbs (total) since starting a diet and exercise program 2 weeks ago. I also want to have a first draft of my second novel. I’m 6000 words in, and am not a nano-style writer, so the words may prove harder to gain than the lbs are to lose.

  10. I now have a ready answer for when I’m asked, “Are you staring at my chest?”

  11. I plan on completing the rough draft of my current work in progress by April 1.

    Good luck on the 10 pounds. Personally, I hate exercising, but, 5 days per week I’m up at 5 AM and exercising because my metabolism decided to change at 28 and make everything I ate go to my waist! Geesh, as if a receding hairline wasn’t bad enough!!!


  12. By April 1, I will negotiate a successful peace treaty in the Middle East and discover a cure for cancer.

    If that fails, I hope to finish my gazillionth rewrite of my WIP and not gain yet another 20 pounds.

  13. By April i will edit and do some serious re writing of 100pgs.
    I am thinking about which tee shirt to wear to the gym.

  14. I’m new here, but I’d love to participate in the challenge.

    By April 1, I will have my first draft of this book finished.

  15. I recently rejoined a gym. At my initial free session the trainer also mentioned he was writing a book and asked for my advice…his idea didn’t sound so hot though.

    So by April 1, I pledge to lose 10 pounds and write @ 30,000 words of my new novel.

  16. Ten pounds by April 1? You’re on.

    I’m trying to think of ways to sweeten this deal. How about if I lose my ten pounds, you buy me a drink next time I’m in New York. If you lose your ten pounds, I’ll buy the drinks. If we both do, we still have drinks but… maybe your trainer buys?

  17. You’re on Betsy. I’m in for writing two great comment-getting posts per week (20 by April 1) and losing enough weight to get my best black pants zipped again.

    BTW, I was a boot camper for three years, 6:00-7:00 a.m. five days a week. My leader was an army reserves drill sergeant and a tall drink of a girl. I owe her a healthy 50s.

  18. Revisions to my agent by April 1 or earlier and my ass back in a yoga class. om is the sound of one hand clapping

  19. okay, i’m in. By April 1, I want to be at least three quarters of the way through Book Three of my Bright’s Pond Series. And lose ten pounds, and oh, file for divorce!

  20. Okay, I hereby promise to:

    ~lose one pants size, back to a 6. (my 8’s are getting snug, sausage-y and they’re my fat pants! Yipes.) This means I need to work out. Damn.

    ~finish my re-writes on WIP.

    Is your camo-wearing trainer hot?

    Maybe I need me a hot trainer.

    My birthday is April 1st…I will use birthday cake as my finish-line reward.

    Good luck everyone. Hard work, rather.

  21. I’ve been doing the lovely agent waltz since end of October, 2009. Three weeks ago, I turned in the requested sub-plot rewrite, I have a solid ms, and I’m very grateful for the time, guidance, brainstorming and mentoring from this agent.

    Now, I wait to hear back on the changes.

    So, my goal is ALL the pages — by April 1st I plan to have signed with an agent, hopefully with her, but if not, with one of the agents who asked to see the revised ms if things didn’t work out.

    My goal is to make it to the next step (I’m actually afraid), AND, finish up edits on my present ms (the work being my best anchor).

    It’s very admirable, your body boot camp program. Tough to do, tough to see through. But why mortified? I think, more so, you deserve a parade.

    It *feels* good, to make a commitment and stick to it … I think that’s the best part, the self-esteem that comes from stretching ourselves beyond our daily vision into a new possible.

  22. What Paul said, to have my current manuscript ready to send out (except that I don’t have an agent–yet!).

  23. Thirty pages and ten pounds by April 1st. I’ll also have grown all the henna out of my hair and will (I hope) be a total silver fox by then.

  24. I’ll play too. I’m in for 10 pounds and 12,000 more good words.

  25. There’s a Sanskrit word for one who teaches by example: acharya. It’s the most respected role in society.

  26. Well, if we don’t have another snow storm in Hellhoma I can get out and run!

    I’m shooting for losing ten pounds and having the first draft of my ms finished.

  27. Got over 600 pages (misc. – handwritten, typed, scribbled) and I don’t expect to know when my novel is finished until it is.

    So am trying to think of a goal for April 1.
    In two months — I — will —

    be —
    a) consistently producing three pages per day, minimum, and
    b) doing my morning power-routine, at home, M-F.

    Guess I don’t have end-points in my vision, currently — it’s just keeping the Activity consistent.

  28. Looks like he did a great job and he could read too?

    New to your site… I like it kinda quirky.

    Not committing to any lbs. or pages though, sort of like a New Years resolution. It always pisses you off when you don’t follow through.

    Will commit to submitting a query letter and trying to move some pounds around.

  29. I thought I recognized you.

    My March 31 goal is to get my draft revised and ready for submittal. On the first of April, I’ll go back to eating donuts.

  30. Love your story. HA! 😀
    By April 1st I want to have my completed YA fantasy ms polished and an agent (or close to one)…and be almost finished with the sequel…
    Hooray for goals! 😀

  31. Oh, and I want to lose 10 lbs by then…is that even healthy? 😉

  32. Right, I claim five pounds off, and at least ten thousand words added to the damn manuscript.

    (The brat child was conceived six years ago. I love it, but I’m sick of it. So will it just grow up and move out now?)

  33. I swear by Boot Camp. I went from running 2 miles in 30 minutes to 10 miles in an hour and fifty minutes (an 11:00 mile). Next up: a five hour marathon by November!

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