• 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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My Baby Does the Hanky Panky

A friend told me that she was going to writers “conference” this weekend. Those quotation marks looked mightily suspicious to me, so naturally I emailed her back. What’s his name? She wrote back, “I wish.” Now, I ask you, what is the point of going to a writers conference if it isn’t to swap saliva? All that built up tension, anxiety, insecurity roiling through the workshops. And don’t the girls look so pretty in their indian print shirts and espadrilles. And the boys all old spicy. Who, after all, could make a better lover than a writer? Someone who is sensitive but strong, deep but shallow, narcy and giving all at the same time.

Once, at a writers’ conference, we canvassed all the women and asked them who they would rather sleep with, Richard Ford or Tim O’Brien. I guess that dates me a bit. Ford won, by a landslide. What writer would you most like to sleep with? Living or dead?

84 Responses

  1. Why torture myself with the impossible? I’m holding a small glimmer of hope there will be a nice blind man living down the hall from me in my future retirement home phase.

  2. clive owen. (when he was clive owen in Closer.)
    he must have written something, right? maybe his name? does that count?

  3. I need someone who carries a guitar around with their words. I need to be crushed by the likes of Springsteen or Stevie Nicks. I’m feeling needy.

  4. I don’t think it’s entirely Joseph Fiennes that makes Shakespeare my choice. And because we get to make it the way we want it on Betsy’s blog, I wouldn’t want it to be cheap and easy. I’d want to be the one who’s the inspiration for this:

    O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
    And you and love are still my argument;
    So all my best is dressing old words new,
    Spending again what is already spent:
    For as the sun is daily new and old,
    So is my love still telling what is told.

  5. I had the hots for Frank McCourt (RIP) when I was 27. When I was 19 I wanted to sleep with F. Scott Fitzgerald, but later decided he was gay. Same goes for Tennessee Williams. I might make out with Zora Neal Hurston. Maybe Kevin Smith. Don Draper can take me anytime, day or night (he writes copy).

  6. E.E. Cummings.

  7. My father told me we need three lovers for life.

    Paul Verlaine for when I was a young woman, heady and susceptible, smitten with everything French.

    Cesare Pavese for the tumultuous middle years and long talks in the night.

    Nuriddin Farah for the stately older years.

  8. Oh, Flaubert without a doubt. Think how that beard would tickle!

  9. William Blake, in the garden, with a few angels, but only if his wife was cool with all the music we’d make.

  10. Ford is a pig! What is wrong with those women?

    • Maybe it’s the writer they desire, not the man?

    • He hangs out at writers conferences like a hound dog. Hangs out in short shorts with everything hanging out (such as “it” is) Such an arrogant SOB but I’ve still read all his books.

  11. Hmmm. Tough one but I’d take a cuddle with Toni Morrison

  12. Junot Diaz. When my Jewish writer husband got glasses, I started calling him Jewnot Diaz just to fulfill the fantasy.

    • Brava! I thought about him as he is already next to my bed.

    • The first time I saw Junot and listened to him talk for 2 hours, he would have been a top pick. Then I saw him in February and he was so flip and arrogant, so obviously bothered to be there speaking with us, I wanted to yank him aside (little nobody me) and tell him to knock it off.

      I like a little sugar with the brilliance, even if the sugar is the fake stuff in the blue packet.

    • Junot Diaz curses way too much in his readings. Not so sexy.

  13. I’m a married man and I’m not into necrophilia.

  14. Tom Robbins, for laughs; William Carlos Williams, for a quickie; Zadie Smith, for a walk on the wild side; Johnny Depp, if he knows how to write; um… how many choices do I get?

  15. Alexander Pope.

    I’ve got my reasons.

  16. The only writer I’ve ever really wanted to sleep with was Ali Smith. She and I actually exchanged a few emails way back when her first novel, LIKE, came out and way before her future novels were short listed for the Orange Prize and/or Booker Prize. I decided to give it a go and flirt with her a bit, even though there was an ocean between us (both literally and figuratively). And then, for some odd reason, I never heard from her again. Hmm.

  17. All the women writers at a residency once faced a similar choice: handsome, preppy Tracy Kidder or gray, bald, blue-eyed, so sexy Tobias Wolf. You know who won.

  18. Wolff. Sorry, I just woke up.

  19. Lord Byron!

  20. Joan Didion. Slouching Towards Bethlehem era.

  21. Do songwriters count? Dwight Yokum, 20 years ago. Otherwise, I think J.S. LeFanu.

  22. I can’t believe no one said Snooki? I guess I have her all to myself…

  23. Hm, Keats, Shakespeare, Louise Erdreich, Anna Akhmatova, Neruda

  24. aleksandar hemon: that voice.

  25. I was going to opt for a roll in some sweet-smelling, first-cut New Hampshire hay with John Irving, but someone mentioned Tobias Wolff and I got all twitterpated.*

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXBbgzQmpJw

  26. Apparently I’ve been attending the wrong conferences.

  27. A young Hemingway might be nice, Sam Shepard, John Lennon, JD Salinger all could be hot. The person in real life is often not quite all he’s cracked up to be such as Updike (very sweaty, clammy palms) and John Irving (really, really short and Hawaiian shirt and tevas a turnoff). Ditto Paul Simon. I’d rather have great, tantalizing conversation with them and beg off with some flimsy excuse, promising a next time.

    • Oh, Sam Shepard, Sam Shepard…I forgot about Sam Shepard.

      Yes, please.

      • Once upon a time I thought S.S. embodied all that is sexy. Then I learned he left he wife and kid for Patti Smith and he slid to the bottom of the heap. Sometimes it’s best not to know too much, especially when it comes to your heroes. Sorry, Sam, but the abandoned child is close to my heart.

      • The nice thing about the fantasy, though, is the name represents only what I care that it represent. In this case, Shepard is the smart writer who talks only about interesting things and has no other life besides what he talks about with me. Fantasy is fantasy – reality hardly comes into it.

        A little Maud Gonne-style worship from Yeats would be nice, but I hardly want the rest of the bullshit that I’m sure goes along with W.B. Or the time travel, for that matter.

      • Agreed. I was just pointing out that sometimes learning something negative can destroy the fantasy. Of course, it all depends on who and what we’re talking about. Obviously it can also have the opposite effect, adding fuel to a fire that may be blazing inside.

  28. Kerouac. For sure.

    • I’m with you, Petty. Or a threesome with Jack and Neal. But it would have to be Young Man Jack, before he got messy and vomited up his own liver, of course.

  29. Nicholas Sparks. Unless, of course, Alan Rickman has ever written anything…memoir, short story, grocery list…anything. *sigh*

    • Young Alan Rickman. Bad-boy Alan Rickman from that shoot-em-up movie with Bruce Willis. Not pasty, puffy Snape Alan Rickman. But yes. Alan Rickman. I’m sure he’s written like a check or something…

  30. Julio Cortizar, Emerson, Dashell Hammett or better yet some unknown soul who is all three, beckoning, brilliant and honor driven.

  31. Michael Ondaatje. Read to me, baby. Also, has the actor Idris Elba (Stringer Bell on “The Wire”) ever written anything? Just asking.

  32. John Irving, circa CIDER HOUSE. Or John Irving, circa anytime, to be perfectly honest.

  33. John Steinbeck.

  34. John Grisham looked good on his early novel covers. Might be the shirts. Might be the eyes. Wanted to hear the Missisiippi drawl.

  35. Chekhov! A writer who is also a doctor–sexy combination. Plus, he was cute in a tortured way.

  36. John Irving. Hands down, no question, and I don’t care how old he is.

  37. Uh…Michael Crichton?

  38. Patti Smith. I’m not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  39. August.

    Read to me, baby.

  40. Now that’s just sick

  41. Fitzgerald has my heart. i do believe it’s time to sign up for a conference. perhaps i’d have a chance.

    • Though the dead thing makes me feel squicky. Living, I’d have to go with Paulo Coehlo. Hmmmm…. Lost in fantasy now.

    • But Hemingway said Fitzgerald had a really small tool. Ah well, I guess many roads lead to Rome. And the aftermatch conversations would’ve been killer.

  42. Keith Richards, but 30 years ago. He wrote a book…

  43. Three words: Sir Philip Sidney.

  44. Top 5:
    1. Eggers (hook me up, Betsy)
    2. Upton Sinclair
    3. Steinbeck. Maybe Hemingway if we eat hard cheese, macaroni, and red wine.
    4. Jonathan Safran Foer (like the good jewish girl I am)
    5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  45. Mine used to be Steve Almond, but I dunno… that’s like winking and admitting that you like chocolate. And red wine. NEXT.

    Living: Simon Schama. Dead: Anton Chekhov. Dead and female: Caroline Knapp. Living, a slight acquaintance including FB and Twitter, and perhaps even reading this: Hah, no way in hell am I saying. But it’s a good little fantasy.

  46. I’d love a snuggle with the Daves. Eggers and Foster Wallace.

  47. Neil Gaiman. Stephen Elliott. Philip Roth.

  48. Poet Deb Futter

    But ask me which one I most want to kill: Richard Ford would make that list. What an asshole. And I dare anyone to quote from memory a single string of words he ever wrote.

  49. Anais Nin.

  50. no one said franzen here you liars! LIARS! how can you post to a fucking LIT GOD DAMN BLOG or whatever this is and not say him? OH! of course, push comes to shove this is how it’d go: first, i’d slap him! oh my god! yes! then, oh, that’s all, i guess. like fraiser and roz, we snap out of it. he doesn’t even deserve it. wait, maybe he does. he’s so funny! and when i read his cowardly piece i thought, oh, he’s friends with alice sebold. that’s so cool because even though she had that horribly reviewed book Lucky is tremendous. and the lovely bones, schmaltzy though it is, i bought in hardcover not discounted before i’d ever heard a thing about it (and when i was done said to myself ‘she accomplished what she wanted to’ thus went and found L). yet, her 3rd (?) book was so reviled, and really, there was terrible glee about it, wasn’t there? i love her and him, but only want to sleep with uhm, my 84-year-old neighbor? he brought a crowd to a standing ovation last month!

  51. Just read all these and am chiming in way late. Wasn’t it Gloria Steinem who said something like, ‘Be the man you want to sleep with?” I can’t remember. That said, I think Kurt Vonnegut was wonderful.

    And I kinda like pasty-faced Snape, jowls & all.

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