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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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I’d Find Myself Drowning In My Own Tears

"miracle bra" -- indeed

Real time, not simulated. This is right now. I  have a few hours to work on my script and what am I doing: checking blog stats, looking at other blogs, updating my events page, thinking about taking off my sneaker and doing surgery on my right pinkie toe, wondering if the new bra I bought at Victoria’s Secret will fit since I was too overheated in the store to try it on. I want to rifle through my in-box, but there lies madness. I also have a yen to clean out my files. Early onset PMS. I tell myself, I’m just warming up. Can’t sit down and start creating genius work. I think I’ll order those vacuum bags I need to get on-line. I will start at exactly 9:30, work until 12:30, have lunch, go the gym, go the laundromat and read a manuscript while I happily eat Mike-n-Ike’s from the dispenser with the little beaver etched into the metal plate that releases the candy. That beav and I go way back. Maybe I’ll start at 9:45. Not a minute later.

Anyone got any good stalling rituals or tactics?

61 Responses

  1. Being male,I would probably take a nap.
    Webb

  2. Checking blog, email, Facebook, Twitter, reading blogs, leaving comments, starting Twitter discussions to which I then add nothing, more blog stats, email, Facebook, Twitter, email again, blog again, then a cup of coffee, then words.

    For about five minutes.

    And then it’s blog stats, email, facebook, Twitter, more blogs, etc.

    Although now I write before opening my email inbox first thing in the morning and it’s totally changed my life.

  3. duh. here. hello.

    • Double duh.

      It goes a little something like this.

      I’ll just check if Betsy has a new post up. Nope.

      OK, I’ll just check again. Nope.

      Okay I’ll just check again. YAY!! Oh and Amyg has commented, and Sarah W, and TeriC and Glasseye and Lisa and Laura AND AND AD NAUSEUM. I’ll just go back to THEIR blogs and see what they have to say.

      Done.

      Ok, I’ll just check back into Betsy’s before I get off line. Oh look, here’s someone new who’s left a comment. What a great/stupid comment. I’ll just take a quick peek at their blog to see what other amazing/ridiculous things they’ve said.

      Etc etc

  4. “Anyone got any good stalling rituals or tactics?”

    Nope. No good ones. They’re all bad.

  5. Guilty here as well.

    I’m sure you’ve read it, but Fran Lebowitz speaks of how not-writing takes it out of you and leaves you feeling like a felon in her Paris Review interview.

    http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1931/a-humorist-at-work-fran-lebowitz

    • This is terrific!

      “Now that I realize I don’t hate to write, that I just hate to work, it makes writing easier.”

      Lord, I hope so . . .

    • That interview was priceless. Thank you. There’s even a line about toll-takers for Vivian.

      • Oh jeeeze. The idea of reading an entire Fran Liebowitz interview is so disheartening. I can’t do it, even for the toll takers line, which I’m pretty sure would have been a hoot in 1982, the last time anything Fran did or said was relevant.

    • Great interview. In particular I loved this :

      “Every time I sit at my desk, I look at my dictionary, a Webster’s Second Unabridged with nine million words in it and think, All the words I need are in there; they’re just in the wrong order.”

    • Thank you so much for posting this! I did about a week’s worth of laughing while I read it, up until the last few questions, which sobered me up quick. I’m thinking of printing out all 16 pages and putting them up on a big bulletin board. She’s my new mentor.

    • Follow links from my favorite blogs and then obsess, ruminating about whether or not my writing is that of an investment banker with a word processor.

      Then ponder how August and Fran Lebowitz never post here at the same time…

  6. Run last movie viewed through imdb.com. Then see how long it takes via the links to get to back far enough to an actor who made their last movie in black and white, or a movie that’s never been colorized. Check the trivia sections for each movie/ actor clicked, and then spend the rest of your day dreaming of when Jeopardy! goes completely Pop Culture and you can start living your life one daily double at a time.

  7. I bought your book yesterday from a booth at a teacher’s convention (TCTELA). I love it! I wish Forest for the Trees was dedicated to me because you seem to know how I feel. The next revision will be fine.

    It can’t be possible that there’s a world full of people who feel as I do about their writing, so for next time–you spell my name T A B A–oh, I’ll right! I’ll get to why I’m really here.

    Would it concern you if I put an exerpt on my blog? I’m eyeing about three lines in the last paragraph on page 6. I’d reference back to your blog.

    Whatever you decide is fine with me. Thank you.

    P.S. About your third revision, be sure to get the spelling of my name correct. As it turns out, I seem to be sensitive about such things. 😉 Tootles. LOL

    ROFL

  8. This seems to be hitting everyone at once.

    Glasseye gave me a wake-up call about this today over at her place, and I just swiped the topic for a post of my own.

    Is this a SADD thing? A winter thing? A post-holiday inertia thing?

    (And defying the laws of physics is nice, but a real miracle bra would do my taxes and clean the bathroom . . . I’m just sayin’)

  9. hmm….searching for oddball people from my past on Facebook, watching IMITATION OF LIFE, making a cup of mint green tea with honey, checking the story about the birds poisoned by the government in North Dakota, making baked apples with walnuts and cherries, checking to see if there’s a new post here. I have been writing today, though, in small increments. Maybe 30-45 minutes at a time, sometimes just 10 minutes. Good luck!

  10. Unfortunately, the best stalling ritual only takes a few minutes.

  11. Dicking around on the internet, estalking back my estalker, checking blog stats, taking photos of birds or whatever I’m obsessed with at that moment, cleaning, then blogging about cleaning as a stalling tactic. Eating things I shouldn’t while standing at the kitchen counter wondering what I should clean next.

    And what Beth G. said if she means what I think she means.

  12. YouTube. Netflix. The cleaning of the room. The writing of letters. Emails. Face picking, actually.

  13. Writing everyday, day in and day out has started to do wonders for my discipline, which was always sorely lacking up until this point.

    Now I’m able to get started with a grim determination, muscling through when I would rather hunt for chocolate cookies in the larder or check my blog stats (always dismal), see if any new blog posts have hit the reader (why do bloggers post so infrequently when they’re needed most), casually browse some NYTimes headlines, or if really desperate, pick up a novel.

    Procrastination was the name of the game for the past decade. The new name is brutal bloody minded resolution, such that I’ve written some 65k these past 3 weeks. I’d call that bragging if I were sure the quality was up to snuff. As is, I’ve got a work count and refuse to look back for the same fear that should have kept Lot’s wife in check.

    • 65k words deserves a little brag, Phil. Congratulations! I’m back to it these days too. It’s much sweeter now I’ve realized there is another stick and I didn’t lose the first 6 chapters of my wip.

      • Congrats on returning to the fray, Deb. Ain’t nothing better than the sweet, sweet satisfaction of scratching that awful itch. Please drop by my blog and keep me posted on how you wip goes!

  14. That photo! It burns my eyes!

  15. Only two children but how is it I’m passing those shoes that need to be put away for the fifth time? And the horoscopes. And Googling the people who made my life miserable back in school (I know, I know: I LET them make me miserable).

  16. You know what really works? Children. 18-year procrastination technique.

  17. I’m thinking I want one of those bras.

  18. I have a 4 year year old. No wait, she’ll be five tomorrow. That should change things and allow me to get more done. Yup, and I just saw a flying pig and I heard the temperature was well below zero in hell.

  19. Puzzles. My youngest has a Tinkerbell puzzle that is her latest obsession and I insist on helping. It’s holographic, and I suspect there is some kind of leveling magic when Tink’s eyes wink at completion. Whatever, it always seems to put me right.

    I hear doing laundry and housework is also a viable means of procrastination, but I haven’t had the same success with that one, personally.

  20. I look out the window to see what quality-of-life crimes my neighbors are committing so I can call the cops. So don’t idle your car for more than three minutes, don’t park six inches past the curb cut, don’t try and run a mail-order business out of your house, don’t “forget” to trim your hedge to the legal height, not on my watch, not when I’m trying to write.

  21. Procrastinate all you need to–it’s part of the process, isn’t it?–but join me in boycotting Victoria’s Secret! Not only because of the slave labor it employs (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-tasini/victorias-secret-slave-la_b_74261.html) but because I once had an account with them and they decided to bury my bill in an e-mail ad. Then they used wildly disproportionate strongarm tactics to get me to pay a usurer’s late penalty fee on a small bill I’d never really received.

    I decided to let my teenage daughter go into one in a mall, then took a U-turn back out when I saw a display mannequin on her knees in leather and lace. Do we want our daughters to find this a perfectly acceptable scenario in which to shop?

    They have revolutionized women’s undergarments. If you require them, you can get those ultra sexy items from many other places.

    (Down off my soapbox now.)

  22. Email is the devil’s tool. I get sucked in all the time, thinking some amazing piece of news will cross my electronic transom, but it’s always friendly recommendations from Amazon or (shit!) senior citizen dating ads since I’m approaching 50!!! Since when did 50 become a senior citizen age?
    Other stalling techniques: pet the cat, clean the air filter, eat, eat again, make coffee, drink coffee, go to the bathroom because of too much coffee, play Wii Ski with my son ( gotta bond), check Facebook, find a way to get Curious George off my chandelier (not a metaphor, he’s really up there), and the old standy, eat.

  23. Well, this week the Australian Open tennis tournament is on TV 24 hours a day. I like to watch them exercise. It makes me feel fit.

    Do you know how many potato chips you can eat while watching tennis?

  24. Reading this blog.

  25. I’m supposed to be starting revisions on my novel, THE RABBI’S MOTHER, but here I be! (http://www.josephinecarr.com/blog/index.php/being-god) So….let me get something out of it.

    I need a bunch of little-known, funky, quirky restaurants in Manhattan. Weird food, strange ambiance, that kind of thing — any recommendations, New Yorker’s?

  26. I generally get on task just fine. And then I proceed to take about four pee breaks an hour. I could be dry as the Mojave, but I convince myself that little trip is oh so necessary. I’ll do anything for a momentary distraction. Besides, I hear many folks do their best thinking in the bathroom.

  27. Largely personal grooming habits. For example, did you know that a 49 year old male’s eyebrows grow at 150x the rate of the prior 48 years growth combined ? Or that ear hairs, which had only yesterday been downy, soft, hardly even visible wisps, suddenly sprout like thistles with the tensile strength of piano wire ? It’s a scientific fact. Nobody warned me. Who has time to write when you’re turning into a fucking sasquatch ? Although I do seem to find the time to read your blog. Liking today’s picture btw, very …artistic

    • DJ,

      Have you got a blog? Liked your comment, even though you make zero mention of toe hair.

      Jody

      • Hmmm – something else to add to the grooming regimen. I’m afraid to look … No I don’t have a blog. 4 kids, hectic day job, WIP, etc – something has to give.

  28. Two words: medical marijuana.

  29. Thank you for the eye-candy. The previous one, not so much.

  30. Well, there’s the chickens to coax out of the tree. The frozen mice need thawing before I feed them to the snakes. Then I have to snap pictures of all my toil so I can let my Facebook friends know how riddled with gross minutia my life is. Then I have to tweet about it in a slightly different, more concise parlance. Then I have to run Trojankiller on my computer because I’ve been downloading pictures from Evil websites again, and while Trojankiller is killing, I’ll just watch some Netflix stash. The Tudors, perhaps, so I can watch lots of glitzy fucking in superb costumes and then tweet about that on my phone, and by then my computer will be Trojan-free and I can make $75 by writing copy for a bag of croutons, and then, maybe, then, I’ll actually write. But not before I check Betsy’s blog.

  31. quilt , look at facebook, repeat.

  32. I have to come up with excuses for: not eating better, drinking too much, and my nasty addiction to porn – not for writing. If I had my way I’d have have a split screen moniter, that way I could write with one and and masticate with the other (don’t ask why I make chewing signs with my free hand whilst I watch nude midgets). However, some things that keep me from doing the things I love are bill collectors and my wife.

  33. Well, I got breast cancer and that sure as shit worked as the ultimate procrastination tool. I don’t recommend it, however. It sucketh to infinity and beyond. Really, I’d rather have just worked my ass off and skipped the mastectomy.

    I will have a new boob in a few months, however, and don’t act like I’m not going for bigger. In the bonus round, they’ll lift and enlarge the noncancerous boob.

    Lemonade.

  34. Do the online crossword puzzle in USA Today.
    Read Betsy.
    Try to write.
    Forget it, maybe I’ll research a little.
    Nah, I’ll do another crossword puzzle.
    Try to write.
    Hmmm. Did they have gas lamps in Connecticut in 1850? Let’s see…
    And so it goes.
    I’m going to have to look up that New Yorker jigsaw puzzle, that has promise.

  35. I am so, so lucky I do not have a blog. With alla the various and assorted discoveries, reflections, rants, musings, and enthusiasms I go through during any given day, it would become a complete — and unprofitable! — brain sink.

  36. I actually picked up a very specific book today when I left my writing for a few minutes. One that I knew would just keep up my momentum and not derail me. (I had to go the bathroom, if you must know). It was Adair Lara, Naked, Drunk and Writing, and she said sit down! Butt in chair! Do not connect to Internet! Do not separate whites from colors!

    And I thought, damn, laundry, and went downstairs and did laundry.

    I did manage to work, during intervals of … Laundry.

    Reading this has long been favorite device. Commenting, and going to read other people’s blogs who comment…whole ‘nother level. Just what I need!

  37. Yesterday I went to a local university and answered 500 questions from a grad student. Also I spit in a cup. Top that.

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