• 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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Do You Really Want To Live Forever

Whenever I  was set up on a date or about to meet a boy, I always imagined it was IT. You know, the Big Love. The station wagon with a blue peg and a pink peg and a golden retriever if I weren’t allergic to dogs. We wouldn’t be like anyone we were, flawed and ugly and twisted with shame. We wouldn’t have terrible secrets, or the calloused hands of others all over our bodies. We would be like the stiff spine of a new bank book, a virgin passport, something to swipe for the first time. We would be the first man to ever touch a woman there, the first woman to slip beneath a wave of pleasure. With french fries dragged through thick ketchup, your fingers in my mouth, fat thumb!

This is my weekend: four new manuscripts each one might save me, each one might walk down the aisle, each one might fuck you and you and you and you. This, too, is what I live for, some insane hope that I might cry or forget or remember or torment the small cloud for covering the sun. We read all weekend or  go antiquing in hope that a small pot of clay from the 17th century might be glazed with a yellow horse and you alone will understand its terrible meaning. You alone will think these pages, these pages, these pages. Hoof print, lily of the valley, formica boomerang, oxycodone, skim milk, Houdini’s handcuff, the sentences you worship, the thread count. The thread count! Do not be gentle! Do not be kind! Wake me from the almost dead. Hush, Saxon, say it again.

36 Responses

  1. I don’t suppose anyone has ever mentioned how well you write? Power!

  2. How creepy.

  3. THIS is tsunami-powered, devastating in a good way.

    • And my first post was tin-eared in the sensitivity sense, especially as I have been sad for Japan all day.

  4. Fist over fist you rounded up the gloom-clouds and tempest-tossed them into a roiling cauldron of sea-salt tearage! Cross-convictions lofted the desiccated clouds upon Poseidon’s mighty tongue, whereupon he gummed them to spidery nubbins. Aphrodite grabbed a sponge.

  5. Addicted to your posts and this is why

  6. Love your pictures. I think somehow, our religions, our religions based on fear, as they all are — if you don’t do this than you don’t get that, have driven us into an insane boredom. If there is a god, as people picture this all encompassing intelligence, what’s his fucking problem? Or maybe the boredom, drug seeking, whatever your drug is, boredom, is the friction that drives us to do more, which of course gets boring. It’s nice that that girl, in that picture, doesn’t demand he take off his get-up. Guilt, shame = boredom. What the hell were those people thinking? Those people that set the stones for the world we live in. I guess they didn’t have this much foresight, and now we need to go figure. And other such things.

  7. I often find myself wondering “What the fuck is going on?”. This is one of those times. You had me at people pegs, but lost me at hoofprint.
    I’m always the kid during adult swim, and the adult in a pool filled with peeing, screaming kids.
    Either way, always the odd one out, missing out on the laps, or the splashes, or the underwater tea parties. Sigh.

  8. Optimism. It bites you in the ass. But when it doesn’t, and that fast food clown hammers you a good, toe-curling one, it’s worth it. Right?

  9. I don’t believe it. A reach beyond your talent.

    Not to mention that self-loathing is easier to watch when iterated in third person. Write this about your worst enemy and you’d garner some sympathy for the target of the loathing.

    Memphis Trace

  10. You had me at lillies of the valley.

  11. Placing all your eggs in one flimsy little basket? Isn’t there an overused proverb about that?

    Be like the alpha male. Scatter your seed.

  12. Excerpts offered here from one of my favorite books, that of the Preacher (and no, I ain’t no holy roller, I’m just another working man, another Odysseus seeking his way home):

    “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit…. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart…. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might… of making many books there is no end….”

    • And then you find yourself bored and hoping you didn’t hurt anyone, with your sarcasm. That all sounds good, wise words from wise men, but, man, it just doesn’t fill the hole. By the way, I went to your web site and read some of your short stories and my first thought was that people actually gave him money to recycle the sentimental emotions that are keeping us stupid, denying the inevitable…,I’m sorry, I couldn’t finish it. I just knew there was going to be a lesson about how life is so grand. You’re opening paragraphs told the whole story. Clunckity clunckity clunk, and then some wisdom about life or something. I couldn’t read it. Man, I hope you take this to heart and not to your balls. Jeff, out.

    • Tetman, you’re a clever man. You don’t need me to tell you to ignore unsolicited writing advice from a simpering adolescent whose paragraphs require a map and compass to navigate, and who repeats ‘go figure’ and ‘you rock’ like a third-grader with Tourette’s. You’re a gentleman, and an adult, but I’m just third-grade enough myself to point out that the first dollar you made as a writer is one more than this miscreant ever will.

      Don’t take this to heart, Jeff. I hope it goes straight to your undescended balls.

      • I do take it to heart. I doubt you know why you have the time to do anything but survive. But that is a story you will ignore. I have no doubt. Just out of curiosity, what makes you think I have balls? Jeff is a boy’s name? I doubt Tetman was offended. YOU, on the other hand, are a different story. Look up the word Coddling. Just out of curiosity, if the balls I surely have, descend, then I will start writing that things are all right, everything is a-OK? Is that what having balls is? Submission? Man, are we from the same planet? And I’m sorry I embarrassed you all those months ago, it was all in humor. But, the psychology crap you tried to cover it up with was embarrassing. I felt bad for you, but not so bad that I don’t like you enough to say hey! You’re full of shit. Or something like that. People, go figure. By the way, I really do like your pictures, I just think you need to think more bravely. Again, go figure.

      • and cipher, which I take to mean, after watching Gun Smoke reruns, to mean do the math.

  13. I’m a 300 hread-count percale kind of gal striving for the soft feel of 1200 thread-count Egyptian cotton.

  14. 4 Promising New Manuscripts. Sounds like a dream weekend to me — I hope you fall madly in love with every single one of them, Betsy.

  15. Whatever I had to say was wiped from my mind by that disturbing picture. Thanks to you I threw up a little in my mouth and I’ll have that bile aftertaste in my nose all day.

    Potential. It’s a new book written by your favorite author sitting on the shelf. It’s a surprise package delivered by the ugly UPS guy. Anticipation.

    I can still taste the bile. Thank you.

  16. After reading this post I thought of how not all things compelling are beautiful, but nearly everything we consider beautiful can be compelling. As writers don’t we try to make it work both ways? The language you use, Betsy, makes ugly truths and pain beautiful as well as completely compelling.

  17. I was in the library today and speed read your book in about 2 hours. I skipped one or two chapters, but the bits about writers’ psych profiles were hilariously on point for me. I must be a writer, then — I have all of a writer’s flaws.

    And now I find your blog, and find your blog quite good. Well done and thanks.

  18. When did throwing up in your mouth become a means of expression?

  19. Lumpen—great word.

    • Sorry I didn’t get it the first time, the picture, I’m always so involved with my own thoughts, And what a wonderful thing these blogs, but that picture is great — come-on Ronny, give it to me!

  20. This Ronald McDonald image is most distressing.

  21. Gives a whole nuther meaning to the Big Mac

  22. I would say just because, but because gives me a nervous condition. Anyway, Joy Division for anyone that’s never heard of them —

    • And, for all you writers out there that plug into Betsy’s blog, one more song. And my point is writing is like singing and it is good writing. I won’t piggy-back on Betsy no more but it has been fun. Read you all later you sentimentalists! You fools! You lovers! You cowards!

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