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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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In For A Penny

On February 1, 2010, I posted what I believe is the first ever Pages or Pounds Challenge. At that time, I challenged my boot camp trainer to write twenty new pages by April 1, while challenging myself to lose 10 pounds. And then I asked if anyone out there reading wanted to get in on the action. Ok, here’s where we are. He as written 18 pages. I have gained two pounds. I could go on and on about it, but I already did that in Food and Loathing. The end of that book has a quasi-upbeat ending about the whole food issue. What a crock!

How did you all do? Any good news?

31 Responses

  1. 218.

    • Pages?

      Pounds?

      Pythagorean equivalent for “Where the hell you been, August”?

      • My weight and the page-count of my edited YA manuscript are exactly the same. Another reason not to write that fantasy trilogy.

        On the bright side, I’m a man, so instead of experiencing any real self-loathing for being fat, I just feel a sort of gentle pity for my wife.

  2. Well, I wrote a lot of pages…and I also fell back into my personal stress eating habit, which is to stuff my face madly the minute all the kids are FINALLY IN BED AND NOT WATCHING ME AND BEGGING TO EAT AND DRINK EVERYTHING I SO MUCH AS TOUCH (and getting to, because I have to share, right? Fuckin right. Sometimes I say, no, Mommy doesn’t want to share her coffee right now, and one of them, in particular, just sits there and waits, watching, staring, while I drink it, like she’s saying, well, how about now? Now? You goin’ share now? How ’bout now? Sometimes I hide in the bathroom to drink my coffee. And sometimes I don’t eat at all, all day, until that child can’t see me. Her attachment issues and my privacy issues aren’t meshing very well.)
    Oh–pages–I wrote a lot of those, but then, unlike your trainer, that’s what I do.

  3. Wrote more pages than I can count. Gained more weight than I care to acknowledge. Fortunately, my printed ms still remains here in all its glory, while the number on the scale blinked into oblivion as soon as I leaped away. So I’m calling it a win.

  4. two and a half stories–one and a half good stories; one crappy story.

    about the same weight but exercising regularly.

    my first story was accepted for publication in a literary magazine and that’s big potatoes for this rube.

  5. Didn’t lose weight. But didn’t gain. Had the emotional shit kicked out of me today and I’m sitting here with a water. I had chicken and salad for dinner and emailed a friend for a walk in the morning. If I didn’t feel like such crap I’d be surprised at how sane it seems. Waiting to fail. Desperate to not. Please don’t tell me the ending is a crock.

  6. Okay, I didn’t join the whole “let’s get well together” thing but I did write stuff. Page count isn’t fair because I wrote and shredded and am still writing the same 45ish pages for a screenplay. I may or may not have lost weight, but most of that would be in the form of atrophying buttocks.

  7. That ice cream looks really, really good.

  8. I challenged myself to lose 10 lbs and write @ 30,000 words of a new novel. I only lost about 4 lbs–discouraging because I’ve spent hours in the gym. I did well with the pages–I’m on target with that..

    As for the weight, this past weekend I started the Couch Potato to 5 K running regime (if you google it, the site comes up) and I’m going to try something different with my eating (cut all sugar)…so I’m still trying. I think I need an extension though.

  9. The minute I start a diet, I gain weight because all I can think about is food. The time I joined weight watchers, I paid my weekly dues, listened to the upbeat drivel the still-not-very-thin leader spewed at us and gained twenty pounds. I’m just not wired to do what someone else tell me to do. I think I’m still trying to get back at my mother who used to tell me how pretty I’d be if I would just lose that weight. (I’ll show her!!) Besides at almost seventy, I don’t have one wrinkle on my face. The fat works better than collagen.

    As far as the writing: not too bad.

  10. I didn’t join the original challenge, but I had high hopes for myself.

    I ate crap. I gained weight. I wrote one new scene, a meandering little sequence of existential angst that included, truly, a woman on a mountain painting flying sheep. I revised less than one chapter of a novel that’s been waiting to be revised for six months now. I considered tattooing a big L on my chest.

    And then the sun came out yesterday and all the little switches tripped in my brain and Madame Inquisitor, the evil editor in my brain, started slugging tequila straight from the bottle and telling me that perhaps she was wrong in telling me my writing was worthless tripe.

    So can we start the challenge over again?

  11. here’s the thing. I promised to shed twenty lbs and finish my new novel. I dropped five but am nearly finished the new book that is due May1! Yikes. I also faced my dental fears and had some oral surgery, got my teeth cleaned and working on whitening. Ha! I’m anticipating getting my pciture snapped a few times at my publishers sales conference in a couple of weeks. Truthfully though, the sad thing is if I hadn’t had stuff coming up career wise I would remained my old frumpy, trogledite self hunched over the keyboard lamenting my life so far. Motivation really helps.

  12. Why did reading your post make me want to eat a muffin?

  13. I lost 6 pounds on the LOSING THE LARD: THE MECHANICS OF PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS book proposal you rejected. That puts me at 44 total.

  14. Muscle weighs more than fat, you know. I’m just saying.

  15. I was shooting to gain five pounds of muscle, and I’ve got four.

    Now about that book proposal . . .

    My most successful diet for losing was based primarily on eating ten servings of fruits or veggies a day (based on a Discovery series highlighted on Dr. Oz). It’s so hard to cram all those down that it squeezes out the bad food, because I can only eat so much in one day. And I never had that sense of deprivation or yearning for food, because quite the opposite, I was trying to figure out how I could possibly eat all I had to.

    I wrote everything down, and ten was hard to hit. It worked for me. (I also cut out white carbs, also key.)

    I did have a lot of gas.

  16. I printed up my manuscript and did a hard copy edit of it twice. And I mean I cut and pasted with the actual pages. Sp of I can figure out what the hell I’ve done with this mass of tiny pieces of paper I ended up with, I’ll input it all into the actual word document. Hopefully then the manuscript will have a proper “arc” (blah blah blah) and I’ll be ready to send queries.

  17. editing is a quirky process. I worked on about 100 pages, some got face lifts, some got cut and others were expanded. Does that count?

  18. Finished a YA ms last Friday. Still dancing around the house when no one’s looking.

    8 full requests on the rewrite of my previous YA ms, after pulling out of exclusive revisions with an agent who wasn’t a good fit for me.

    One request was a partial that turned into a full from an agent who found *me*. Had to read that initial correspondence a few times to believe it. Nice woman, too. Lovely agency.

    So, goal-wise, no agent yet, but close. Keeping the faith, learning the lessons, but most importantly, writing.

    Been working my tail off.

    I can’t believe how quickly time passed since that intial post of yours, Betsy.

    Scary.

    Good writing, everyone, and Happy Everything!

    • Hey, congratulations on all that! I know we all tend to write for various reasons, but I have to say that as a parent of two kids who have devoured all the great YA books that have come out over the past few years, I am eternally grateful to YA writers for turning my kids into readers.

      • Aww, thanks, Linda. What a nice thing to say.

        I was one of those kids devouring books, myself, besides finding books a great comfort while growing up.

        I love to hear about children who enjoy reading. : )

        I’ll begin querying my present YA ms on June 1st. I already have six fulls requested pre-query from agents who read the previous ms.

        Here’s hoping!

        Emily Murdoch

  19. Sorry I’m late getting to this, Betsy. I’ve been offline with the flu for a while. I’m still playing catch-up.

    Okay, I wrote my ass off. Feeling well satisfied on that front.
    By ‘ass-off’ I mean I put out a high word count of decent quality, and finished revisions on another novel. Unfortunately, I cannot actually write my semi-perky ass literally off. That would indeed by satisfying. Maybe if I could figure out how to type and cardio-exercise at the same time, that could work.

    That said, I did force myself unto the evil treadmill I affectionately named Satan, several times/week since my pledge.

    I wish I could say it is about the health, but it’s all about the booty, people. Got to keep the butt perky, keep the cankles at bay.
    But, I only lost 5 pounds.

    That’s probably because I eat like a pig. I’m a bottomless pit.

    I had bunny cake for breakfast dessert this morning.

    What? You don’t have dessert after breakfast?

  20. I did it, I reached the goal I set in your initial post!

    Two weeks ago, I had five offers of representation for the ms I mentioned in my previous comment, above.

    It was exciting and stressful and exciting and glorious and exciting!

    I am now a client of Barry Goldblatt Literary, and my YA ms will soon be out on sub.

    I kept thinking of this post during that week of agent phone calls. : )

    Betsy, years ago you rejected the query for my first ms with the kindest typed note, just so sweet and encouraging. *Thank you*. I often thought of it as I pressed on through three years of rejection and two subsequent ms’s.

    It meant a whole lot to me.

    Emily Murdoch

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