• 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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Still I’m Gonna Miss You

To be stuck inside of Memphis with the heating pad blues again. Friends, because I am a bad ass, I turn it up high. All the way. Green. Gold. Orange. Red. I cannot read. I cannot sleep. I cannot swallow. I am in agony without ecstasy. It took me twelve hours to read the NYT front page review of the 25 year girl from Ponashe whose book is being called all the things I hate: luminous, numinous, transplendent, oracular, fablicity, concatacious, obliviosimous. I am as jealous as two slugs fucking in a snot can. Okay: I am weening myself off the oxy. And I promise that if I go to Silver Hill or Betty Ford or wherever Charlie Sheen scratched hash marks into the walls with his purloined Bic pen, I promise that I will not accept a power greater than myself, that I will not admit I am powerless over daisies, that I will not make amends especially to anyone I’ve hurt the worst. They are luminous enough, they are limned with light, they are dead to me.

46 Responses

  1. Okay, drugged-out or not, you made me laugh and laugh with this post. We’ll pretend we don’t know what that says about my psyche.

    Feel better.

  2. Betsy, I am NOT BUYING THAT GIRL’S stupid luminous book. Get well soon.

  3. Yeah, sounds like the kind of book you want people to think you read, rather than a book you actually want to read.

  4. Betsy, may your muscles relax (except for the involuntary ones and/or those holding back potential embarrassment) and may your pain fade into obliviosimous.

  5. Your photo looks eerily like the old underground bunker in Berlin.

  6. Maybe you can get Lindsay Lohan as a cellmate? She’s due another stint in rehab. Try not to shank her the first night with that Bic pen.

  7. Palm Springs is nice this time of year.

  8. At this moment, Pandora, my oracle of choice, believes that she is but a moment’s sunlight fading in the grass. No matter how ageless the Times says she is. And good luck with the weaning.

  9. Take me down, little Susie.
    Chestnut Mare & Eight Miles High
    Lucy in the Sky, etc.
    Purple Haze
    Roll Another Number
    Wild Horses, Sister Morphine

    Heating pad is good, Hillbilly heroin is good for easing the pain, but for recreational use? I don’t know; I just kind of remember the pot and bourbon days. Hope you’re able to get some rest through the pain and ride out the storm.
    Take care.
    p.s.–Didn’t see the Book Review yet (slow delivery up here). Did Sara Henry’s Learning to Swim get a good review? I read a small town feature about her and the book it and it sounded interesting.

  10. Pain AND suffering is never a good blend. Hope this injury heals soon. And if the person who invented the electric heating pad wasn’t offered a Nobel, then don’t you agree there is no hope for civilization?!

    Now – about today’s illustration: please assure us this isn’t a re-staging of a Marriott Courtyard visit…

  11. Kickin’ is kinda nice; it puts you in a good space, an honest space. For instance, the review you read, do you think that person uses those words on an everyday basis or they had a big fat dictionary next to them, trying to sell uncommon words as intelligence. Drives me nuts, especially when people buy that crap, lapping it up like starving dogs. Not to be too weird, but have you ever examined pain, or anxiety? Just let yourself sit in it and not be afraid of it and see what it does to you? From what I’ve seen, it drives the neurons crazy, they scrabble incessantly for a more pleasurable feeling. Denying them is somehow sort of fun. The pleasure always comes back, the pleasure of having won, that rush after having survived death, I know there is a word for it but I don’t remember what it is. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve kicked a few things and fucking with your own molecules, which have, apparently, been trained by nature to do one and only one thing under certain circumstances, has it’s rewards. Sometimes I get so bored I almost want to start drugging it up again just so I can kick. Interesting place to be. I’m so glad I’m not in your business. I’ll try to write a book for you to sell that you can just slap assholes across the face with and force them to write huge checks. I feel I owe it to you. I’m two chapters into Forest for the Trees and I only got a little paranoid that you were following me around. I got over it. But don’t hold your breath. That’s dangerous. Hope is a good thing, even if it is fleeting, as life itself is fleeting, but you never know. Now! Showdown with the molecules that don’t know what they want! It’s better than any book ever written. Again, sorry about the business you’re in, I’d probably be in prison if I had to put up with that bullshit. Anyway, back to work and I thank you.

  12. I saw “luminous” in that review and thought of you, ha ha. Awesome picture.

  13. Have a good wean. We need you sober. Last few posts have been astonishing but a little scary, perhaps like that painful wrenching of your back. Are the prescriptions making you sweat? All the references to slime, snails, slugs, saliva…

  14. Flava o’the week’s nuthin’ to pitch a fantod about when one’s already in pain. Unless yer bent that way. Lash o’the whip an’ all that.

  15. At some point I got to the point where virtually everyone was dead to me. Dead. People consistently disappoint. It fuels…something. Full confession: I’d give it up in a heartbeat. But no one asked.

  16. Thank god you didn’t ask a fucking question. They teach that in blog school but you’ll discover: we’ll write you anyway. This post goes on the Best Of album. And feel better. It’s just your mind, you know. Always has been.

    PS: These front page luminous brilliant things? They always suck. Name one that has survived as a major book. (Did Francine write the review? She’s been guilty in the past. She gave us the Saffron Five, among other fiascos.) Whereas when Roger Rosenblatt took out after American Psycho with a commissioned execution a full 4 months before pub date on the front page of the Book Review, you could guarantee THAT book would have some legs. I teach it every year now.

  17. I tried to stay away, but this is much like a drive through, while figuring the motive for a character that seems to tell the whole story but really has only two good sentences and good habits, as a background. Anyway, this was too good to pass up since your kicking that lovely pleasure. And I think I’ll do the new sexy version as a PS. But in the meantime, the first vampire book was written how long ago? All in all, lucky find no matter how you look at it. :

    • And of course the sexy version:Sorry, I guess Amy isn’t sharing on you-tube. I like that girl. I hope she ends up like a Patti Smith. Although, I might be talking with my penis, imagine that. Hey all you people! read Food and Loathing, and then Forest for the Trees. Oh wait! I can embed another song with same theme; Good night and good luck: Live, eat, fuck, argue, figtht, give birth, die, hope, hate, will, want, beg, begone, and all those in excess if you must, it really doesn’t matter,.and other such things. Thanks Betsy. I’ll keep going. What a strange find. And now this! Turn it up! Get well!

  18. And never leave thithout a really good good buy. I bet your back is good by now. As strange as it may seem, you made sense for this age, this era. But one more song, since it seems you like them, i do too!

  19. Are tigers the new vampires?

  20. Don’t be jealous. Ce n’est pas necessaire. Look at you, sweetie. Divine Vitriol. Think long and hard before going off the oxy. This could be just the beginning of hitting a new vein. I love this you. The director’s cut version.
    I am glad the back is better.

  21. Oracular must die.

  22. Fuck 25 year olds. What the hell do they possibly have to write about?

    • I had plenty to write about when I was 25 and it was most likely all the more powerful for not having years of internal editing and censoring. I just didn’t have the skills or a strong enough desire, unfortunately. More power to anyone who gets it done, young, old or anything in between.
      (But hell yes, I’m jealous.)

  23. That pic bears a striking resemblance to my first apartment. Slap a grease caked cook top by the sink and voila.

    I would feel sorry for you and say I hope you get better soon but I’m lamenting the fact that I will never be a memory athlete.

  24. Luminous shmuminous. If that girl looked like Ugly Betty would she have even got a contract?

    • THe girl didn’t ask for the review, she didn’t ask to be beautiful, or gifted by all accounts. I don’t have anything against her or her book, it’s the way they write these reviews. No cussing, no sense of humor, no awareness that luminosity is darkness and darkness is light.

      Love, Ugly Betty

      • Luminosity is darkness alright. I see what you mean about the review. The same words could have been used to write about Aunt Mary’s cupcake recipe. The guy was fucking evil. He should have had his cock sawed off with a dull blade and stuffed down his throat. I hope she sells a million copies.

      • She’s spot on at the end of the review when she says most people don’t want to actually hear about the crime though, that they’d rather say oh, how awful and that’s the end of it. Maybe unsensored she would have told us all to stop being a bunch of wimps and face the hard truth.

  25. Sorry to push you Betsy, but The Good Earth is required summer reading for my incoming 8th graders and I really need you to get your adaption out there in the world. So rest, relax, heal, then whip out your red pen and get back to work.

    Your faithful readers need you back to yourself (especially as it’s report card season and I need procrastination fodder).

  26. Not to diminish your pain in the slightest, but I loved the slugs. Think I’ll go out and dig in the garden and look for some more entertainment.

  27. Jealous as two slugs fucking in a snot can. Snort.

  28. I hate it when authors juxtapose things–it’s something we learned in 7th grade so I’m probably not going to rush out and buy the book. As far as the review itself goes, my old managing editor at the magazine, a former Times guy, told me as a 24 year assistant editor never to read the Sunday Book Review–it’s written for neophytes and Sunday tire kicker types and it’ll depress the hell out of you. Only read the reviews in the daily he said, which I’m still doing 30 years later. Betsy, I hope you’re better. I’ve read both your books and just started commenting your blog so. Please be well and heal–your work is life altering!

  29. Just to fuck you harder, Alice Elliott Dark is the first person I know who used “limn” in a sentence.

  30. But you did it so well, too. Sorry.

  31. Betsy, you are hilarious and I love this post. (I tweeted the snot can line.) But all you commenters dropping f-bombs on a girl you’ve never met and a book you haven’t read should spend a few hours reading the thing before posting about it online. Tea was my student and is my friend, and her book is awesome. She started it in my workshop. She is one of the hardest working, most serious young writers I’ve ever met, and though most of us don’t ever get the success we deserve, you should be glad that this week, at least one of us is. She’s on your team, folks.

  32. I’m coming off a ten-year-long writing block, am 17 years (GASP!!!!) older than Tea, and am, of course, jealous as hell. BUT! Somehow it doesn’t sting because she’s actually a nice, deserving person whose book really is good. Or wait, maybe it stings more? I can’t figure it out.

  33. Yes, I always feel that way when a brilliant young thing gets published, gets the reviews, gets the rose petals and eau de vie. It wasn’t me.

    But, I go on, because what else am I good for? Blooming late, even if I end up being the freaking century plant.

  34. […] granted insight, can I be as gutsy as Betsy Lerner? She says things about writerly envy like “I’m as jealous as two slugs fucking in a snot can.” I want me some of that […]

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