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    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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I Really Can’t Stay

Best

I’m tired of being dysphoric, anhedonic, pessimistic and generally irritable. This last week before the vacation break I want to have a little fun. Fun? Not something I’ve put a tremendous premium on in my life.  Well fuck that. I’m in the holiday spirit and by that I mean I’m going to completely isolate. Yes! For the last week on the blog before the holiday break, we’re going to be treated to some guest posts, one more contest for a holiday book basket, and just lots of buttery love all around.

For now, I want to kick off the week by inviting everyone to contribute to the biggest, baddest  list of 2011 Worst and Best . So please add your contributions, literary and otherwise. To kick it off:

BEST: Andrew Krivak’s novel THE SOJOURN nominated for the National Book Award.

WORST: Amazon rebating $5 to people who bought books from them after using an app to compare prices of books in indie stores with their own.

What’s your Best and Worst?

62 Responses

  1. BEST: My new Kindle Touch

    WORST: Learning that there were no small press picks on the New York Times list of the top 100 books of 2011

  2. Best: meeting so many fellow bloggers, including Downith at a famous English cathedral town on about a minute’s notice. How is this even possible?

    Next best: everything Joan Didion, including a short piece by a friend of hers at Byliner.com.

    Worst: I got nothin’. I feel all holiday cheerful.

    • Hang on Teri! Was there a cathedral there? I didn’t notice, I was so busy talking your face off while simultaneously hanging off your every word.

      • Both of our husbands had said, “You’ve never met this woman. What if you have nothing to talk about?”

        The next thing we knew you were putting your tiara back on and walking me to the train station.

    • Hang on. Was there a cathedral? I didn’t notice – I was too busy talking your ears off while simultaneously hanging off your every word.

  3. BEST: Having the courage to go to Bouchercon by myself.

    WORST: Knowing the world no longer has Anne McCaffrey, Al Vega, Bob Brunning, Steve Jobs, Peter Falk, Lillian Jackson Braun, Joanna Russ, Randy Savage, Willie Smith, Diana Wynne Jones, and so many others in it.

    • PS—if my BEST could include December of 2010, when I finally got the courage to comment here and met so many bloggerbuddies-turned-cherished-friends, that that would top the list.

      Think I’ll grandmother it in . . .

  4. Best: Delaney’s smile

    Worst: hasn’t happened

  5. BEST: It’s a four-way tie. And the winners are . . .
    1. Being in India for the first three months of 2011
    2. Coming back to live in a tiny shack by the sea
    3. Making blogfriends with writers who are helping me to get over myself and start writing again.
    4. Starting to write again, and feeling like I can actually sustain it.

    WORST: Me, for persistently getting in my own way during most of 2011.

    I realized this is incredibly self-absorbed, but I really am my own worst enemy.

    Also, while not qualifying for “Worst,” I’m dismayed at the drop-off in postings by August. If it keeps up, though, it will be the worst. Auggie, if you’re reading this, I miss you.

  6. I think I went to high school with Ann Hedonic.

  7. in this world…

    best: my circle of writer friends expanded beyond my wildest dreams–by both genre and geography–and are now simply friends.

    worst: christopher hitchens wrote his very last words.

  8. Best: offer of publication and representation.

    Worst: toothache on vacation (right now)…
    Advil slowly kicking in (my dentist and I will both be in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday, but we move in different circles.)

  9. Ok, sorry, this is all about me.

    BEST: got an agent. am now in draft 4 of book, and I no longer want to slash my wrists when I read it.

    WORST: still haven’t sold the fucker

  10. I’m not sure why the ‘Amazon rebate’ situation offends so many. I’m not a frequent Amazon user, but aren’t they simply a business offering a discount. If it gets more people reading, I’m a fan.

  11. Best: reading Grace Paley for the first time ie ‘There were two husbands disappointed by eggs…’
    Also selling my second book.

    Worst: trying to read Henry Miller’s ‘Opus Pistorum’ and getting so tired of the word ‘donger’ I had to give up.

  12. Best: the contract on my book
    Worst: the death of Christopher Hitchens

  13. Best: publishing contract
    Worst: too superstitious to say as year’s not over

  14. Best: no ER visits
    Worst: lowering, even further, familial expectations

  15. No list yet, but The Sojourn: complete love. What a beautifully written book.

  16. The best: My daughter is pregnant. HIs Royal Highness is due December 31.

    The worst: Baby it’s cold outside…

  17. BEST: Getting rid of the dog I had recently adopted, because we were not a good match (he went to a nicer home, even got his own blog!).

    WORST: Got a kitten who grew up and now fights with my middle-aged cat. (I thought they’d be friends!)

    • I forgot to say — the dog cost me $3,000 in vet bills, and the kitten gave me cat scratch fever. I didn’t recognize the symptoms so went to the ER with stroke/heart attack, and it cost me $3,000. Need I say that I didn’t have money OR insurance, and am now paying them off on the never-never.

  18. BEST: Being in the delivery room when our newest grandchild was born. Not sure which was tops… the experience, or the fact that my DIL wanted me to be there.

    WORST: No worsts. Just “less bests.” Attitude, baby, attitude.

  19. BEST: “House of Prayer No. 2” by Mark Richard. One of this country’s best writers (now working in TV Land) returns to the literary scene with a vengeance.

    BEST: Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech at the National Book Awards

    BEST: “We the Animals” (novelette?) by Justin Torres

    WORST: No “Mad Men” all year! Come back, Don Draper…

  20. Best: Finishing the fucker!
    Worst: Sending queries.

  21. Thanks for asking!

    Personal Best is a tie: a) the wonderful luck that brought me a piano, several clocks, exercise equipment and my newest little canine companion at NO cost and b) completing the last H. Katrina repairs to my house

    Day Job Best was the inclusion in the city’s Women of the Year List

    Literary Best was discovering this site

    The Worst is a short list of nasty people: the “agent team” that heaped-on the praise only to want payment upfront for promoting my manuscript; the dead-beat client who owes me 5-figures and a particular city hall executive with a personal agenda worthy of a movie plot.

    At this eve of eves, wishing everyone a respite from the worst and immersion in all the best!

  22. Best: Gary Lutz has had a new book, DIVORCER, published by Calamari Press, and has this very month been interviewed by THE PARIS REVIEW.

    Worst: The shenanigans, hijinks, buffoonery, and just plain insufferable puerility of The Congress of the United States of America.

    (NB–I have not put a lot of thought into this, and do not intend to. Happy Solstice, everyone.)

  23. best: finished two projects and sent them out.

    not the best: papering my hallway with rejection letters from said projects!

    no pain, no gain?

  24. Best: “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson.
    Worst: “Conquistadora” by Esmeralda Santiago.

  25. Worst–trying to find a new agent

    Best–how blogging my novel’s non fiction core reconnected me to long lost sisters

  26. Best: Completing a hefty writing goal, a 10K short story for an anthology. 10K may not sound like much, but writing that story was like pulling teeth. Getting to the end of it and editing it to satisfaction, felt great.

    Worst: The Grinch is holed up in my basement somewhere, trying to spoil my jolly mood, snuffing out Christmas tree lights, spilling sprinkles all over the counter and floor during cookie decorating, tinkering with my sewing machine so that it refuses to cooperate with me & my holiday project plans. I will find him, and love all over him….

  27. Best: Melanie Kroupa’s going to edit my new book.

    Worst: I can’t think of a worst.

  28. Best – Winning Betsy’s first sentence contest.

    Worst – Trying to live up to that with all the other damn sentences that come after.

  29. Best: All my new writer-friends and the many things I’ve learned from them.

    Worst: The failures. 2011 was one long train wreck of failed ambition.

  30. BEST: Writing a novel in 3 days.
    WORST: Loss of a beloved pet. (unrelated)

  31. BEST: Receiving a Midwest Writers Workshop Fellowship in Indiana, participating in the 826 Michigan Workshop (with the esteemed Betsy Lerner nonetheless) in Ann Arbor, and meeting some of the FTF crowd in Chicago.

    WORST: Confronting reality and practicality.

  32. BEST: Finally figuring out the voice and direction of this WIP of mine, after two years of flailing.

    WORST: Letting sad days, hard-to-get-out-bed days squelch my momentum. Some days I couldn’t put my fingers on the keyboard. Note: but I’m better now.

  33. Books: Best – The Illumination; Worst – The Marriage Plot

    Music: Best – The Strokes, Angles; Worst – Radiohead, King of Limbs

    Health: Best – Clean bill of health, 3 years after cancer diagnosis; Worst – Spraining my ankle

    Writing: Best – Finishing 2nd draft; Worst – Realizing how tough the revision is going to be.

  34. Best: small press picked up my book
    Worst: I’m with those missing Hitchens and Jobs. My heart aches for Joan Didion who brings us such beauty even through blue nights…

  35. Best: Finally and at long last finishing my BA. I started it in 1985. Summa cum laude, bay-bee!

    Worst: You know, I can’t think of any worst. Between 2005 and 2009, my husband left me for a 24 year old (after 18 years of marriage) My doctor thought I had ovarian cancer. I lost my job. All four of my elderly animals died. I was unemployed for 2 years. Now I have a job (albeit part -time). I have three new fur babies. The novel is coming along. I’m healthy. I have wonderful friends and family. Ain’t no worst in that.

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