• 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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Some Call Me the Gangster of Love

I gave another informational interview today to a young woman about to graduate college. I was super distracted the entire time, wondering if I could avoid the bread basket at lunch, if a certain author was going to blurb a book, how annoyed I was to get a one word response (“Thanks”) to a three page editorial letter. I was looking at her resume and it all looked good (Swahili! Varsity Tennis! Poetry Prize!), but my mind was on whether I could take the week between Christmas and New Years and finish my fucking screenplay, if I left the money on the kitchen table for Pam our dog walker, if I was ever going to finish vetting the contract on my desk, and get the twenty galleys off  on my desk to my foreign agents. Or was I going to die under a pile of manuscripts, or crushed under an Ikea bookcase, or crushed under the huge wheel of the M5, or electrocuted by a live man hole, or go into anaphylaxis as a result of eating a pine nut and die?

The  girl looked up at me and said, “Can I ask you something?” Sure. “Do you like what you do?”

I love it, I said. I looked around at my book shelves and all the books I’ve sold or helped come into this world. I looked around at our beautiful office, which is a book and light filled loft. I really love it, I said. And she smiled, reassured it seemed, of what I’m not certain.

Do you like what you do?

44 Responses

  1. I write, whine, write. I love it. I’d be bereft without it.

  2. I love what I do too, but more to the point, I do what I love.

    Writing kills me in a million different ways everyday, it seems, but without out it I would have no lives left to give.

  3. I like what I do when I’m doing what I like. I like coming here to put on a persona that almost matches parts of my being. I like the manuscript I’m working on and took a quick break from to come here and do this. I like what I do for money enough to not fuck it up and get fired. It doesn’t suck my soul out and spew it at my feet. I never have to talk to drunks or baby-fuckers (I’ve been a bartender and a criminal defense paralegal). But I’m glad I got to spend ten years talking to drunks and baby-fuckers. Broadens one’s horizons.

    Hell, I’m nattering. Time to get back to that manuscript.

  4. I teach college. Engaging a room full of students is the opposite of the quiet me who would rather write or ponder, but when the energy of a good lesson kicks in, I know I’m in the right line of work.

  5. I was recently reminded that I’m proud of what I do for a living—proud enough to be seriously ticked off at a certain group of idiots who haven’t got a clue . . . sorry.

    And now that I finally have a handle on that flippin’ synopsis, I’m back to loving the writing part of what I do.

    My four-year old fell asleep in my lap tonight, so I’m loving the Mommy gig, too

    Think I’ll keep this streak going with a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream.

  6. I love that what I do clarifies what I don’t want. I love that it makes me appreciate people who read and talk about books with a passion rivaled in corporate America, theirs is one that I understand as little as they understand me. I love the drive that it gives me to do what I love, which is not what I’m doing, and it turns my wheels on how to get out.
    I love that it makes me appreciate every stolen moment I get to write.
    I hate what I do. I love the perspective it has given me.

  7. I hate what I do for a living, but it pays very well, and I only have to do it 533 more days, some of which are holidays, sick days, and vacation days. Two more years to freedom. Then I can do what I love – copyediting and collaborating with fiction writers who want to tell their stories but are hampered by a weak sense of how the English language works. When a writer tells me that she sounds more like herself after I have edited her work – that is the best feeling in the world, and I want more of it.

    • i wish i had a day count on how much longer i have to do what i do.

      Not only do i not like what I do, but i feel bad for not liking what i do, as it’s a very good job and i know many un/under-employed writers would love to have it because they’ve asked me if i can get them a job where i work.

      i have to go Anonymous on this because even i can’t stand to hear myself whine about how much i don’t like what i do.

  8. I felt I have loved what I did at first, but with time, I felt stuck with it (even sometimes looked for an escape by my own ways) but could not leave it earlier as it pays well (as Killian said). Now I move to a new area, writing, I can say I love what I am doing. But, I am not sure if this love would be up and down, or disappointing later on.

  9. I started working in publishing again and am enjoying it. I’m glad my unemployment/freelance days are over–for now. When you get so broke, you can’t even go to the movies, there’s a problem…so I appreciate my paycheck.

  10. My day job is one that consistently gets studied up as providing ridiculously high job satisfaction and overall happiness. But it’s like any other: there are days when I love it and days when I hate it. Days when I feel like no amount of money–not even a great pension plan–can be worth dealing with what I have to deal with, and other days when I can’t believe I get paid to do what I do. I’m grateful that there are more of the latter than the former. And even on those days I think about early retirement and dreaming of doing nothing but reading and writing.

  11. I’m about to make a huge day job change. The second it becomes 2012, I will no longer be a partner in a company I co-founded. I’m doing this–taking this leap–because I don’t want to die a bitter, bitchy cunt with regrets. If I get hit by a trolley, I want my dying words to be “Okay then,” instead of, “Fuck, wait, I didn’t mean it!”

    Of course, it has to do with writing. With finishing the fucker(s) instead of muting my phone during conference calls in order to tweak chapters here and there and not have the clients hear my clicking keyboard.

  12. I wouldn’t call it love.

  13. Today, I love it.
    Yesterday…and the day before…I had a big grey cloud hanging over my head which wouldn’t leave even though I begged it to jog on to someone else.
    Last week, half the time I loved it and half the time I didn’t. And the week before. And the week before that.
    It’s a love affair.

  14. I’m a tax accountant. Nobody likes being a tax accountant.

    I’m also an author, and everybody likes being an author. Except when they don’t. I’m in edit hell right now, living on caffeine, peanut butter, and three hours of sleep every night. Deadline is next Monday, when I intend to send this off, then go glam and have some bread with my peanut butter. What’s not to like?

  15. Yes indeed, I like what I do.

    Soldier, cop, college teacher, entremanure, boss, but now I work on boats, sail, and write. I get work in on time, but that’s my editor’s fault.

    It’s 5:13, and The Dog and I are going to the park and watch the bayou wake up.

    There are worse jobs.

  16. i don’t know. i’m like my 16 year old self falling in love with my high school sweetheart during first period and breaking up with him at lunch.

    i love it; i hate it.

    i need the money; i need an escape route.

    the flexibility keeps the mom guilt at bay, but the career satisfaction/gratification thing lives on an island far, far away and i have no idea how to afford plane tickets for all of us.

  17. I used to love transcribing. For over 20 years I transcribed everything from headline-capturing court cases to black boxes from crashed airplanes to the memoirs of a drug smuggler. Interviews with economists were my favorite. Such good voices, such great vocabularies. They made sense while they talked. Later, I could never remember what they’d said.

    A few years ago my boss retired and I started working from home with a transcription mill. There is very little variety in what I transcribe. I make less money. My opportunities for casual interactions with people have diminished (I’m not naturally gregarious), so I’m lonely and I’ve gained a few pounds.

    Sure, it’s all fixable if I could muster the energy, and of course I’m grateful that I have a job in this tough economy and all that. But no. I don’t love what I do anymore.

  18. There are days when I’m frustrated. Like yesterday afternoon when I was trying to revise a scene and just couldn’t get it right. Other days the words fly off the tips of my fingers in an attempt to keep up with the fabulous ideas that won’t stop coming. Those days are heaven. But the days following may be filled with insecurity and nagging thoughts that I’m deluded and that all I’ve written in mindless drivel. But the thought of not writing is incomprehensible so I keep moving forward.

    Yes, I love what I do.

  19. I read your question, then I looked at the frozen frame of the video ad at the end of your post. People have their heads thrown back in hysterical laughter. I could only join in.

  20. An hour ago I sat down to tweak my blog post. I could have sworn only 5 minutes had passed. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

  21. While pondering your question, I realized I have reached that point where all I am doing is what I want to do (well, except paying taxes to spendthrift government…). Day job in the field that I have a degree, uber-volunteerism, personal assistant to the college student who doubles as my son, dog steward, gardener, baker, seamstress: all are muses and reference points for Writing.

    Now, attempting to keep the petty distractions at bay is another matter. The non-paying clients, the family/friends drama, living in a third-world-worthy city, my inability to find my pearl earrings — all are the easy excuses to not keep at those activities I enjoy, but frankly, require real effort.

    I hope your interviewee saw only what we see: your dedication to the literary world. That other stuff is just the humorous embellishment that assures us you are a real person.

  22. I have a high paying job. I’m really good at it. I loathe going to work every morning. I have to force myself to do half the things I did well without a thought 20 years ago. Then I loathe myself for not working hard at my high paying job. My only escape is to write something. Then I loathe myself again for not doing “real” work…. I’m a mess. Merry Christmas.

    • Earlier this year, I went to a book signing for a relatively new-to-the-industry author. He spoke about the moment when he, too, realized his high-paying career was not where he wanted to stay. He spent every lunch hour writing. He worked diligently at the Day Job, down-sized his life style and stockpiled money for the moment when he could work full time as an author, yet still have reserve funds. Don’t know if this method would work for you, but I found it inspiring.

  23. i’m obsessed with writing and, although i have doubts, i’ll continue on.

    ps poetry class finished tomorrow. thank god.

  24. I absolutely love what I do.
    I need to get some payment for it, though.
    A little more balance between what I write for free (blog, manuscript in progress) and what I write for pay (any kind of business writing) would be wonderful.

  25. I’m a microbiologist and I love it.

    That’s not to say I don’t fantasize about retiring 25 years early because Big Publishing House offered me a 6-digit advance for my novel.

    Of course, I also sometimes fantasize about being alone. Like, post-apocalyptic ‘nary a soul in sight alone.

    So much for fantasies.

  26. i hate what i do to pay the bills.

    i love everything else i do.

    i’m hoping in 2012 i make some changes on how to bring in money. life is too short to do shit you hate.

    i’m always inspired by (jealous of) people who love what they do.

  27. I do love what I do. I am my own boss, I have a wonderful client who appreciates what I do and is willing to pay me for it, and all of that leaves me time to write. Add to that two adult children who are more than gainfully employed. Careful, don’t rock my boat.

  28. I love it. I was putting together a reader’s group guide earlier this week and thinking: I get to write book reports for a living. I get to do my favorite school projects for money. Good times.

  29. I own a cookie company I started myself out of nothing (13th COOKIE – look it up!), I wrote a book, I’m continuing another I started years ago, I make people smile, sometimes laugh, I hug and I get hugs.

    To use the parlance of the big, meaty bro who works at the GNC in the mall,

    Yeah, I’m junkin’ it!

  30. You have an M5 ?

    • You meant MS, yeah? I don’t know what M5 is, but if it’s anything like MS, I don’t want it!

      How did you extrapolate that from my comment? Do you know me? Do I know you?

      Please, Rose Casanova (awesome handle, by the way), shed light on this mystery.

  31. I love what I do…hours spent in a sheep barn in spite of being a crazy intellectual. I ignored my husband to be for a long time- a farmer with a tractor. I have discovered he is the smartest man I know who had no choice (“malgres” his intellect) but to take on the family farm when his father died shortly after his 14th birthday.
    He has taught me more from the “Université de la Terre” than any and all combined diplomas I have accumulated…

  32. As Luck will have it, I do.

  33. I love it. More than is rational or reasonable. But oh god yes, I love it.

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