• 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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I Still Don’t Know What I Was Waiting For

People often ask me why I left editorial and became an agent. It’s a good question but I’m tired of it. Why did I leave Judaism and become and atheist, why did I quit heroin for methadone, why did I cut off my beautiful long hair for this veritable shrub? Why did I stop writing poetry for screenplays? Why Coke Zero instead of Diet Coke? Why did I cut off my left foot in favor of my right, why did I pluck out both of my eyes? Why did Celeste give up her throne? Why did Antigone die alone? Why did I change from a butterfly to a cocoon. Friends, I had my reasons.

What about you?

45 Responses

  1. Why did I quit music? Why haven’t I finished the revisions to my WIP? Why did I ask my MIL to move in with us (why did she accept)? Why am I treading water instead of swimming for shore? And why am I trying to think of a clever things to say here instead of using my remaining half hour of Family Free Morning Time to work on my MS?

  2. Because. Simply because.

  3. why do i keep buying yoga groupons i never use? why did i quit vodka and tonic for coffee and cream? suburbia over downtown? an office over a studio? rockwell over steadman? midwest over…anywhere else? who knows why i do anything anymore? i used to believe it was my ego, and then i thought the stars had something to do with it. now i’m sure we’re all just plodding along according to biological rhythms predetermined by lucy. i’m hoping i’ll change my mind and start believing in magic again.

    • Oh those Groupons and their promise of everything fabulous at a discount. Maybe we should start an antidote-to-Groupon business. Call it Groupoff. Everything is twice as expensive so if you don’t use it, the stakes are even higher. The ex-Catholics looking for a good flog would flock to it.

  4. To get to the other side.

    • Watched a chicken cross a road once, leaving the airport and headed for the rental car lot. One of life’s little mysteries solved, unexpectedly.

  5. Do I have my reasons? I hope so. That would sensible, defensible. I’m not sure I always have a bead on what is really motivating me, or that I could gather the pieces and put them in a coherent sentence when I do. I’m also a little out of practice. Now that the kids are grown, I am subject to much less questioning.

  6. Why do I live in the ‘burbs?

  7. I have a more p[ositive outlook on life. As for writing. . . my English teacher in high school was married to a famous novelist, and she dearly loved a good pun and limericks. So I had a tendencey to write whatever I liked. I didn’t know any better. Poetry, stories, plays, or combinations of those. Even my latest novel looks promising. I’m not a polyanna. I just believe that good things happen to most people–now and then.


  8. Back to the cocoon, Betsy? Good one. Back to the womb, if I could do it in any lasting way, is where I would go. Lacking that option, I try to keep moving forward, leaving a few things behind me as I go. Leaving Dallas for New York definitely paid off. Other choices? Some of the time I just got bored with what I was doing.

  9. Junior level class in college, A Sociologist Looks at Folk music. Got a D because I’d rather live the life than read about it. I tuned in, dropped out, turned on and all that other late 60s-early 70s rhetoric. Traveled. Did drugs (quit that, although there are lapses…). Moved to the country, built me a home. Some regrets, but mostly it’s cool. A trip that has been long and strange. I have a hard time imagining any other way.

  10. The push-me pull-you monster is still yanking on my chrysalis. I have a bad case of whiplash. I’m a dervish of a whirlagig who’s alternately cockeyed, wall-eyed, pie-eyed, snide, afraid to ride. I want to hitch but hesitant to stick out that thumb lest someone cuts the sucker off. Which would be awkward when I’m tempted to crawl into my box to suck my thumb. And so it goes.

  11. People often ask me why I left my marriage to become a lesbian.

    That was 24 years ago, but they still ask.

    I think I’ll start say, “I had my reasons.”

    Although you might want to use my reply sometimes, Betsy…


  12. I’m just happy to see William Blake first thing in the morning.

  13. You’ll find the answers to these and many other questions in my book “The Rise of Western Civilization: How I Saved an Undeserving World.” Available on line for 49 cents.

  14. Why do I spend sleepless hours thinking up baby names for the baby I will never have? Why do I tell my husband I wrote all day when I didn’t even open my laptop? Why do I press the “like” button on Facebook posts that I think are idiotic? Why do I check the local Animal Rescue page every night to see who’s been adopted and who’s still waiting? Why do I follow the rules?

  15. Why do I love Zooey and Nicole buy not Angelina and Susan? Why do I like pants with legs I can take off? Why do I think Sarah Palin is probably a pretty good mom? Why do I chew more on the left than the right side of my mouth? Why can’t I snap my fingers? Why do I think more people should be naked more often? Why do I like washing dishes? Why do I love my tool bench?

  16. Even the explanations rarely make sense to the perplexed. If their your choices, why explain?

  17. I love your column and subscribe by email.
    Could I be your proofreader?

  18. Why am I creeped out by that kinky couple in August’s video? Why does my mother always give me lipstick? Why won’t my kids eat Rice Crispies or black grapes or the delicious flowery tips of roasted asparagus? When did this blog become my OCD? Why does my box of Target tampons have a big blue arrow on the front with the slogan Up&Up?

  19. I hate when people ask me why I got divorced, as if I can nutshell it. Maybe I’ll just start telling people that my ex turned out to be a gay drug dealer.

    • Who are these people who ask why someone got divorced or why someone left a marriage to become a lesbian?? I would never even consider asking someone an incredibly private question like that. Even if deep down I really did want to know. Manners, people, manners!

  20. Why am I still waiting here for August’s video to download on my crank-it-up-baby computer?

  21. That’s Why.

    And it’s a great blog.


  22. i’m at a crossroads in my life. i can’t decide if i should cut off the hand that feeds me or the other one.

  23. Why do still shine my shoes for the fat lady?

  24. why didn’t I get some legitimate skill instead of being a publishing industry nomad who is basically umeployable? why didn’t I keep writing children’s books instead of writing weird novels that only make me laugh? why didn’t I take piano lessons when I was young instead of starting as an adult? why didn’t I put my children’s artwork in a safe place so it didn’t get all soaked during Hurricane Irene? I’m not losing too much sleep about this stuff, except the last thing–but the artwork is still drying all over the house and I bought archival boxes and most of it was salvaged–more or less.

  25. I like William Blake Delightfully venal. Dirty sweet. You picked a perfect example.

  26. I’ve spent the better part of today answering “why” questions to clients and contractors and guys who think they are contractors. Now, cranky, I want to know: why didn’t you listen to me when I told you the first company was a bunch of (bleeps)?; why couldn’t you think to bring the tools you needed before you got on the job site?; why are you driving a delivery truck and have no idea how to get anywhere? and finally: why do I have to stand in the middle of the street and direct traffic (again)?

  27. A few years ago, aspartame was used to sweeten Diet Coke.

    Then the marketing team at CCC decided that it would be awesome if they could sell diet soda to men, too.

    So they came up with Coke Zero. Same thing as Diet Coke, only sweetened with sucralose, and with more, uh, masculine cans.

    But then, since the sucralose is so sickeningly sweet – much sweeter than aspartame – men didn’t like it that much. Well, no one did. Coke Zero didn’t really take off.

    So then they figured out that they could switch the sweeteners. This was a dark time. For a while, there was only sucralose-sweetened Diet Coke/Coke Zero available in some countries. Some people traveled far to stock up on the last aspartame-sweetened cans in their home towns.

    Then, finally, new Coke Zero emerged – black, red-lettered, and aspartame-sweetened.

    …and that’s why I drink Zero, not Diet. Because it’s exactly the same thing Diet Coke used to be. In other words – I didn’t change; the soda did.

  28. why am i taking a poetry writing class? but the emotions. who knew that writing poetry created so many emotions in the writer. it’s driving me slightly crazy. i keep trying to write a poem that starts “young men gather” and it ain’t going anywhere, although i did write about melvin the manic-depressive.

  29. I’m more of a why don’t I girl.

  30. “People often ask me why I left editorial and became an agent. It’s a good question but I’m tired of it.”

    We all get tired of the same question from Every Single Person about -whatever-, but it’s new to them and not unreasonable that they would be interested and ask. If it’s a problem, just can a couple of answers that answer the question and lead to the ending of the topic.

  31. Whoa – becoming an atheist means leaving Judaism? I thought part of Judaism was becoming an atheist.

    And perhaps that’s the answer to all your ?.

    Although to get to the other side is attractive. It took Lost 6 seasons to get to the other side.

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