• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Met Her In a Club Down in Old Soho Where You Drink Champagne and it Tastes Just Like Cherry Soda


Those sea horses are creeping me out!


I just got invited to speak on a panel about blog burn-out. I declined. I wouldn’t know anything about that. What’s blogger burn-out — when you’re too tired to write about yourself and have lots of people respond who don’t know you and who you are not fucking?  When would I ever get tired of that? Does she mean too exhausted to be self-indulgent? As if! Being tired of blogging would be like being tired of London, or Madmen, or eating. It doesn’t happen, not on my watch. If someone wants to get me to talk about burn-out, they will have to come up with something else like pretending to like people or being positive.

What about you?

31 Responses

  1. the only thing i can think about right now is this week’s episode of mad men because all my friends who (i thought) were committed watchers did not see the last episode and it’s KILLING me because i just want somebody to talk to about how great don draper is and what he did this week with the NYTimes full page ad and this whole don-draper-the-writer thing they got going and…

    wait, burn out? i’ve got career burn-out-esque-ness going on right now. i can’t come up with one new idea at work but my home office is littered with post it notes of projects i want to do.

  2. I do get blog burnout from time to time. Probably all of you should leave me more comments to feed my sorry ego.

    On a related note, my 21-year-old son paid his 19-year-old brother $10 to get up and sing “Lola” in a karaoke event this past summer. Fun, yet somehow a bit disturbing for his mother.

    Only goes to show you that anyone will do anything for a buck. Looks like son #2 is bound for a writing career, what with the humiliation and paltry paychecks.

  3. Fortunately I like the Kinks, because if you want to talk burnout try having someone sing your name to you almost every day. And they all think they’re the first person ‘clever’ enough to do so.

  4. Pretty lady (from Mad Men, I think), unpretty seahorses–the real ones are lovely though, especially the weedy variety that I think are called sea dragons.

    Burnout, hmm …

    Wait! Are you saying you won’t be sleeping with me? 😦

  5. Sometimes I would rather sleep all day than post in my blog. Blog burn out. I don’t know.

  6. Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me. I was going to do just one fuck me, but that felt too good. Thanks, Lerner. You know your stuff. Blogger burn-out? Splashing and thrashing the world at large with no immediate, physical consequences? Are you joking? I think burn-out means trying too hard. I think burn-out means not getting the rewards you imagined, or were promised by some schmuck shit-bag that thought that everyone in the reading blog-o-sphere was just here to give someone some money. Isn’t that, like, ’90’s? Enough of that bullshit. Madmen? Are you fucking kidding me? I just sat through four seasons of Lost, in just a few days mind you, and even Hurley was getting cheesy. No thanks. No more television for me! My inane ramblings are more interesting. And so are yours! Fuck us god. Fuck us like you mean it. Fuck us, fuck us, fuck us…

  7. When I’m emotionally dragged-out, then yes, it’s much harder to get the insights necessary to keep my blog going. I try to think of something to write and instead feel enervated.

    I don’t know if that’s burnout or just exhaustion. When I wait, it passes.

  8. That was hilarious.

    I blog daily also.

  9. You make me laugh at six in the morning, Betsy. You really got me.

  10. A decade or so ago I burned out on attending local poetry readings. Open mikes and slams, that sort of thing. At first, being shy around the edges, it was good to get up in front of people and read my work, but there was so much dismal crap to listen to (not all of it mine), that eventually I couldn’t stand it. Besides, it never led to my getting laid, so what was the point?

  11. I am burned out at reading blogs that tell readers “ten” ways to write or “five” things one should never write about or “one hundred” ideas, blah, blah, blah.

    But I’ll have a cup of coffee and go back to reading. Sigh.

    Hmm. Just had a thought. Am I spending so much time reading blogs as a way to avoid writing?

    Will have to look for a blog that shows “seven” ways a writer procrastinates.

    • funny. i don’t read how to write blogs because they make me anxious. read a few pointers on writing from favorite writers now and then. and flannery o’connor’s mystery and manners is wonderful and impossible.

      rarely read “women’s magazines” unless my period’s due and i want to get irritated at an object that can’t be hurt by my premenstrual tourette’s syndrome. however when i do read them, or even skim the covers at the gym, i see the same numbers game in operation. “167 ways to de-stress,” for example. 167?! where is my self-improvement stunt double when i need her?

  12. I blog to teach myself what my subconscious knows about writing but won’t tell me. When the day comes that it’s no longer keeping secrets from me, I guess I’ll have burnt it out.

  13. I get blog burn out sometimes. Over the course of four years, it’s had its cycles. Selfishly, my burnout stems from the obligation to visit and leave comments on other blogs. If you don’t have a niche, a particular draw, one good way to build and keep an audience is to visit other blogs. But it can be time consuming and sometimes I just don’t feel like being nice or acting like I like people.

  14. Whenever I start a new blog, I consistently get burn-out about a month or two into it, and then I make it so private only I can read it. And I still don’t post. Something about being exposed…I can handle it when I’m feeling good, but during one of those inevitable sink hole periods I imagine all my old high school acquaintances reading it and thinking what a loser I am….

  15. I KEEP TALKING ABOUT MYSELF AND THEY’RE STILL READING it’s, like, the most amazing thing EVER.

  16. I always thought it was “I met her in a club down in Nottingham…” but that was because I bought the single back in the days when you couldn’t google the lyric and had to rely on repeat listenings to make sense of the words. I still prefer Nottingham: Nottingham has more integrity than “old Soho”, which doesn’t make any sense (there isn’t a “new” Soho, and nobody I know calls it “old Soho” — it’s “old” just so it can scan and that’s a cheap shot, poetically, right?). Except that Nottingham isn’t known for its red light district. Now I’m going to be thinking of that song all day long, trying to come up with somehting better than “old” Soho, and I don’t even like the Kinks all that much.

    • Well, what about when Sinatra sings, “in old New York”? Or Patty LaBelle singing “He met Marmalade down in Old New Orleans”? (Betsy, PLEASE do a post with a Lady Marmalade headline if you haven’t already). Both make even less sense than “old Soho,” considering the old/New juxtaposition.

      I love this blog; I get to use words I haven’t used since film school, like “juxtaposition.”

  17. Also–congratulations on Just Kids’ nomination for a National Book Award!

  18. I had facebook burnout. It was all, “Oh, what a cute picture. Aren’t the kids getting big? I ate cheesecake and now I feel fat. Like. Like. Like.” I was sick of myself and even sicker of what other people were giving out. I deactivated my page and haven’t looked back.

    Blogging is different. For me, it’s like doing a striptease in the living room when you’ve got ten pounds to lose and an audience of one.

  19. YES CONGRATULATIONS on the Just Kids nomination!!!!

  20. Seeing your authors win praise must never get old. What a pleasure to see JUST KIDS no the National Book Awards list just now. YOU got the picker lady.

    • Jesus Christ. Celebrity BSO. How about this? Once you’re rich and famous and a fucking Rock and Roll Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, stay on your asshole Montana ranch and leave some crumbs for the rest of us.

      • Then again, I can’t apply what I just wrote about musicians to books. Rock and roll is fueled by youth and sex. The best books are the fruit of a long life, well lived. If Patti Smith doesn’t exemplify that, who does?

  21. On not no. Was not saw. I do that all the time and that is burn out contender.

  22. Blog burnout leads to Dead Blog Syndrome. It looks kind of a like a Flynt, Michigan, or a town whose main industry has fled. That remaining post from weeks, months, years ago, accumulates irrelevancy and sad irony. Looking at it is like staring at a dead garden. But the more you try to make yourself blog, the more forced and false your voice sounds. And then one day, someone says “Are you still blogging?” and you think, “That thing is way past it’s due date. Can I take my blog to the GoodWill or the Salvation Army?” And then, when you know it’s totally over, like acid wash jeans, you find yourself having a clever thought and you start writing, and before you know it your’e saying what you really think because “nobody reads this thing.” And then someone comments! Blogs are like Ficus trees, they don’t really truly die, they just look dead.

    I don’t think I answered the question. My blog is in it’s 8th year. Current status: needs water.

  23. Washington Post, by Elizabeth Hand (January 26, 2010)

    More than a 1970s bohemian rhapsody, “Just Kids” is one of the best books ever written on becoming an artist — not the race for online celebrity and corporate sponsorship that often passes for artistic success these days, but the far more powerful, often difficult journey toward the ecstatic experience of capturing radiance of imagination on a page or stage or photographic paper.

    • One of my favorite books this year. I picked it up at the library and stood reading it until the guy tapped me on the shoulder to tell me they were closing. I checked it out and finished it in record time, but it’s really one to buy and keep.

  24. i don’t blog. i like to hoard my words for writing on paper. i’ve got the feeling i don’t have a huge pool of words available. i don’t know why.

    today, i was schmoozing/providing a listening ear/nodding/biting my tongue. i hate schmoozing/providing a listening ear/nodding/biting my tongue. trying to get 20 writers to submit their work on time is like herding cats.

  25. If you’d accepted, it might’ve kept the whole shebang from being too depressing. I think blog burnout occurs more with bloggers who “have” to blog, for whatever reason. You don’t seem to be compelled either from within or without. You’ve got nothing to prove and you don’t make a living from it, nor are you trying to. I don’t see what you get out of it other than sheer fun and camaraderie.

    I don’t know that you’re trying to help anybody here, either (which might burn you out if it felt like you weren’t getting through to us), but you do anyway. Very much.

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