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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 Took A Wrong Turn and I Just Kept GOing

Dear Betsy:

My question concerns blogs written by writers. When are these blogs a good idea, and when are they not?  Because you work in the publishing industry, I’m wondering how they’re perceived there.  I also wonder what kinds of things agents and editors wish writers would not do in their blogs.   –Name Withheld

Dear Wondering:

First came the wave of book contracts based on blogs, perhaps the most famous being Julie and Julia, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, and Stuff White People Like. A blog is a great way to develop a voice, and to find an audience. My sense is that the best blogs have a real focus. So writing about writing generally is probably less interesting than writing about first novels, or rejection, or writers and fondue. When you submit a book to an agent/editor, you will probably include your website or blog link — or the agent will probably Google you if he or she is interested. You want that site or blog to look great, even if you don’t have a ton of content or a following. You want it to look like you have a web presence. I essentially started my blog to convince my publisher that I wasn’t dead yet, to convince them to let me do a revision of Forest for the Tree. Mission accomplished.

What do you all think out there — what’s the up or downside of all this blogging? Has it helped your cause?


82 Responses

  1. The downside is that Tucker Max occupies a place in my consciousness.

  2. If my cause is to find some amazingly supportive friends, work out some questions I have on various topics, exercise my ‘voice,’ and share some stuff (and fluff) I think is worth sharing, then yeah, blogging has helped.

    It also keeps me writing.

    • What Sarah said. And it does keep me writing, and engaged with other readers and writers. The unexpected surprise is that it’s become my mental warm-up routine. I blog (and/or read blogs) and then I set to writing. It’s a kick-start. Kind of like hitting a few golf balls on the driving range before stepping onto the first tee box and playing a 4 hour round.

  3. Geez. I hate being first. But I gotta go to bed. My blog has blossomed and my biggest readers are a stodgy group of economic philosophers. For some reason they enjoy parrying with me. One year I had one post. Now I am driven there sometimes several times a day. I LOVE reading my stats. Weak ego, I guess. But I love it and I am proud of it. I wonder what it is that makes me love my own words so much. Whether it is helping my cause remains unanswered at this moment.

  4. It’s an interesting parallel universe, teeming with all things good and bad. And getting oneself a domain name and a site and content more daunting than I first thought. Not there yet, but soon. For now, I’ll hang around here – the company is great.

  5. In my ADD-Gemini fashion, I have two blogs. One in the voice of…well, I think you know if you ever clicked on my name, and one more general. The former definitely conceived with a book in mind. To develop voice, to dump historical content somewhere I could find it (the notes section of my iPhone is cluttered with mysterious acronyms and notes to self, and therefore archived garbage).

    The latter blog had nothing to do with being published when I began it. It was conceived in that Joan Didion way, slouching toward knowing what the fuck I thought. About anything. But about writing, in particular.

    Once I got serious about selling my book, I realized that I was sort of fucked. My blog is not at all tailored to selling a young adult fairytale, so I crafted some half-hearted banal publishy type posts, and self-loathing ensued. So I decided to split the difference. Reign myself in just a tad, but still mostly follow a certain depth of inquiry when I post.

    It’s when I come here, to Betsy Lerner, that I am humbled. Relevance, honesty, following. This here is the model for a kickass writing blog.

  6. I have been thinking about using my blog to help the book I’m writing, but I don’t want to be just another here’s the book I published buy it blog. I’ve maintained a blog since the beginning of 2004, it now has 91,000 hits and is just my notes from Bible studies I attend. People now google questions and get directed to Wondering04’s blog. I have a counter that shows me what they come in looking for. I am hoping that if I stay faithful to that, then it will be useful for my book. As it is, my testimony is on the blog and that is the bare-bones outline for my story, so maybe it is well. I just bought a name for a blog through go-daddy, and may use that solely for books. I hope that helps. I am still getting my feet on the ground in this. Heather

  7. The upside is that blogging got me back into writing after years of writing for business purposes only. The downside is the distraction blogging can be, but on a scale of one to ten, it’s mild. A three. Sometimes a five. For this introvert, it’s the closest thing I want to a social life.

    • That’s one of the things I like about blogging–it’s a way to be social and safe at the same time. Most people scare me half to death and I never know what to say.

  8. My blog started to a way to find a community of writers. That’s it.
    It’s turned into a way to keep connected on the things I find important, whether it be on writing, or being a good mom, or being a bad mom, or stories that I just want to share with what have become a group of friends.
    I don’t know that it reflects accurately on my “real” writing, but it is a wonderful way for me to work on being honest in what I write whether it’s real or fiction. The honesty is between the lines sometimes, but especially in fiction it has to be there, and I think the blog has helped me to do that.
    I have no clue whether a professional would think it good or bad, but at least they’d have a pretty good idea of what I’m like.
    I hope to have to worry about it at some point.

  9. I sure hope it’s helpful. I recently started a blog specific to historical fiction and my target setting. It includes historical facts, personal essays and passages from my ms. Between scouring old photos, rechecking historical data and trying to write something coherent, it takes a lot of time. I’m always worried my best work isn’t at the top of the page where everyone lands.

    There are upsides. I’m receiving mail from readers, including one who decided to share her family’s history. People who help other people decide which novels to read and authors I admire. I’ve gathered a few readers from my area and will approach historical and expat organizations about giving a presentation. They can refer to my blog to see I know my stuff.

    If the book gets published, it will be a place for readers to check facts and get details about things happening within the story. A kind of companion guide.

    It takes a lot of patience and I believe you have to know what you want and how you’re going to get it. You have to decide if it’s a useful tool or not.

    • And of course, there’s always my peeps who just get me and make the blogging thing fun.

    • I think you’re using your blog just the way you should. It’s a good model for people starting out with the purpose of blogging to “support” their manuscript. The balance of personal, historical and pieces of the WIP works really well.

      • I always appreciate your support, Lisa. Even a little more this morning because I was thinking it’s not a good idea for an insomniac writer to comment on blog posts.

  10. From blogging I get the instant gratification of being published and read, despite the small following, without the muss and bother of submissions, agents, editors, etc. That’s also the downside of blogging. I want to write a book, not so much to get published (although of course I want to be), but for the discipline and sense of accomplishment, and to have a concrete object in my hand to prove that I did it.

  11. I went on facebook, twitter and started a blog last fall on the strong suggestion of publishers as new book came out. I’m off face book now, still twitter and am just finding my way in the blog world. I had one post where I got a few comments and some none. That is okay. I don’t have time to go after followers or try to chat on line–so on the blog I just “muse’ about what I care about there. It is not always books. I have followed some awesome bloggers and made great connections thanks to this blog. A lot of great writers out there.
    Now I’m posting once a week. A poem,a short few lines. That feels sane as I’m on a new book. I love love love reading this blog. I found it through your book!

  12. Blogging is a fad that will go away, the sooner the better. I don’t blog myself and have no inclination to share my inner self with anyone. Your blog is slightly insane so it’s different from the usual run of blogs. That’s the only reason I bother with it.

  13. Well, I’m okay because because I have a unique and dynamic combination of self-doubt, self-righteousness, and irreverent Youtube videos to offer people on my blog.

    Nobody else is doing that, right?

    Right?

  14. You could probably hide national security secrets in my blog. What I’ve learned is that the more inappropriately personal and honest, the less anyone could give a rat’s ass. That said, my blog has been the most fulfilling writing experience of my life.

  15. Love the title of this post. My blog started as a course assignment and then I just kept going. It feeds my hungry heart.

  16. Give me my blog or give me death!

  17. For me, the upside of a blog (mine or anyone else’s) is to give me (as a reader of the blog) an opportunity to get another look at what the blog author is all about. It could be their personal life; it could be their writing process; it could be the things they are interested in; whatever it is, it’s a look at something they’re willing to share beyond the books they’ve written. It also gives (sometimes just the illusion) that the blog author is open to communication and interaction with his/her fans.

    The downside is that, a few times, I’ve stopped reading a blog (or following a twitter account) because either I didn’t like what the author had to say or (perhaps even worse) I was bored by what they had to say. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to close that door once you’ve opened it, and sometimes I wished I’d just stuck with the version of the author that’s inside my head as opposed to the version on the author’s blog or website.

  18. This is an excellent question, and one I’ve been wondering about because of the conflicting advice about it for writers. If I WANTED to start a blog it would be a no-brainer, but since the thought of doing one makes me cross my eyes and loll my tongue in boredom, I guess that’s my answer. For now.

    That said, I go to several blogs every day/week, depending on their publishing schedule. Some are on writing, some are on crafts/cooking, and some are on any weird thing I’m interested in. I go for the voice. I’m a voice and plot person. Humor is a big plus.

    I understand that the real value of a blog for a writer (or anybody with something to sell) is to haul in email addresses so you can do some savvy P.R. when your book is coming out. I’m keeping that in mind.

  19. I blog to play with ideas and keep my voice consistent. I found that when I was not writing FOR someone (initially, my ideal reader was one of my only followers), I started writing like some academic poser. As long as my IR was there, I maintained the voice that works best for my writing.

    But then I, too, found peeps (both writers and educators), and now they give me feedback on ideas and voice. I wish I could blog more often, but then the paid (hopefully) writing does not get done.

    Plus, its fun and my writing looks all official and spiff with the photos and comments. Makes me feel legit when nothing else is being published.

  20. The upside is that a blog shows publishers you’re willing to write for free–so they know that you know your value. A ‘web presence’ is important because the Radcliffe grad who decides if you pay the mortgage thinks it’s important. Better that you spent days building a slick website without any content or traffic than you spent those same days beating the crap out of a character who serves no purpose or a sequence that bogs down–or reading. Or staring at a wall, letting the engine idle.

    The downside is, you’re not working. You’re dicking around. You’d stick to journaling but the fantasy that a Jersey Shore producer is going to discover your shitty little life is what you have instead of ambition.

    Other than stroking Radcliffe grads, which is eighty percent of a writer’s job, a blog is simply another way to stuff more crap into the crapshoot. It’s the equivalent of only buying lottery tickets on Mondays. Sometimes that pays off, then every mouthbreather in the lottery world oohs and aahs and says, ‘Well, I guess it makes sense to have a Monday presence.’ There are a million blogs as good as Julie and Julia and SWPL, and ten of them stumbled on the daily double. That’s a happy accident, not a vocational blueprint. Look at the counter-examples–they’re everywhere. Look at the deals reported in the past twelve months. A handful of the writers have more than a perfunctory website, almost none have a substantial following. Those who -are- successful at ‘social media’ are doing exactly what ninety thousand wannabes are doing to no avail. They don’t understand, what are they doing wrong? Should they blog three more times a day? Upload videos of their doll collection? Make bright, clever comments on editors’ twitter feeds?

    If blogging feeds our hungry hearts, that’s wonderful, a combination of chocolate and porn. God knows I’m addicted to Betsy. But in terms of a career, none of this matters more than Mondays for Lotto.

    • Don’t underestimate dicking around dear August. Maybe it clears out the clutter for the rest.

      So videos of my doll collection is where it’s at. I knew it!

      • ‘Clearing out clutter’ sent me groping for a metaphor about sweeping a dirt floor, but I’m too lazy to think it through. And you’re probably right, too.

        I once saw a book trailer where the author flopped her dolls around and spoke in ‘their’ voices. The only part I remember clearly is that she sells better than I do.

      • Ew. Talking dolls. Creepy.

      • Brings voice to a whole new level.

        Mental note.

    • Perfectly said. Other blogs are just simply not Betsy’s. I’ve read a few after an interesting post here but have never read any others regularly. My books get that writing time. I’ve bought books that were mentioned here but never bought one because I liked someone’s blog.

    • Oh August how you dick with us. One of these days I’m going to corner you and pull that mask off and see if I’m right about who is beneath.

    • A “crapshoot” is an actual thing? And one can stuff more crap into it?

      August, your first line about authors knowing their own worth made me ROL. That means Read Out Loud (to my husband).

    • You and truth, I see, are old friends.

    • Interesting about Radcliffe, though I think they no longer hand out degrees. When I was applying to college, my mother suggested I check out Pembroke as a way of applying to Brown. I called the admissions office for an application and brochure and was told Pembroke had merged in 1952. I blushed but the lady couldn’t see me.

  21. Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love. August, how many of the ladies are addicted to you? Do have any idea how many send me photos and love letters asking me to forward them to you. We all like your boot in the face. Love it. Look, I AGREE. You should be writing and working on your book. I should be writing and working on my book. Should we all Jim JOnes our blogs together? That’s the big gulp.
    Betsy

    • You mean you didn’t forward them?

    • Stay away from Guyana. All I’m saying is, we should focus on career strategies that’re more effective than blogs and twitting. For example, if you take my webinar, you’ll learn how to:

      * submit a manuscript three days before a similar novel hits the list.
      * choose a bestselling pseudonym after your real name is flushed into the Bookscan shithole.
      * use a narrative voice that appeals to editors who think Harry Potter is beautifully written.
      * discover three ways Swedish citizenship can build your career!
      * write a bulletproof query letter guaranteed to get you representation by an agent who sells every project for six figures.
      * practice extispicy on editorial assistants to predict publishing trends.

      Bah. Blogs. I don’t even recoil at the word anymore. Blog, blogging, bloggers. Next I’ll start using ‘re-tweet’ in conversation.

      @Betsy
      #helpme

      • So long as you do not slip into the current custom of using nouns for verbs, your credibility is secure.

  22. Blogs are just another way to get yourself to write every day. They make you accountable to someone, even if it’s just one lonely Nigerian spammer who might nod in agreement before selling your name to a fake Viagra manufacturer.

  23. In other news…AWESOME piece in the July/Aug Poets & Writers, Betsy!

    Love,

    Some of your cats.

  24. Blogging is just part of the job these days, something writers are expected to do. We used to be expected to wrestle with demons and drink, struggling over every word while we offended everyone dear to us; now we’re expected to blog. Plus ca change….

    A downside to blogging is it can become a frittering away of time and talent on trivialities. An upside is it can connect one to a wider world.

    I started blogging in March of this year, so I’ve not been at it long (I’ve had a website for five years, but it wasn’t a blog). I don’t know how to answer your question about how it may have helped my cause. No agents or publishers are contacting me, but I didn’t expect that to happen. Again, it comes down to it being part of the job. Part of showing up, being present. As Gordon Lish used to put it, “You gotta be open for business.”

    In some red-light zone I’ve heard of, the whores sit in lighted display windows so all passersby can see them. Such is blogging.

    • My publisher could give a rat’s ass about my blog. She has her own bordello with several different windows in which I could display myself, and does not appreciate the time I spend working fourth street.

      Luckily, I have never blogged to please anyone but myself. I like to write, and my day job requires only 20 hours of paperclip alignment. The beauty of blogging is that I appear to be hard at work, when in reality I’m posting angsty smut and stories about the batshit chick in the office next door to mine.

      Oh, here she is now, with vacation photos of the Grand Canyon at high noon. Smile, Averil. Nod and smile, there’s a good girl.

      • Just make sure the letter opener is out of reach.

      • I fucked up. As long as I was looking at my computer screen, baas couldn’t tell what I might be working on. But yesterday I let him see me reading a book at my desk, so this morning he assigned me a 30,000-page make-work scanning operation that I am to perform at a machine immediately behind his desk.

        I am a grown man with twenty-three years of schooling and twenty years of experience in my field, but right now I feel like one very angry baby. I sometimes hate this fucking life enough to want to chew nails and shit nickels, but I must remember it is the life I chose to be chosen by, and it ain’t so bad. After all, baas pays for my medical insurance (with dental!).

      • I find that a Kindle slips nicely under a stack of papers. Stealth, my friend. You have to make yourself easy to overlook.

        I have a grand total of ten years education, if we’re counting kindergarten. That’s why I just had my picture taken for the company newsletter, with my own sweet words to accompany it: what was I looking forward to before I began working here? (A paycheck, bitch, hand it over.)

        I’ve got that letter opener in my hot little fist, but am undecided about which way to point it.

      • I wrote the whole first draft of my current novel secretly on the computer at my old soul-crushing admin job. I used to keep my real work up on the screen (what little of it there was) and have Word minimised down to the tiniest sliver, so I could only see one line at a time. Worked a treat, I was never busted….as far as I know.

      • The second reason I come here, besides Betsy’s posts, is for the little gems of wit and humor y’all sprinkle your comments with, as seemingly thoughtlessly as butterflies shit on a summer’s day.

  25. Pretty much echoing other sentiments on here already: the upside is that it gets you to write; it’s a great practice in self-discipline and holding yourself accountable, and sure, there is always the chance that you could be discovered on your little slice of web space. The downside is that yeah, it distracts you from other writing. I just put my blog on hiatus for a little while, because I need to go through all my unpublished notes and old posts and see what I have on my hands exactly, because I do want to write a book from my travels that I am doing, and while some of my posts are close to how I would want them to be published in a book, a lot of them could be shaved down to a paragraph of what’s actually important. The thing with blogging is that there is no perspective. Whatever is in front of your face at that moment is what seems to be important and it’s only when you go back later and read it again and compare it to what you have since accumulated that you can you pick out what really needs to be said, and so in the end, if I could choose to blog or not to blog, I would choose not to blog, because the immediacy of it all bugs me and makes me feel jittery and out of control. At this point where I am as an unknown writer, however, I feel like the benefits outweigh the negatives.

  26. Cause? I’m supposed to have a cause? Freedom? Justice?

    ‘Cause just hoping to make a buck off writing isn’t much of a cause. Worthy pursuit, though, the almighty buck. Must be, if so many people chase it.

  27. I think, more than anything, it’s important to have a home on the web. A place to point people to, as though to say, “This is me.” Or perhaps, more accurately, “This is who I want you to think I am.”

    The difference between the two is troubling. And every time I post something that reveals my inner life, I feel embarrassed and ashamed. But also a little proud. In that way, the internet is a giant coming out party. Everyone fumbling to find some kind of public identity that tells some sort of truth about themselves. But maybe not the whole truth.

    And I wouldn’t blog in order to get a book contract. To do that, I’d try to write a good book. But I am naive.

  28. Gotta have the goods to blog,,,,otherwise, reading one can be like watching someone drool. For unpublished writers, it’s a slippery slope: finding your voice or frittering away valuable writing time. For those published and between books, it can be a good way to keep the thoughts flowing, especially if you have a following… but at some point you’ll have to get back to “work.” Truth told, blogging is fun.

  29. Thanks for this answer, Betsy. If your goal in beginning your blog was to convince an editor to let you do a second edition of The Forest, I think your goal in continuing to write has evolved into something different, just as it seems to me that the tone and content of your posts have changed (not to mention the extension of each post that is the comments section). A good blog post is an art form all its own. There are a lot of ways to write posts obviously, and they would never pay the bills (unless your cat pictures take off), but then people didn’t write letters to pay the bills, and yet they still wrote them. A blog post is a form of communication, a way of making serendipitous friendships, and a record of one’s life, a collection of postcards, a photo album, a binder full of pictures of stuff you’d like to buy, a list of the books you’ve read, a recipe book, the directions for how you paint a chair orange — and usually there’s at least one person besides you who finds what you have to say interesting enough to leave a comment. The blog that’s out there purely to flog a book is never all that interesting and never lasts that long. That’s because the writer’s heart generally isn’t in it and so the blog doesn’t have any life to it. Your blog has so much life, and is wonderful to read. It seems to be a form of writing that you were made to do.

  30. I’m ambivalent about the whole thing. You take the good, you take the bad. (The profoundly bad is when you start quoting the Facts of Life theme song.)

    I know this fabulous writer who told me she writes her daily blog post in less than 20 minutes. *sigh* Takes me 20 minutes to decide if I want to crack open a Diet Coke or a beer.

    • Sometimes when you pop open a diet coke, it sprays all over and makes a sticky mess. The beer just foams up a bit and you have to drink it faster. In most cases I’d go with the beer.

  31. I began my blog because my little corner of the world, the illustrated travel memoir world, was going to hell in a hand basket and I possessed amazing hand basket-smashing genius. Recently I found out that one of the most popular blogs in the world is about consumer research on lawn mowers. Until I know what to do with this information, I’m not writing another thing, least of my blog.

  32. Life is better with a blog than without. You develop an online persona, a place to put links for your existing books, access to people you would never have connected with prior to blogging, and a clatch of readers, large or small, depending upon what you’re going for and how hard you work it.

    I hated the Bush administration and, in its opening phases, knew (as a reporter) that it leaned heavily on the media to supress ugly truths about itself. Blasting W. was very therapeutic. That’s over now and the blog, the tagline for which is “Politics, Poetry and Prose,” is a place where I occassionally air something out that’s getting to me. It can’t be stuff that everybody else is writing, rather news gleaned from a foreign newspaper not covered here, or something I pick up on the street. Unwittingly over the seven years I’ve blogged, “highwayscribery” has become my patented brand and I’m thankful for it.

  33. Politics, poetry and prose. I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing, Stephen.

  34. Absolutely.Sorry, back again. Give me a twelve-pack and I uncontrollably want to know what Betsy Lerner has written on her blog. Is it the beer or Betsy? I’ll let the specialists figure that one out but they will never get a dime out of me while I’m conscious. Having run head-on into your blog, and its seductiveness, I have noticed that I want to be heard immediately and not tomorrow. My characters, which are so very much alive in my head, want to be heard Now, and not tomorrow. Not through a year long book publishing process. But, I have been dreaming of a great work, and it might be, but, the rest of it comes along with it. I guess that’s my growing up. I’m too shy, or too self-hateful to be a rock-star, so I guess I need to learn to wait, and work in a quiet space until the work is done. This, I have learned from this interesting blog. I still hate all of you, for your love of tragedy, but I’m no different, as it turns out, but all in all that’s the deal with this psychotic, life-loving, confused, highly perceptive dude that doesn’t live in the world of fame and therefore has no idea how it all works and wonders, possibly, if he should, for his own sanity. Separating consciousnesses is a tricky business. I used to think I was pretty fucking smart. I’m starting to think I need more practice. The one thing I can say with surety, besides my unwritten plot is excellent, well, it’s half-written, I have the poetic parts on paper, is Betsy Lerner is truly a artist at what she does. If this made any sense to you, you have serious problems—let’s hear!

    • Strange thing happened to me while on my way to exiting Betsy’s website. I thought about electricity, I thought about impetus, I thought about myself. I thought about why I should write to impress others, and why I should write for others, for instance, my little baby brother who didn’t want to live anymore. What do I know about that? Maybe he knew something I don’t. Maybe he just couldn’t face it, maybe he was too sick. Those are all the arguments, the family get-togethers. Sad, when it gets to that. My Shakespeare: Oh, toilers, breast-breakers, mountain-holders, in your hand, no doubt, you fathom the depths of humanity. So now, with this, I will try to break free. Be good to yourself, if nothing else: Mind yourself!

      • Hey. Just to make things clear. You, Betsy Lerner, have given me a master’s degree in the so-called artists world, the book selling world. I’m not writing that I like it, but now I get it. So, as rude and crude and really just obnoxious as I could be, and, to be honest, in all honesty, I was that, and those things, you decipher, you’re blog has changed my mind about many things, well, many things about writing, but, the most important is that I can write like a mother-fucker, and That is just exactly what I am going to do. So, I thank you. Just in case I never check in with your sexy blog, I thank you again. And I hope I see you on the road, but you hold no angst towards me. Hey! It’s only words, baby! Yo!

      • Jeff, remember, it takes more than writing like a motherfucker. You have to rewrite like a fist-fucker, and take notes like a two-bit slut with a terminal daddy complex. You up to it?

    • “Give me a twelve pack and I uncontrollably want to know what Betsy Lerner has written on her blog.”

      That sounds so charming, so innocuous. But actually it went like this:

      “Betsy Lerner is a parasite. I hope Patti Smith stabs her in the heart with a pitch fork. And then, Patsy Smith turns that pitch fork on herself. What a fucking joke. The whole Lot of them. God-damnit! I hate myself for being nice. These poor women with their poor sob stories sound like a bunch of criminals trying to get off. Did I argue back about emotional pornography? Fuck this place. I’m outta here. None of you are writers, you just want to connect with someone who will talk with you about the latest soap-opera, which apparently these days they are calling books. No need to reply to this, you dirty minded money grubbing worms, because I will only tell you to go fuck yourself and I will mean it whole heartedly, which is something I doubt you would be willing to attempt. Good-bye Betsy. Your sob-story is boring me to tears. You phony old bitch. Fuck you.”

      You remind me of an old boyfriend who used the twelve-pack excuse for all sorts of bad behavior. He clocked me with a half-full beer can one night and left me with blood in my eye and a sofa that stank of Miller’s. The next day it’s always, Oh, sorry baby, did I do that?

      One day my super took pity on me and changed the locks on our apartment. I packed the boyfriend’s shit in a Hefty bag and left it on the front step.

      I wish someone would change the locks on you.

      • Thank you for that, Averil. My two cents’ worth: I don’t care if you’re all atheists here, we should pray for Jeff. Somebody who acts that way is suffering harder than all of us put together.

      • Sorry is as sorry does.

      • Tetman, you’ve been almost Franciscan in your attitude toward Jeff. He’s got to learn what we all must learn: we’re all suffering, and the best way out of suffering is to help each other get out of theirs.

      • Good point, but that brings me, at least me, back to my point: What is the difference between real violence and a violence you read in a book? To you? Probably none. To me, much. Yet! You glorify the images you put in my mind and pat me on the back telling me that is the way the world is, and I’m supposed to accept this in peace, in quiet? Oh, I’m sorry, I guess you need meds to comply with this vulgar inhuman discourse. Thanks for quoting that rant of mine. I’m rather proud of it, but I’m still disgusted with you soap-opera whores. How dare you, and then try to get away with it. I’ll leave you alone, don’t worry. Life will teach you. It always does. And no, sorry, baby, I’ve never hit my girl, or any one else, except my little brother, but we were infants, so go read another sophomoric psychology book and try to figure out your complaint. God, I love this site. But, I promise, I’ll try to leave your abused, probably pharmaceutic-ally mind alone. And, go fuck yourself. Have you ever read one of Betsy’s books or are you looking for an agent to sell your popular TV culture? Which you unfortunately take as having a thought of your own, having a knowledge of life. Take a quicker, deeper look.

  35. Rabbit

    I was hoping to learn something from these responses as I am thinking of posting a blog myself. As an aged member of society I am trying to keep up with technology and contribute something of my own. I do appreciate the thoughts of some of you who have gone before me, Those are very useful, but I think most of us can do without the abuse. The vicious rants tell more about the writer than those they hope to hurt. As an artist and a writer myself I have had my own issues to contend with, I am not naive about life as there is already so much violence out there. It is interesting, and sometimes difficult, to write about real violence, one has to pull it from the depths of ones core, but perpetrating it on others is not useful. I believe any real writer reserves that for their book, letting it say what is needful and in context.

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