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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 My Own Little Corner In My Own Little Chair

Okay, fuck the query letter. But before I take my pre-holiday dive into depression, weight gain,  and the return of the winter rash between my big and second toe, I have to tell you something, Nation. Tonight, from 6:45-8:30, I was in the GREEN ROOM of the Colbert Report. I was there, of course, with Patti Smith. Mr. Colbert is too big of a pussy to have me on his show and take me up on my challenge to eat through an interview. But the laugh is on him, because I ate through his green room: raspberries, blackberries, pineapple slices as thin a permanent paper. There were six kinds of cheeses, crackers, prunes (though maybe just large olives), and a HUGE JAR of m&m’s. Yes, folks, this is LIVING.

When he came to meet Patti before the show, he was super polite. Amped, but polite. Whoa, they pile the make-up on. A dog called Elvis was running around, very cute little Benji style dog. The lady said it was a rescue dog. I always feel a little shitty when people say they have a rescue dog and it’s not just because I paid a small fortune for a cockapoo to be shipped from Ohio. Or maybe it is. Did I mention that we got totally GIFTED with SWAG. Yes, that adorable woman running around Manhattan with a cap emblazoned with “C” is me. I’m never going to take it off. Patti did great, by the way. It’s on tonight, Monday, if you’re up.

Well, my carriage has turned back into a pumpkin. My footman a big fat rat. What is your craziest fantasy of success as a writer?

64 Responses

  1. in downtown louisville, they hang these huge posters that are the size of two-car garage doors down the side of buildings with famous people from the area. it’s a black and white picture of the person and the bottom reads “Diane’s Louisville” (for Diane Sawyer), and “Ali’s Louisville”, (Muhammad Ali), and “the Colonel’s Louisville” (Colonel Sanders).

    i want an Amy’s Louisville. (i also want my hair to look as good as Diane’s looks in her poster.)

    Is that asking too much?

    • Too little.

      I dream of the day when I reveal that all of the books on the NYT list–the sensitive evocation of belowstairs love in the reign of Henry V, the second-rate Swedish mystery (now, with more Sweden!), the gruesome psychological thriller featuring a forensic gynecologist, both of the latest ethnics-in-exotic-lands novels (one earnestly agonized and the other charmingly deracinated), the three indistinguishable page-turners, the endlessly boring historical novel about a murdered twin, the tarragon trade, and an entomologist in an obscure war, the slightly-disappointing sequel to a cultural phenomenon, and the literary shitlit nobody reads but everyone loves–were in fact written by me.

      But if I had hair, I’d settle for a poster.

    • The thought of my picture hanging on the side of a building makes me break out in hives.

      I’m far too shy for that. I want a small and possibly insane cult of readers who wear black trench coats in July and read my dog-eared secondhand books by the light of their cherry cigarettes while crouched on darkened windowsills or under the stairs or at the crackling center of a corn field in Iowa. Only when one of my books is found, sodden and covered with smeary unreadable notes, in the pocket of a jumper at the bottom of the Potomac, will I consider myself a success.

  2. Johnny Depp is starring in the screenplay of my bestselling novel and we have an intensely hot, but secret (so no one gets hurt) affair, and I am 25 years old. Again.

    I suspect this fantasy is not unique.

  3. My face on the B&N tote

  4. Picture it: Spring 2012. The predictions of just about everybody we thought was a fool is coming true: The world is, indeed, going to end. But the end will not come with a blast or a whimper or another made-for-tv-eotw movie. No indeed, it will be a reading on all world television stations, computers sites, and whatever else the modern world has produced, of the book by one Elijah P. Smith, entiled: See ya! Elijah you see is descended from all lineages of humankind and her reading is going to end with her suicide…and it will be known that she is a virgin. tick, tock, tick tock…
    Adaribieosltilsot (which is Esperanto to goodbye)
    addendum:. The book sold 8 million copies with this pr “stunt” which turned out not to be a stunt at all. What pleasure it was for Elijah to have sold so many books and then plotz! Elijah will rise again.

  5. I want to be invited to talk at TED.

    And I want to use that Japanese toilet in Colbert’s green room.

  6. Vivian, believe it or not, it’s too hot. It’s like getting your ass branded with a big “C.” But there is an adorable photograph of Stephen, Jon, and Conan doing some kind of fairy dance. I should have snagged it for you. Dang!

  7. I’m totally jealous…I did see the interview, which was great….I love what she said about being an artist–a full-time job like being a mother and it’s HARD WORK….I like Patti because she’s down to earth….

  8. Always wanted to be sitting next to somebody reading my book on a train or plain with my picture on the back. And have somebody give me that “WOW IS THAT YOU!”

    Oh vanity, I suppose I am a glutton for it.

  9. My craziest fantasy about being a writer is to earn the respect of my husband and friends. Because I know they think I’m insane spending so much time on a 300 word tome that will possibly never go anywhere.

  10. I posted about the “perfect writing life” a long while ago, and haven’t come up with anything new:

    My mildest, most practical fantasy —the one without the green wing’ed unicorn named Pulitzer or the private, bookcase-lined office with the carved, wooden spiral staircase and large picture window overlooking the wing’ed unicorn run (fly?) and the shirtless unicorn-keeper who looks just like Prince Harry —usually involves rolling out of bed around nine, taking the five-minute commute to work via the bathroom, sitting down in front of my laptop, and cranking out my daily word-goal by lunch while still in my jammies.

    The muse is always present, the book is always contracted (and earns out), and there’s more than enough time to write and do research before the kids come home.

    And, while I’m dreaming, my subclauses are always under control.

  11. Betsy, I am imagining you wearing that “C” hat at the office, during every meeting, and maybe even sleeping in it. I won’t say “Lucky You!” because you know how much f-ing work went into getting Patti from pre-pub to that Colbert interview.

    My writing fantasy: To see my as-yet-unpublished memoir in print, and to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

  12. I was brushing my teeth last night when I heard them announce Patti Smith, so I ran downstairs and caught the whole thing. She was so good.

    My really crazy writing fantasy involves somehow making enough money to buy a little shack on the water down the shore, and a little rowboat or Boston Whaler or something, just so I can name it “The Narrative Ark.”

  13. To be published – and that, ladies is gentlemen, might just be a crazy fantasy.

  14. Cormac McCarthy. I suppose I’ll have to grant Oprah one interview.

  15. To be the first author ever asked to be on Dancing with the Stars. I’d partner with the blond one and we’d trounce Al Sharpton and Justin Beiber in the finale and take home the mirrorball trophy .

  16. Awesome!!!

  17. The door bell rings. I open the door to see a carton at my feet, the UPS guy waves and drives off as if it were just any ordinary carton. I lift it and carry it into my kitchen table. Cautiously I slice open the packing tape and lift out the packing paper. The smell of freshly printed paper and ink pours out of the carton. My first book. That’s all I need, that smell of ink on paper. And of course the VERY good bottle of red that will be promptly opened. My fantasies are modest.

  18. A comedy-writing four-way with Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Conan O’Brien (sorry Betsy!).

  19. “Fuck the query letter.” Love it. And the show, foods, dog, cap with the “C”? Terrific descriptions. Thanks for the fun read.

    My craziest fantasy. Mmm. How about, Katie Couric gushes over my memoir and follows it up with “Assignment America,” where Steve Hartmann profiles the way I single-handedly changed the trajectory of failing bridges, near and far, across our fine nation. Then they both swipe a tear from their eye.

  20. Making a banquet speech. On the occasion of winning The Nobel Prize in literature. Maybe quoting Kanye. “And take this, haters.”

  21. It’s hard to say, being a Princess and all. My friends are way more famous (though not nearly as fancy). This one famous writer friend of mine (who shall not be named) is planning on attending the royal wedding. She’s not invited, but she’s going anyway.

    That’s what I would want as a fantasy. Balls. And not the type they throw at the Hof!

  22. I decided to become a writer because I wanted to be on the Johnny Carson show. That was the reason. I would have been happy with the 12:30-12:45 slot.

  23. Dedications and acknowledgements: I write them in my head in the middle of the night.

    Do they have places for these in e-books?

  24. I’d say stuffing your face in the green room of the Colbert Report & getting a bunch of free stuff (oh and getting an award); I think that’s the pinnacle!!!!
    Congratulations my old neighborhood friend 🙂
    Btw: what’s up with the rash!?

  25. A few Pulitzer prizes and a Nobel before I die, just so I can shove it someone’s face and say Ha! Fuck you. Oprah giving me one of her houses before that great big glam bake. Jesus Christ himself, along side of King Solomon and Moses, spreading the clouds and coming down to earth to tell me they couldn’t have put the whole thing into perspective better than I have, and then! God himself shoving them out of the way to say, Shit on stick even I couldn’t have put it better—you are the fucking Man. Some peace of mind after that, meaning no one bugging me about stuff of Any kind. I don’t think that is asking too much. I’m a fucking artist for God’s sake!

  26. I need to pay off my student loans.

  27. I’m sorry, my mind works slowly. The question here should be why is Patti Smith on the Colbert show? Because, good people, she herself has become a joke. A junkie done did good. God, I hate to write that but it’s true. Oh, well, art goes on as it does these days, meaning in the last hundred years those who are fuck-ups and get attention are the icons. If you disagree with me, name one thought, just one, just a portion of a thought, that Patti Smith has introduced to the human conscience, besides I Fell Good—that’s James Brown. Wait! I get it! She’s a girl!

    • “Anger is a very good energy with which to write. It makes me not care if I am going to hurt someone’s feelings or if someone will enjoy what I have written.”

      “I often have a good time letting people get the wrong impression of me so that I can see what kind of people they are. It is very entertaining for me.”

      Both of these are direct quotes from you. Which one applies to your comment?

    • You fell good all right. Now stand up and apologize for slandering the human conscience.

  28. You could find no other place for this misogynistic, vituperative rant, than the blog of the agent who brought her the NBA? You’re the joke here. And the fuck-up.

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