• 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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Are You Warm, Are You Real, MonaLisa Or Just a Cold and Lonely, Lovely Piece of Art?

I’ve often wondered what it’s like to be an actor and go out on auditions. Standing on a stage, a few deep breaths, a monologue. Someone calling out, “Thank you, next.” I’ve wondered what it’s like to be a dress shirt on a dry cleaning carousel. Or to be taller than everyone in the room, to have a cashier’s love for change, or to find a tiny monkey carved from a peach pit under the stage. Is this my imagination?  Or the last thing I will ever write?  No, sweet love, this is just a small child’s forehead waiting, in the dark, for a kiss goodnight.

What is more important than writing?

48 Responses

  1. What is more important than writing?

    everything, nothing and all in between
    writing has no place in art
    it’s mostly just obscene
    spattering thoughts
    telling lies
    it’s the what that’s more important than writing
    (second only to the who, but before the when, where and whys)

  2. For me? Being a mother to and for my children…that’s it. Oh, well, and not acting like a complete asshole to the rest of the population. That’s pretty important too.

  3. “Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a dress shirt on a dry cleaning carousel?”

    …sounds like the beginning of a query SlushPile Hell would shred to pieces.

    Love that bastard.

  4. Loving, living, pissing, shitting, eating, drinking, sleeping, and dodging bullets are all more important than writing. There may be other things, too.

    I was an actor. I did the auditions and the performing. There was no high like the high of being on stage. The roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the applause. No life is both fuller and emptier.

    I have been taller than everyone else in the room, but I am not freakishly tall. I can tell you what you’ve possibly heard is true: taller men get more sex and get their way more often in many ways, both obvious and subtle. But getting in and out of small cars can be a pain. Literally.

    Those other items you mentioned I know nothing about.

  5. love
    (the small child’s forehead) (or the tall man’s) (or your own)

    wondering/wonder is a close second

  6. My loved ones are more important than writing.

    Of course, some of my characters are among my loved ones, too . . .

  7. Today? Well, after my first mother/son guitar lesson with my obscenely competitive tween (can’t imagine where he gets it), the ability to move from A major to D major without looking down at my fingers during the song “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore.”

    I love that kid, but I’m going to kick his ASS at our lesson on Monday.

  8. I don’t know what’s more important than writing. The first cup of coffee of the day? That sweet feeling of contentment, when you know that the time you are wasting is yours and all yours? Love? Probably a lot of things. But I, too, have often wondered what it’s like to be taller than everyone in the room. Or how about what it must feel like to ride your horse back to your one-room cabin in the woods? Or to wake up bobbing in the middle of the sea?

    • Nice couple of image of loneliness. I’ve been trying to write about my family, for 20 years now I guess, and now that I am able to harness images like you threw down in a couple of sentences, I am able to move forward with something I need to do. That sort of stuff is really very beautiful.

    • I am writing a book about a person driven by loneliness, lust and unearned money to live in a cabin in the woods. I feel the horse might be essential now…This writing thing, it’s word-taxidermy of the emotional and sensual, though that is not nearly sufficient.

  9. The person who pays the majority of the bills so I can keep writing. That’s important. I’m big on shelter, electricity, indoor plumbing, a fast WiFi connection, and fine cheeses.

  10. One of my teachers once said, “Art means full belly.” Whatever sets the foundation for writing to happen is probably more important than the writing itself. I’m not one of these people who loves language for its own sake, although I do love the turn of a good phrase. Writing is meant to reflect, refract, resize (either up or down), reacquaint, remind, and reveal to us whatever is actually important to us. It’s the woof that winds through the warp of bare existence.

    And then once we’re over the survival hurdle, a body of work is the closest many of us come to an afterlife, but then, that’s just another attempt to continue surviving, isn’t it?

  11. “Writing is important and I’m glad I am able to do it–they talk about the Mona Lisa and everything but if someone burned the Mona Lisa up tomorrow the world wouldn’t end because of that: the world should end because some child in India doesn’t have enough to eat.”
    Edward P. Jones interviewed by Robert Birnbaum
    (Writer’s Ask Issue 53)

    Love Edward P. Jones

  12. Money (That was easy.)

  13. Love. But writing is easier to do.

  14. Everything is more crucial than writing, though nothing is quite so important.

  15. I agree with Tetman. Being on stage is probably the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever had and yet the quest to get there is also the most painful. Once upon a time I probably would’ve have traded my soul for it.

    I don’t know about a cashier’s love for change but I’ve always had cash register button envy. Something about those keys puts a sort of frenzy in my heart with the tap tap tap of nails against plastic and the fixed position of all of those numbers. And then when that money tray flies open! Wowza. Talk about a climax.

    About your question. Breathing is probably the most important thing to me. I’ve seen what it’s like not to have breath and it’s probably the ugliest most excruciating thing I’ve ever witnessed. It’s not the kind of thing you can ignore. For me, I’ve got to attend to it daily. Make sure it’s doing okay. The moment I neglect it or take it for granted or stuff it under a pillow, that’s when things start to spiral out of control. My breath has to ride alongside me the whole way or I’m not going anywhere.

  16. Freedom from despair and high quality dark chocolate.

    I’m always taller than everyone anywhere and in my middle age I find it to be suddenly wonderful.

  17. My other great obsessive love is Quilting.

  18. True love.

  19. My faith is more important to me than my writing, and in many ways, I wouldn’t be able to keep writing without it anyhow. My family is in second place. But I also can’t help feeling writing makes me a better family member, so I guess it’s all braided together. You can’t just pull out “writer” and have a Jenga-person standing there full of holes.

  20. Sex, and everything to do with it. Love, husband, children. Vibrator. . . .

  21. Okay, for once all you guys hit home runs. Some really interesting comments. And some fine writing in the process. There are times when this crew makes me want to tear out my hair by the roots but not today. Not today.

    • good to know you’re unknown, unnamed standards have been met.

      • “you’re”?

        Was that on purpose?

        If so: Awesome. I love it when a joke is subtle and snide.

        If not: Anon might have a point.

      • vivien, sometimes you have to ask yourself, wtf? you can’t be funny; you can’t be offhand; you can’t be thoughtful. but you gotta serve somebody.

      • I’ve always made it a point to tip servers 20%. When the service is good. But, then again, sometimes one is ill-served. So, the question you gotta ask yourself: was it worth it? The service, that is. Tip accordingly.

  22. The kids. Love. The quest to keep love vibrant and current and crystalline, to not relegate desire to the space in the cupboard next to the Christmas china. The ability to know you should use the china on a picnic in the living room while secretly wearing your fanciest lingerie under your sweats.
    An idea that is worth telling, sharing, slaving over, losing sleep about. A book that brings the reader up even if only for the time it takes a small child to let go of a carnival balloon.

  23. Nothing until the last 723 words toward today’s goal are down on paper. Did I mention I hate writing?

  24. Music.

  25. the sound of my husband’s heart beating

  26. The people I love.

  27. Blue Jay feathers.

  28. Gee – I’ve considered writing a means of expression, an art form, one of the creative abilities, but not the raison d’etre. If I wasn’t busily exploring and experiencing this life, what would inspire my plots and my characters? Placing writing above ALL else sound more like a prison sentence than an ideal.

  29. Saw your article in Poets and Writers, “How Agents Operate” (catching up on reading) and wanted to thank you for sharing your perspective on agents. It was especially helpful to see how different agents in your panel operated.

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