• Bridge Ladies

    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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The Gods Must Be Crazy

I studied pottery throughout high school. Junior year, we had a teacher who started the term by asking us to make kiln gods to “protect and bless” our firings. These were, in effect, clay finger puppets. To show what I thought of the project and my eternal hipness, I created a little man giving the finger.

Since then, I have had a series of typewriter gods, little effigies that do absolutely nothing but protect and bless my keyboard. Among my totems: the smallest, peanut-sized Matryoshka doll, a white Porsche, a brass penguin, a polished stone, a pair of smiling strawberry salt & pepper shakers, and a purloined monkey covering his ears, from a set of three each the size of a walnut: see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil.

Do you have any writing gods?

25 Responses

  1. A two inch replica of Manneken Pis:

    I used to have a wee plastic frog from Doodlets in Santa Fe, but he fell from his perch and was never seen again. Maybe he’ll resurface when I clean my office. Someday.

    Oh, and I had an Enron golf ball when I was writing my whistleblower novel. It worked – that was my first published book.

  2. I have a globe-god. It’s a tiny globe pencil sharpener and reminds me of all the places I’ll travel on my whirlwind book tour (one day) (if ever).

  3. I’ve got a clay skull I bought in Prague. I also seem to worship a lot of dirty coffee cups, appple cores in various stages of decomposition and empty sweet wrappers.

  4. Underneath my monitor, north of my keyboard, I keep a foot long piece of two inch wide metal ribbon on which the word MEMORY has been stamped. Made of lead it’s malleable and gray. My best friend artist, a brilliant man who died before the cocktail could save him, made it.

  5. A dream catcher from New Mexico. Works occasionally.

  6. Fresh flowers. A tiny Lemoges row boat called Gone Fishing. One of my son’s baby pictures. The look on his face…

  7. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a writing god, but I do have a little plastic Eeyore who watches me type. =o)

  8. Desk totems: Vase/pen holder made by best friend in high school pottery, metal teddy bear with purple neck bow–representative of fundraiser for reading program for dyslexic kids, glittery bird on lamp shade–Jesus, so many. Problem–once totemic item makes it to desk, can’t get rid of it, fearing bad juju.

  9. I have a very small yellow bowl filled with dried thyme on table next to computer. Read once that this offering attracts the Muse. 🙂

  10. A statue of Mary given to me by my children when they were in elementary school. A paperweight that I made in elementary school and gave to my father. A worn copy of Carolyn See’s Making a Literary Life.

  11. A ceramic statue of Quan Yin, a gift from my closest friend, watches over my desk.

  12. It would never have occurred to me to keep totems on my desk. Luckily, I have cats. You know — those household gods who shed? And lounge on your keyboard and dig into your printer for the mousies who rattle around in there?

    And NO, none of them have literary names. Except for the one I named after the littlest Who in Whoville.

    I know. I suck at being a serious writer.

  13. I have my Lambda Award on my desk, which takes me back to Los Angeles and the best night in my writing life. It even has my name on it, so I know it really happened. And my black cocker spaniel, Matilda, sleeps in the chair next to me looking cute.

  14. I keep near my desk a photograph of the mountaintop farmhouse where my mom was raised without electricity, indoor plumbing and running water. I also have near a sketch of the first coal mine my Dad worked in. These things remind me of the people who made sacrifices so I could go to college and learn to write.

    • Bravo! I really admire that. Maybe because I have similar things: a photo of my mother on my desk, two reminders of my father looking down on me from a high place across the room. My parents were the foundation of my life in language.

  15. Postcard by a local artist that says “Revision.”
    Picture of Ernest Hemingway.
    I have to use a certain coffee cup.

    Nice to hear that others are strange like me, too.

  16. “Writing god” is an oxymoron.

  17. I love this post!

    Mine: a 3″ Navajo sterling silver turtle with a turquoise stone on the top that opens to a little storage area (story-storage though to anyone else it’s empty). A small heart-shaped pink-red flat rock with black lines (words to decipher) that I found in a meadow outside a writer’s conference. A Buddha head way at the back of the monitor so I don’t feel pressured only blessed. A pale green and purple crystal that I bought as a gift and couldn’t give away. A plastic plant label for an outdoor plant that is long dead (to reverse Buddha and remind me in addition to creating stories, I’m also a plant-killer ).

  18. Just one, a Fox Mulder doll. When I can’t write I sit and think about how much the doll doesn’t look like Mulder, why I haven’t found a Scully yet, and whether I wouldn’t be better off with Ken Kesey action figure. The real god of the desk is my Roget thesaurus. Never use it anymore but can’t think without it.

  19. On and above desk: brass bell shaped like a Dutch girl that my maternal great-grandmother used to summon her servants. Tinted color postcard that my paternal grandparents took as a souvenir from their flight from Berlin in 1938 on the S.S. Volendam. Framed anonymous hand-written rejection letter from the New Yorker praising my bloated short story and suggesting I develop into a novel. (I am.) Large framed image of tree purchased in Palm Springs thrift shop that symbolizes my fulfilled potential. But I write downstairs in the corner of the sofa.

  20. A tiny, pink rubber pig, no more than an inch high, that oinks on command AND has a flashlight in its snout (jealous?), a Bluestockings Bookstore bumpersticker pinned to my corkboard that reads “READ A FUCKING BOOK,” and a wooden cross covered in milagros that came out of my mother’s van after she died.

  21. A tiny metal Laksmi and a painted wooden Kali, plus my cat who oversees the work from a chair across the room.

  22. A display of postcards I’ve received from all over the world. So many places to go, so little time and money.

  23. i’m still searching for that talisman or ritual or drug that will make me write longer or better…that will catapult me through the third wall into the creative space where great sentences flow from my fingers in a logical narrative sequence… lately (as in since monday) have been standing on my head for two to three minutes…blood to the brain…

  24. This is a fantastic blog you have here. I visit here every week. I have already subscribed to your rss feed to help me stay update with your publication. Are you on twitter so that I can follow you?

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