• 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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THe WOrds Will Never Show THe You I’ve Come TO Know

Today is the third birthday of this blog. I am now a full on toddler, out of my diapers, goodbye to my sippy cups; I barely nap. I started thinking of this as a three month experiment and now it’s a colonoscopy.  Do you feel me? A lot of wonderful things have happened as a result of typing every night: there’s a whack group of writers who support each other and wear Forest for the Trees bracelets. I’ve been invited to write some articles and a young adult book (clearly a nod to my sophisticated and mature language). I’ve got ads now! Could not be more proud of this narcy thread turning commercial. But mostly, it’s all of you beautifully bruised fruit who leave incredible comments, some of them worthy of  the the secret notes pressed into the Wailing Wall. I love you all. You are all like a flock of black birds who take residence on my telephone wire, coming and going through the day, chirping or not, pecking out the eyes of any one who pisses you off.

Thank you for coming, for indulging, for sending all the cash and presents. I really appreciate it. Now get the fuck out of here and finishing your motherfucking manuscript. Love, Betsy Lerner

61 Responses

  1. You do have such a way with words. And just in time, as I embark on my next project, which will be both funny and enlightening and extremely well written. Okay, that’s three things, but I’ve never been good with numbers

  2. Goodness, language! Are you sure you’re not Canadian?

  3. Oh, but you’re such a delicious distraction, Betsy. And I’ll bet a lot of manuscripts have been taken to new levels of good because of this hidey-hole.

  4. Whack writers with rubber Betsy jewelry salute you. Happy blog birthday!

  5. Thank you for calling us Whack. Whack rules! FTF.

  6. Happy Blogday to you

  7. We love YOU! And the way you motivate us with the most awesome cursing on the www.

    • Do you know that song I LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE by Eminem? It’s replaying over and over in my brain but I’m hearing I LOVE THE WAY YOU CURSE and thinking of Betsy.

  8. Happy blog cake day!

  9. Your blog doesn’t look a day over two.

  10. Don’t know about the manuscript, but I’m jonesing for some cake.

  11. If this cost money I wouldn’t be here. So I’m glad it doesn’t. It’s mostly fun and it only hurts a little bit.

    Ow! All right, all right, I’m going, I heard you, I’m going back to the manuscript mines right now, find the mother lode, dig up some precious glitteries.

  12. The weird thing about your ads, Betsy, is the way they change according to my surfing habits. When I was car shopping, your blog tried to sell me a Fiat. After I looked up a cookie recipe, the ad was a talking fruitcake. (I didn’t click on the ad because I had just smoked a joint and the fruitcake freaked me out.) Now your blog appears to know that I watched Louis CK last night, and is hawking various items via standup comedians. What I’ll see after my latest purchase from Adam and Eve, god only knows.

    (Is this FTF bracelet a tracking device?)

    • My computer’s security software won’t even open Betsy’s ads. It shrieks and tells me they’re full of bees and spiders and moist, hairy things. My computer’s security software has been off its meds (because I keep scarfing them all up).

    • Not only is it a FIAT ad, it’s an ad in the guise of storytelling show à la The Moth. Even Betsy’s ads are literary! Don’t know ’bout the fruitcake, though; maybe that was just targeted toward holiday potheads.

  13. I’ve only just delurked, finally, and now discover I’ve been sent back — less that 48 hours later — to my motherfucking manuscript? WTH?

    What kind of a blog are your running here?

    PS- Thanks for three excellent years!

  14. I really don’t know anyone else like you. Should I be glad? Do you have to use so much profanity? Is it all right that my son-in-law is Jewish?

  15. My real and demanding three-year-old is wonderful…and cute…and curses like a sailor. He reminds me of you. And I love you.

  16. I love you, Betsy. I’m proud to say I was an early follower of this blog, and you made me feel welcome. You may be an atheist, but I’ll always see your presence here as G-d’s gift to writers, and to me in particular.

    I’ve sometimes dropped off the comment radar, feeling like an imposter, a mere hanger-on in the presence of the many serious writers who crack wise and witty here. But among them are some real menschen, and they’re coaxing me out of my writer’s blockhouse, inviting (or simply inspiring) me to stand up in the plaza and sing. If this keeps up, I might someday have a finished manuscript to which you will give five minutes’ consideration. Wouldn’t that be cool?

    Take long vacations if you must, but please don’t give up the blog. It’s a real lifeline, and one of the sanest places on the web, even factoring in the occasional comment catfight.

    xoxo, tulasi-priya

  17. Today, I did something scary, and it’s kind of your fault.

    I can’t say no. I feel terrible when I have to disappoint people. This is probably why my published work amounts to a few children’s books, written/illlustrated under my ex-name. They didn’t take too much time away from everyone else.

    But a few years ago I read Forest for the Trees and recognized myself as the ambivalent writer – with a little wicked child thrown in for good measure. I can call myself an artist. I’ve made a living painting murals and portraits, but call myself a writer? That’s some big scary shit right there.And yet today, I told a director friend that I was not going to audition for Drowsy Chaperone because I’m writing a novel. Of course the first e-mail I said I had a paper due, but then I came clean and told the truth. I am a writer. Thanks for pointing that out. Going back to my manuscript now, with added resolve. Grazie Mille!

  18. How did you know that I was putting off writing tonight? If the Giants game wasn’t enough distraction, I had to check your blog too. Just this comment alone is taking time away that I could be writing. Congrats on your 3 year mark!

  19. Happy blog day! Having a good time here at the party.

  20. Toddler? Diaper free? Seriously, I doubt with your potty mouth that you are potty trained, at least your mouth is not! Ha!

  21. Mazel Tov!

    The very first time I ventured to post here, I received a revised copy of your book (which was perfect timing, since my original copy was so well-read it was shedding pages), some much needed encouragement, and, eventually, a support system of friends — and a rubber bracelet.

    Thanks for letting me play in your sandbox, Betsy!

  22. I got my Forest for the Trees braclet on e-Bay. Original packaging, a few drops of writer’s sweat, revised and updated, tie dyed version. I love it. It makes me feel whole and goes with everything.

    If I tried to explain how much this blog has meant to me I would sound rediculous. So instead, happy birthday and blow out your candles before you burn the place down.

  23. Felicitaciones, Betsy! I raise a mai tai to numero tres. How many terrible tantrums have tumbled out in three years?

  24. Happy blog birthday! And I’ll get to it. Right after I check Facebook for the hundredth time.

  25. Yes ma’am!

  26. I don’t always follow orders well, but you are hard to ignore. Thanks for the inspiration (and more than a few chuckles over the years.) I’m am determined to FTF.

  27. Buon compleanno! Enjoy the cup cakes.

  28. Ah Betsy and what a blog it is. Happy blogday and thank you.

  29. Be proud, Miss Betsy! You’ve created a community. That takes guts, talent, and excellent mothering. Don’t think we won’t riot when you decide to close up shop.

  30. Thanks for all the cupcakes over the last three years Betsy. They’re always delicious.

    Your blogs shine with images better than most poems : black birds on the phone lines, perfect. I hope you keep blogging, but if not, I hope you write poems again instead.

    • Seconded with the last sentiment. Poems by Betsy Lerner would be something to go out and grab and hold to your chest as you run through a crowded farmers market yelling, no I don’t want any Ostrich burger, nor lavander soap. Followed by curse of your choice.

  31. It’s your birthday and we get the presents. Thanks, Betsy, for making playdates fun again.

  32. Well, this was encouraging to read. I have been, since the beginning, totally bored with the idea of social media a la Facebook, but as a possibly someday published writer I’ve come to the realization that I have to be my own publicist. A blog and possibly/probably Twitter are two ways that I think I could bear to go. Or whatever new thing they have by the time I finish my novel, which ha ha ha, ain’t gonna be any time soon. (Actually, it might be finished by this time next year. I’ve got a cunning plan.)

    I would still be overly curmudgeonly about all of these horrible publishing changes if it weren’t for this blog and others like it, writers railing against the changes but slowly coming to grips with them, along with a resigned/hopeful acceptance.

    I’m trying to clean out my karma by the end of the year. I feel like next year is going to be important. Maybe I’ll start following some writers on Twitter. Lil baby step.

  33. I’ll never forget that day when Maud Newton linked to you and I clicked it. Thank you for what you do and congratulations on three years.

  34. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

  35. Congrats on this impressive milestone! And to follow the rest of lyrics, please don’t “simply fly away”.

  36. Has it been only three years? I can’t really remember a time before it–and I sure as hell don’t want to envision a time after. Hope you’ve been able to take away even a fraction of what you’ve given.

  37. Happy blog B-Day! In Blog Years, you’re, like, 21. And you’re still precocious.

  38. Congratulations! I’ve loved every single column. I discovered you a few months in and what a treat it was to go back and read the past columns. Almost as much of a treat as reading a new one every day.

  39. I read you because unlike some of us buttoned up Brits, you just say it right off the bat. When you curse it makes me laugh because I was so told that ‘a lady doesn’t curse.’ I feel like I totally missed out on finding the real person of me (not because I rarely curse) but because my inner authority is cemented in my shy-ness and won’t let me be a ballsy lady like you. And I so want to be.
    So, Happy Third Birthday, Many Happy Returns, Merry Christmas and here’s to more gasping with astonishment at your posts, laughing at your cursing and just enjoying the whole adventure.
    Valentina x

  40. Happy Birthday Betsy! I hope you know how much inspiration and motivation you give us every day. Really – so many days I’ve read you, felt your pain and believed you felt mine – and then when you tell me to go work on my _____ manuscript, I do. With renewed vengence!
    PS – where do I get a bracelot? I want to be in the club!

  41. Happy B-Day, Betsay. I love the fuck, fuckety fuck out of you.

  42. And thank you for sharing yourself with us in your blog. I still crack up every time I think of your Mark Ruffalo-impression post.

  43. Dear Betsy, Please keep writing your blog as I am only a little more than halfway through my first draft and I would have caved several times if I didn’t read your blog that miraculously provided the right anecdote right when I needed it, often about 2 in the morning. FYI, I gonna need at least a good six months plus. Happy Blogday! Deborah (ps There are several of us that go under that name, but that’s okay; it doesn’t really matter! I would comment more but it’s time away from my work)

  44. We moved house 9 days ago and still no Internet apart from my iPhone. Tryingvto leave comments via phone does my head in due to a combination of smart ass predictive text and my failing eye sight. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity to wish you a happy third blogversary Betsy. You’re the biz. Even if I did have a karherine flashback when you mentioned eye pecking….

    • Katherine flashback.

      Head officially done in.

    • I understand, Downith. The other day I iPhoned a friend that I was “a million percent” going to do something. He wrote back, “I’m glad you’re bringing a million Percocet, as I’ve been running quite low on my good drugs.”

      My fingers have been crossed for your move. I hope all is well …

  45. Happy Blogday, Betsy! Your titles are the best. Almost every day I think, “How did she come up with another (awesome) one?”

  46. Happy Blog Birthday, and thank you for creating this blog space. It’s a godsend.

  47. Where the hell is August? An occasion such as this calls for some grouchy eloquence.

  48. I’m way late to this party, but best wishes on your third blogday, Betsy. It’s gratifying to know there’s so much acerbic pleasure only a click away. I’m celebrating with three whiskey shots, 1 . . . 2 . . .3. Ah.

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