• 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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It’s Only Castles Burning

Are all writers narcy? Is it an occupational hazard or prerequisite for the job? I once dated a writer whose bedroom was lined with framed jackets of all his books. After  I slept with him, he loaded me up with copies of all of his books as I was leaving. Thanks!  How narcissistic are you and does it help or hurt? What does it really feel like to sit down with that notebook or computer? Just you, beautiful, terrible you? And what of those pages staring back?

Suggested reading:

What Narcissism Means to Me/Tony Hoagland

Advertisements for the Myself/Norman Mailer

Me/Katherine Hepburn

Food and Loathing/Betsy Lerner

32 Responses

  1. Dude, I write memoir. All me, all the time. I am narcy to the nth. ( Narcy, ha. Love it.)

    Re: what it really feels like to sit down with that notebook/computer? It feels like crap, duh. But then (sometimes, not often enough, but sometimes) there’s a relief that happens that makes it all worthwhile. All my analogies are body-centered and involve pus or excrement. You get the idea.

  2. Oh, this is such a writer’s answer (as in, demonstrating my inability to identify the problem). It’s not that narcissism doesn’t exist and isn’t showcased in ways that perhaps *resemble* the things I do… it’s just that I’m not *being* narcissistic when *I* do those things. Because listen! (No, unfortunately I’m being totally serious here.) When I am done writing something (for the time being), I have this insurmountable desire to give it away! Not because it proves I’m great – because it’s not just mine anymore and that’s what I love and that’s why I wrote it down!

    Like, does staring at my son and marveling at his awesome make me narcy? Cuz I kinda created him, too.

    🙂

  3. I don’t know about all writers, but I am, and that’s all that really matters.

  4. My sister’s a psychoanalyst and she and her husband used to knock people who were self-absorbed. “Oh, he’s so self-absorbed!” I told her one day about an article I read in the NY Times on Julian Schnabel and how he used the term “self-absorbed” in a positive way, referring to artists, how he enjoyed being around them because they were self-absorbed. I haven’t heard my sister knock us guys since.

    I called my first novel THE CONSCIOUS EGOIST after this quotation from Ouspensky, which is contained in the novel:

    “In order to help others, one must first learn to be an egoist, a conscious egoist. Only a conscious egoist can help people.”

    I think even shrinks say that a certain degree of narcissism is healthy. I’m feeling very healthy these days.

    I

  5. Omne animal se ipsum diligere.
    Every living creature loves itself. Cicero

  6. Occasionally I meet insecure writers. They never finish anything.

  7. Oh, hell – if I think about this stuff too much, it’s all ruined. Like when my brother tore apart my Chatty Kathy doll to see how she worked. He figured it out, but Kathy was dead, never to chat again.

    Moral of story: Discovering how you work leads to death. Or writing complete crap, which can mimic death.

    I think. I just try not to overthink, content to believe there’s a real wizard behind the curtain and not some sad caricature of myself, writing dreck and thinking it’s beautiful.

    Which proves beyond doubt that I’m so narcissistic, I’m in danger of sprouting roots between my toes and a flower out of my head.

  8. Let’s just say it’s been a struggle to stick to the novel instead of writing the memoir. Yeah….

    I’ve found that I write best when I just sit down and start doing it. It’s the thinking about it that keeps me inert.

  9. I hate myself. I love the things I create, though.

  10. When you are the most interesting and creative person you know, what else would you be but Narcy.

  11. I think I’m pretty okay. Writing is the only part of my life that makes me feel insecure. I never wanted to be a writer, never even thought about it until a few years ago. Then it was like jumping into a lake, knowing I couldn’t swim. But I paddled and kicked enough to get published a few times. I still don’t know how to swim, but I continue to paddle and kick just because it’s fun and it passes the time.

  12. Actually, never thought about the narcissism thing. And, yeah, I think there is a fair amount of it in me when it comes to my writing. Yeah. I think so.

  13. I’m a compulsive writer. I’ve written a couple of books and have filled numerous notebooks, post-its and gum wrappers with my ramblings.
    I dream of one day making money off my scribbles, I don’t think this dream will ever come to fruition as I don’t share. No one sees what I’ve written except me and the cat.
    This probably makes me a Narcy as I just don’t think anyone will understand and enjoy my little worlds as I do. The cat thinks I’m amazing.

  14. The best writers I know are all self-absorbed bastards/bitches. I think it allows them, somehow, to plunge ruthlessly into the minds of other people — other characters.

  15. I tend to hide my narcissism behind my codependency on even more narcissistic people. It also helps to live in narcissistic capitals, like Los Angeles, where there are so many to quietly judge in smug condescension.

  16. Um, everyone has answered the question really seriously and well. So I feel I can bring up an important question. What happened to the guy who gave you copies of his book? I mean, did he keep writing books so he could still spend nights with you and have something to hand you as you walked out the door?

  17. I really think it’s important for writers to “get outside themselves” whenever they can. Get a cause, get a religion, get a hobby, write for other people, etc. I grumble about my contract work taking time away from my “real” work, but it sure does cut down on the navel gazing, and that’s a good thing.

    • Kelly, if you’re not going to gaze at your own navel, how will you be able to gaze at the navel of others? In other words, know thyself first.

  18. Bumped uglies with a writer. How could you?

  19. i’m infused throughout my characters but my characters are their own people. does that make any sense?

    i write fiction.

  20. Healthy narcissism is necessary for writers and/or non-writers. It is the pathological/characterological narcissists that are the kind who, I believe, are incapable of the kind of TRUE self-reflection that is necessary for honest writing. I also think they are indifferent to their audiences reaction( because of their lack of empathy) and writing that is indifferent to its reader is writing that I don’t want to read.
    All that said, I have framed copies of published short stories just the way I would have framed pictures of my kids, if I would have had them. Does that mean I am a narcissist?;-)

  21. I do not have framed covers of my books on display or a shelf (shelves) of my published books in a bookcase. I’ve published more than 100 children’s books but you would be hard pressed to find them in my house. Hundreds of comp copies are stored in chests, out of sight. Even original art from my picture books is put away. Why? It’s all about moving on to the next book . . .

  22. It’s push/pull, isn’t it? You need that sweet spot to write. But ME (Hepburn’s) is a damn awful title.

  23. Thanks for the food for thought: here are my thoughts…..

    Identity vs Authorship

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  26. […] no idea who she was prior to another writer in my twitter stream providing a link titled: “Are all writers Narcy?” I didn’t know what the hell “narcy” meant so I clicked on the link. Bad idea. No, […]

  27. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
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  28. Good post however I was wanting tto know if you could write a litte more on this subject?
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