• 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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Gee, It’s Good To Be Back Home

Peeps! How are you? I missed you. Erin, thank you for holding down the fort and keeping up the stats. If I may start complaining right out of the gate: I didn’t get a chance to read my pleasure books, Tinkers and Henrietta Lacks. Instead, I dutifully read my manuscripts. Meow.

I was treated to dover sole with my British agents; these are the people who sell UK rights for our US authors. We’ve been working together for 25 years. I also saw my oldest friend in the business — another publishing vet of 25 years, a brilliant editor, and can I just say how impressed I am with the way Brits use utensils.

I also stopped into every bookstore I passed including Lutyens and Rubenstein. I met the owners years ago when we were all editors. Now, they are also agents, but they also just opened this magnificent shop. I wanted very single book just because of how brilliantly they were juxtaposed on the tables. But I didn’t come back to start in again on the funeral known as publishing.

Well, we all know, September means back to selling. Most agents hold their fire  for these last summer months and then lock and load for the fall. Everyone has that back to school, freshly sharpened, brand new binder smell. If we have some editor lurkers, tell us about being on your side of the desk as the projects descend like duck flap.

What about you guys, the writers, is it time to get serious? Buckle down. What does Fall signal?

26 Responses

  1. Death. Nostalgia. Back-to-school (back when there was childhood). An exciting, brisk crispness stirring in the air. The start of something new.

  2. Glad you’re back, but also so glad you had a good trip.

    Fall = preparing manuscripts for a round of book competitions.

  3. I just finished writing my letter from the editor for the September issue of a newsletter I edit, and in it I rave about the back-to-school crispness that makes me feel all warm and cuddly and uber productive inside (despite the fact that I’m not going back to school and haven’t gone back to school in years). September makes me feel like I really WILL write that novel and that article and that short story this time. Of course, that burst of productivity always dies by November.

    My question: how do you make that “freshly sharpened, brand new binder smell” last beyond a few weeks?

    • You’ll just have to hold out for New Year’s resolution time…that should get you through the second week of January or so.

  4. Star Date: September 1, 2010. tun-ta-tun!!
    Writer travels the literary galaxy for thirty-one centimes- that’s 31 days – during the lunar month called Augusstesisiesieieieies, searching the worm holes and one sensual brown dwarf and finds several God Particles on the Borges-like library of the universe. The first God Particle is about a soulful Cajun detective and his pal who , battered by a host of asteriods, talk about morality (there really is such a thing, the writer-traveler finds) and find the bad guys. They both wear hats.
    The second God Particle has waited on the celestial shevles for years, waiting for the singular hand of this singular writer traveler- avast! Moby-Dick, you’ve read me five times, don’t you remember every single word!? Find the place where once your finger lingered! There: ‘It is not down in any map; true places never are.’ And third, the compilation of all, all things by that Saint- named after the 31 days – The City of God. The writer-traveler sputtered to the portals, entering the city, and it is . . . empty.

    September 1, 2010, I start the second novel in the mystery series – I got an agent! and the book I sold to a small press…also marketing ideas, blogs, etc. Oh, writer-travelers…be careful what you wish far. The Fall may be upon you.

  5. By September 1 I have to find ten interesting things to say about the Loire Valley and one thing about Chartres that’s never been said before to wrap up a travel memoir I have to deliver on Dec. 1 (I have eight good ideas for the Loire so far, but for Chartres: it’s either the African faux-hip hopsters slouching around the gothic cathedral or the conversation I had with the melancholy cheesemonger) and then I have to start all over and re-write the whole thing in the next 90 days and bring it in at exactly 208 pages, counting the table of contents, the acknowledgments, the title page and that stupid almost blank half-title page they always make you put up front. September is also when the tail ends of Caribbean hurricanes blow into the Long Island Sound so I’m looking forward to some magnificent rainy days, and then the local nature center will release its display of indigenous (captive) butterflies to go out and live free right before they die — that’s a big day, too.

    • Just be glad you weren’t behind the overly zealous pilgrim who did the entire labyrinth on her knees. I mean, really?

  6. Welcome back, B. Missd U.

  7. Oh, Vivian…I love “the melancholy cheesemonger” – come to me my melancholy baby….

  8. Freedom. My three kids are going back to school. I’ve spent the summer holed up in my bedroom like a fugitive. Every ten minutes someone knocks on the door demanding either a ride, a sandwich, or a nipple piercing.

  9. I’ve lived out in the Pacific Northwest for three years now, and Fall, oh Fall means the last days of sunshine, wringing out the last spots of sun. I’m ready for the rain so I don’t have to fight with the want to be in the gorgeous weather and can get my writing done in peace without the internal war with myself. Glad to have you back. Love your writing.

    • Wow. I’m a Seattleite and you took the words right out of my mouth about Summer ending. So much easier to stay inside and write when it’s raining but I sure do miss those beautiful clear summer days once they’re gone.

  10. The end of Summer for me means finishing the revision I’ve been working on. So what if I’m only a third of the way in and there is a week and half of summer left? Under the gun is where I do my best work! Okay, not really buy I gotta tell myself something to keep the panic at bay.

  11. There’s no get to be got, I’m always serious. Though time is an illusion in this floating world, there is never enough of it, never enough for all the writing and reading that need to be done, for the tending of the tomato garden and the sifting of the cat litter, for the harvesting of crops of dollars, for the close holding of my wife through the night. More life!

  12. signals a deadline for a cowboy story and edits on a ms. need multi-vitamins.

  13. For a Texan, September offers the prospect of being comfortably outside for the first time in three months. In the summer, I hibernate inside. The sun looks inviting, but the temperature changes my mind. September means I can write on my patio table — thank you, laptop — and remind my a/c-dependent body what natural solar vitamin D feels like.

  14. Searching for an agent. What you’ll want to know is on my blog, two short stories on Kindle, First novel Things In Ditches soon to follow, and if I don’t find an agent, Kindle will get The Poison Makers too. – Jimmy

  15. Fall = writing in silence (READ: Kids back in school!)

    Welcome back Betsy, and tell Erin thanks, she did a great job-

    Oh, and tell her I moved my fish bowl with my albino frog in it out of the bedroom because of her blog the other day. Ha!

    His name is Humbert Humbert, after all 😉

  16. No job or school for the first time I can remember…except maybe when my sons were babies. So I’m enjoying these cool rainy days writing while collecting unemployment (and looking for a job)….

    that bookstore looks wonderful…and so do its owners…

  17. This is where I meant to place my joy at seeing you back to the blog. September means another year older and one more revision. Now I understand Dorian Grey’s nagging vision in a whole new way. Hope I finish while I still recognize myself in the mirror.

  18. Home! Brilliant foliage, maniac drivers, good pizza, people who cuss and friends who don’t get bent when I tell them they suck! Which they don’t. Pumpkins. Wholly celebrating my 47th year since I wasted my 46th being almost 50. Reclaiming my favorite writing spot and taking 2 weeks to whip my book into a bit less of a shitty mess. Growing a backbone and getting that blanket mailing of agents done. Anxiously awaiting rejection letters while putting together the next book.

    Welcome back, Betsy! I can’t wait to join you on that side of the ocean.

  19. I’m going to get busy editing draft one. Friday marks one month of letting it sit. However, I did just buy this new thesaurus so I’m probably going to have to spend a few days reading it. But that’s like work, right?

    Loved Erin’s posts. Am glad you’re back. And that bookstore picture – fabulous.

  20. I think because fall is “back to school”, it makes everything seem serious again. More serious. And for people with spring books going to print that aren’t finished yet, it also means “OMG YOU ARE SERIOUSLY LATE FOR YOUR DEADLINE AND IF YOU DON’T GET ON WITH IT, THIS BOOK IS GOING TO GET BUMPED A SEASON AND NOW YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY AND DEFINITELY BE PANICKING”. Or, you know, something like that.

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