• 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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All You Need is Love

I want to talk about being selfish, about being a selfish bastard, about boundaries and limits and the hard bark of an elm tree. I want to talk about waking up in a cold, empty house. Outside, gnarled gray branches electrified the sky. The plan is to work all day. Reading Poets & Writers to procrastinate, you see the face of a poet you once loved, followed to Baltimore; a failure in courage when you didn’t say hello. Later, a fruitless trip to Staples, forgetting the kind of toner you need, standing in the aisle like Ruth amid the alien corn. Can I help you, ma’am? Yes, dear man. Can you cover my body in toner and set it on fire? I spent the vacation writing. Writing!

I was hoping to do something new with the blog this year, to be positive and affirming and full of love, but I can’t. I can’t. I can’t and I won’t. Resolution: eat shit and die.

And your resolution? Whatcha got?

44 Responses

  1. Tell me it’s not about Mark Strand. My resolution is the same as Woody Guthrie’s 70 years ago: Wake up and fight.

  2. Resolution: Do something positive with this life.

  3. I got nothin’ and then I got nothin’ more. I don’t make resolutions because then I’m bound to fail, and isn’t life shitty enough without setting myself up for failure? So I make no year end resolutions, but I tell myself I will do more, and I will write. And did I take the extra time last week to write? No, I mourned the death of my father, who was so rude as to die in the hospital while I was at the airport ten minutes away waiting to be picked up so I could see him before he died. I write about it here: http://moniquecolver.blogspot.com/2011/12/death-of-my-father.html

    Can you believe it? He dies when I am just moments away. He couldn’t delay for a few minutes? But it’s okay — I don’t mind so much. I’ve watched people die before, it’s something I’m good at, but if they have to leave before I’ve been at their bedside it’s okay by me. Don’t put off doing what you must do just because you’re waiting on me, because I may not show up.

    Perhaps in 2012 I’ll do what I must and not wait for everyone else to get with the program. Not that I’m going to die or anything, because I’m not ready for anything like that. But in more general terms.

    And when I write about death, which I often do, I don’t want sympathy, because I am not sad, except momentarily and in passing, but I want only to talk about it. We’re all going to do it eventually, aren’t we?

    • I realize you’re not asking for it. Still, I can’t help but to offer my condolences.

    • Ouch. I remember waiting at the hospital when my mother was dying. I fell asleep. The nurses convinced me to go home and get some rest. I returned to that gaping mouth, those milky eyes. The room rang with emptiness and I was Peter in the garden. One of my greatest regrets.

  4. Don’t you change a hair of this blog, Betsy Lerner! Or do what you want, but I think it’s perfect. Anyway, it’ll change by itself when it’s ready. It already has.

    My resolution: FTF. And keep breathing.

  5. Now you’re talking! I hear you with the eat shit, Betsy, I am so there with you. My resolutions include the usual be better stuff, but “write first” is my mantra for 2012.

    Tomorrow, my writing group will gather as we have for the past 20 years, and we’ll issue our concrete and esoteric “must do’s” and they will go on to execute their various 6-fig deals as they always do and I’ll sit there and scratch my butt and complicate my intention with all sorts of qualifiers.

    But, I am going to write first. I am. Really.

  6. I have a schedule to follow now and a small deadline in January.

    Find the time, use the time. That’s resolution enough for me.

  7. My resolution: first draft done by end of the summer. I suck at keeping resolutions, but this time it’s serious.

  8. don’t get online before i’ve done my writing for the day. that’s my new habit i’m going to develop for january.

    when february comes i’ll think of another new habit to develop for february.

    and so on.

  9. dear lord.
    positive and affirming?
    i already subscribe to O, i come here for words that make my head spin.

    (your eat-shit-and-dies make me more happy than any O article anyway)

  10. I left resolutions years ago, and my intentions are a better fit for me, and kinder to myself. This year, my intentions are words: Persistence and Adventure. I add those to things to everything else this year and figure i can’t go wrong – persistence in writing, in bill – paying off, in creating what i want in my world. Adventure in writing, adventures with my friends, with love, with finding new friends. So tomorrow, because today was a lovely day of flowing with others, and tomorrow is Monday, after all, tomorrow i will get up and ask , what do i need to be Persistent with today? And where does Adventure want to show up in my life today? I am only vowing to myself that by the end of 2012 i will have more days I have awakened and asked myself those questions and followed through with the doing, then days I have not. Cheers to you all, you lovely writers!

  11. Less drinking. More thinking. Less feeding. More reading. Less fighting. More writing.

  12. PLEASE don’t be all lovey and positive. I get enough of that on Facebook and it makes me want to vomit!

  13. My intention for 2012: be generous.

  14. Resolutions are for suckers.

  15. Yay, you’re back. We can all come in out of the cold now.

    I’m with Bobbi. It’s wasted energy to even consider resolutions. I’d much prefer to just do.

    • And I’m with MSB. All my planning or trying to plan has made me miserable. Now, I’m just doing. I made a 2 month commitment for this year. Beyond that, we’ll see. Welcome back from the dark side Deb.

  16. I’m with Jess on this one. FTF.

  17. If you feel positive, be positive, if you don’t, then please, don’t fake it.

  18. I resolve to write in the mornings instead of read this damned blog, but I think I will fail. It’s just too much fun.

  19. I don’t do resolutions either. Ok, no more text messages while slightly drunk. Prepare my veggie garden properly this summer so’s I have great tomatoes.

  20. I read and read and read and read and told myself I was “Researching” with a capital R, thank you!

  21. Lacosta, Florida, 77 degrees, sunny. Working on my dragon novel, reading a Kurt Vonnegut biography, watching football. What’s there to complain about?
    Webb

  22. Even though you can’t and you won’t, you did. How’s that for a ricochet?

    Happy New Year.

    And there’s no need to eat shit. With a little patience, you can make your own. As for the die part, let’s not rush things. We’re on a one-way street.

  23. Dragon. This is my year.

  24. I’m not finished with last year’s resolutions, so not much is changing in my overly-scheduled life.

    However, I did amuse myself yesterday with the results of my attempts to repair a clock mechanism. The #@$% thing worked just fine on the repair stand, then refused to work inside the nice walnut tall case. Working “outside the box” indeed!

  25. My resolution: treadmill every day. I am very good about keeping my resolve in such simple matters. Betsy, pick a happier resolution. I don’t want you to die, but I am wondering if I should leave the shit part up to your personal judgement. I hope you will decide against it.

  26. I made a list of twelve changes I’d like to make. I’ve already broken four of them and if I stay awake much longer, it will be five.

  27. My only resolution is to be happy. That’s it. I’ve decided.

  28. Thanks to my yoga teacher, instead of making big resolutions for the new year, I looked back on 2011 and realized for the first time that I had had a wonderful year.

    I finished my book. I spent my birthday in the Yosemite High Country with good friends. I buried my mother in a dear, safe place in Michigan. I discovered Zumba. My daughter fell in love for the first time.

    I also did a lot of procrasinating with Poets and Writers.

    So I’m grateful for 2011, and I’m trusting that 2012 will turn out just fine.

  29. I’ve been plotting, planning and scheming for two years on my latest novel, but now it’s time to turn off the headlights and mash the gas.

  30. Put down my fork between bites. Add a little jogging to my dog walks.

    And Happy New Year! Glad you’re back.

  31. I looked up your blog last night, affinding ally opening up your book. The Forest for the Trees just sitting on my coffee table looking at me. The Christmas paper had been cleaned up and I still can’t remember where your book came from. So I resisted opening up “another” writer’s advice book. I have been fuming over Christmas “shit” and because i had no other recourse started writing about it. So I did. Then, caught myself, is this voice qualified to record my experiences from my crazy Christmas? Blah, blah, blah, (I still need to add a comment to Shanna’s post) then ther’s your book again, lying around my house for some unknown reason. Each time I walk by my curiosity starts to peek and I wonder will this book be the one, will it get me to where I need to go? Because I’ve been hopeful before and frankly hate walking away unsatisfied. I decide to go for it, if anything, there’s bound to be one or two good suggestions to keep me coming back for more but if not I don’t have to keep reading it, right? Let me warn you first, I am going to gush here but I hope you read it as sincerely as I mean it to be. I have been looking for someone who says “it” like IT IS. A NO bullshit perspective. Your words both soothe me & frighten me. What you have to say disappoints me and simultaneously turns me on and Now I learn this site was created to carry on that conversation. I think I’m having a writer’s right hand orgasm. Thank you!

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