• 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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If You Don’t Know Me By Now

As you can imagine, I get a lot of requests from writers to promote their books on this blog. Well, sweet love, the only books I promote are my clients’ books, my books, and books by people I’ve slept with. I can not be bought. Until today. I’m flogging The Great Typo Hunt not because I’ve slept with the authors (together or separately), not because I’ve read the book and admire it,  or because  the on-line marketing guy gave me fifty dollars. No, the reason I’m plugging The Great Typo Hunt is because they sent me the book with tchatzkies. And not just any tchatzkies, but my favorite: office supplies. If you haven’t seen me cruise a Staples or beautiful old stationery store, you really don’t know where I live or how I make it through the day.

So fellas, Jeff and Benjamin, when you’re done with this norshkeit, marry those girls you mention in your acknowledgments and grow up. The world is filled with mistakes that you can’t fix. Until then, good luck with the book and thanks for the Chisel Tip Dry Erase Marker.

What’s your favorite stationery store item? OR, what mistake would you erase?

56 Responses

  1. Well, just amuse me into catatonia, girl.

  2. Three-by-five cards, yellow legal pads. gel-ink pens in black and red and green, coated paperclips, post-its in all sizes and colors, natural wood pencils, tiny bound notebooks, and those big plastic file cases with lids and handles for schlepping around research and manuscripts.

    Ooooo, goosebumps.

    • This. Especially Pilot pens. Black ink. Index cards (I’m taken by the 5 x 7. Keep a short stack in my back pocket) are my new moleskin. No binding to squeeze and fold and bad ideas go to the wind/the nearest trash bin. I came here to say all the things you said. Thank you Sarah W.

  3. I don’t do malls or Costco or Target. I’m all about the high-end grocery and office supplies. The only thing better than a plastic file box and a fistful of markers is a really tasty, stinky cheese.

    I can be bought with wine and cheese.

  4. the dreck i posted here two nights ago in a desperate attempt to nab first post position,

  5. (sigh) handmade paper: thick, cold-press, deckle-edged sheets with bits of mulberry leaves or threads that were embedded into the pulp or maybe a rice paper vellum– perfect for calligraphy.

    • Beautiful paper freezes me into immobility. My handwriting is awful, so every word I write feels like graffiti on the Taj Mahal. I like disposable things for writing, and generally whatever flat paper-ish surface is at hand will do. If I start thinking about deckled edges and color-coded ink, nothing gets written.

      • Never fear – you can also make lamp shades from that gorgeous paper. Employing paper to direct illumination onto one’s writing has a subliminal, inspiring effect – don’t you agree?

      • It sounds lovely in your hands, Karen. I tried to make a lampshade out of fabric and silk flowers once (Shabby Chic and all that). The heat from the light bulb melted the glue and de-flowered it. If I try a paper shade I could very well burn the house down.

      • The De-Flowered Lampshade: Erotica for Crafters.
        (how long will it take me to regret this one?)

  6. I would like to erase about half the dumb-ass blog comments I make.

  7. My favorite stationery store item is red glitter (and NOT for query letters).

  8. I’ve got a thing for tan, well-built, corrugated paperboard. I literally get excited when I see a well-made box (don’t even go there, August). I’m cuckoo for great packaging.

    I also dig hole punchers, three-ring binders, and file folders. Teeny-tiny paper clamps whose wires have not yet rusted. Yellow legal pads with pages that tear perfectly along their perforated bases. Spiral notebooks with covers displaying Lisa Frank illustrations or prism graphics. Sharpie fine points. Mmm.

    I used to buy and hoard cloth, with the best of intentions to sew something one day, but I had to get rid of it all. I just love things made of fiber. I think I was a tree in a previous life.

  9. Jeff shouldn’t marry that poor girl. Little Jeffs!

    I like a sturdy new pen.

  10. Sharp pencils – I love the smell of shavings.

  11. Oh heaven is a stationery store. My penchant for school supplies borders on addiction. There’s a stationery store in my town for sale and I dream of moving in there. Bliss would be doing inventory.

    As for mistakes, my life is written in pen. I erase nothing.

  12. I have a place in my heart for Muji – paperbag coloured jotters, finest black gel pens (with refills!) – ahhhh.

    I am anti moleskine though. Creepy texture, and most seem too small, and I don’t think they lie flat. I feel this dislike somehow makes me a pariah in the literary community, if anyone noticed…maybe if I had a tumblr declaring OTHER NOTEBOOKS ARE AVAILABLE, with pictures of other notebooks hanging out in cafes, surfing or whatever.

    • love this. want to see that tumblr.

      mine would have a miquelrius (spanish) notebook . . you can find them at target sometimes. wonderful sizes, perforated pages, nice smooth paper , plastified covers. . .bliss!!

      they’ve become oddly hard to find in madrid though.

  13. Ledgers! Those hardbound books that say RECORD or RECEIPTS or just LEDGER on them. I have no resistance.

    I would erase majoring in creative writing in college.

  14. date books and desk calendars. i keep thinking they’re going to turn me into the person i am supposed to be. they never do. i end up blaming them (wrong font, goofy ink colors, poor spacing of weeks and days spread between two pages). i regret everyone i buy and still i keep buying them.

  15. The rubber band ball. Something about it just turns me on.

  16. What mistake would I erase? Betsy, I don’t know. There are so many to choose from, their name is legion. They’re gathering around me now, whispering, Pick me, pick me, erase me if you dare, undo me, this sin, this crime, this misstep, no, this one, this little thing you thought was nothing but look at what it later cost you, go back and change what happened and see what happens. Which erased mistake would redeem me in mine own or anyone else’s eyes? How would the lost be found and the dead resurrected? And which erased mistake of mine would undo me and leave me lost to myself?

  17. I would definitely erase the e-mail I sent out the other day to my cluster of homies, trying to gather them up to celebrate one of their birthdays. The problem was that I forgot another one had a birthday around the same time and you know how we women can be. An honest mistake avalanched into hurt feelings, snide remarks, and phone calls not returned. I’ve never been comfortable being the party planner. No wonder. I suck at it.

  18. Freshly sharpened pencils, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and new sneakers take me back to my teaching days. (The kids smelled pretty good, too.)

  19. What mistake would I erase? Not making that call to my fiance to hook up with her right then when I found that my evening class was cancelled. Instead, heading back to my apartment to read a book and relax and then call her dorm room at the time the class would have ended. No answer at the dorm. Later her roommate answered and said, ‘Isn’t she with you?’ Nope. She was with her old boyfriend who came back into town, called her and took her out. That night he swept her off her feet. They were married shortly thereafter. Yeah, I regret not making that call. It likely would have made no difference, that call, but there it is.

  20. before i even put my feet on the floor each am i lie in the dark and rifle through regrets from the previous day/night, things i did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, ate or didn’t eat, and that’s probably my biggest mistake, kicking most days off filled with regret –

    • I read in Kitty Carlisle’s bio that she started her days by looking in the mirror and saying “I forgive you, Kitty”.

  21. I practice gratitude for the mistakes that shape me. Hahahahahaha, I can’t even type that with a straight face. It works approximately NEVER.

    The one mistake? I still cry when I think about a crate of notebooks I threw away detailing my mother’s life and descent into madness in her own words. I’d give anything to have them now, a decade after her death.

    • That would seem to be a grievous loss. Did she tell you her stories? Could you re-tell them from your own vision? You will never know the whole truth (who does?), but you might craft something worthwhile from what you remember, what you imagine, her life had been. What a gift to find meaning in another’s life, even if the person who lived it did not. Hope I’m not over-stepping here.

      • You’re not overstepping, honeypie. Yes, I can remember some things, recreate others. Someday. Right now I’m working on something different. She creeps in, of course. Because if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.

  22. Yellow legal pad and a cheap but comfortable pen. The pages of the pad flip efficiently for speed writing and when the world goes to darkness I can still write by the light of a flickering flame.

  23. i would probably never suggest you e my agent. I simply enjoy your comments. With a surname like Scrivnor, i write in all types of writing: drama, novels, short stories, and poetry, like this:

    Sinquian (No i spelled I spelled it that way on purpose)

    Morning.
    First drain the tank;
    Then take the wee aspirin,
    Coffee, computer, read Betsy
    Lerner.

    And so it goes. . .

    Webb

  24. Purple ink pens I make my husband steal from Planet Fitness. Medium point. Mmmm …

  25. Disposable fountain pens.

    I would have never taken the admin job in business thinking it’d give me more time to write.

  26. The worst typo I ever made was back in the nineties when email first started. I got in touch with a woman from high school who was two grades ahead of me. I had always looked up to her and I think she managed to tolerate me. Physically, she was very pretty but over time had grown overweight. She now had an unfortunate triple chin that made her look a little bit like a bullfrog. I was thrilled when she returned my email, and our correspondence became daily. I then sent an email where I meant to ask, “How are you today?” Instead, I wrote, “How are you toady?”

  27. Sharpie fine-point 29-packs, Pilot V-ball Extra Fines, all variety of bound notebooks, and — in touch as I am with my inner 9-year-old girl — stickers.

  28. I worked in my college bookstore for four years. I was hugely disappointed to discover I wouldn’t be working with actual books, but I rebounded when I learned I was in charge of stocking school supplies.

    Oh, the joy of spending one’s days surround by spiral notebooks and fountain pens, while huffing Mr. Sketch Scented Watercolor Markers.

    By the way, I actually read The Great Typo Hunt and came away from it with major Sharpie Envy.

  29. 1) I spell it chotchke.

    2) Office supply: bold tip rollerball pens

    3) Big Mistake: Not just cheating on the college boyfriend I was practically broken up with anyway, in order to get busy with the fellow production assistant I met while working traffic lock-down at 2 AM in East Harlem on the set of STATE OF GRACE who described himself as “the Puerto Rican Spike Lee.” Sigh.

  30. I read The Great Typo Hunt a few months ago–check it out. It’s a fun book and before you know it, you’ll be doing your own great typo hunt (I found a typo on a plaque in the local park memorializing a high school English teacher).

    I adore office supplies, but I buy way too many clean new notebooks. I can never find the last one I wrote it so I have notes scattered all over the place.

  31. I love pen nib examination, especially scribbling “I like this pen” on the scratch paper provided. The gel ones always suck. I regret that letter writing is no longer valued.

  32. Saying yes to the first agent who asked me (not that there was a line) and staying with her three years too long.

    Lavender ruled paper.

  33. The supplies–Waterman fountain pen and Clairefontaine notebooks–the kind with heavy pastel grid paper that doesn’t fall apart.

    The mistake–letting that person read the rough draft before I’d combed back through it. It screwed up my brain for six months.

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