• 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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Your Head Is Humming and It Won’t Go

What do you do when you’re sick of your own fucking voice? This blog is seriously getting on my nerves. And foul language is not going to give me the kick I’m looking for. So fuck that shit. I don’t know. I’m in Tangiers. My boots are caked with salt. I am rubbing a Colonial grave with a piece of coal. A waiter confuses me for a man. The night is patent leather. The day is gorgeous and I can’t take it. Three pieces of chocolate. Two satin ribbons as fat and wide as your tongue. You are this, then this, then this. A movie so bad you had to watch. Are those new glasses?  Is your panic attack better than my panic attack? You sound like an asshole. Shhhh. Static. Was that the fax machine? The heat through my house could raise the dead.

What the fuck goes on in your head?

71 Responses

  1. A merry-go-round and sometimes the horses go backwards.

    Yesterday my hair looked wonderful and today the baby put up her arms to me. Everything is fine.

  2. Trust me, Betsy, you don’t want to know what goes on in my head. But I’m not getting sick of your voice and I doubt if anyone else is. Keep at it in Tangiers! Love the pic. I had 3 pieces of chocolate too tonight. No guilt on this end.

    • A very wise woman- I know some of you will find that redundant- told me long ago, when I was tormented, to get down out of my head and into my body. I did, and she was right.

      My head is a place of echos, hopes and plans, but things happen outside of it. Because of this blog and some people here, a chapter moved from inside of me to the page yesterday. Ain’t that cool?

      This morning, Beauregardless explored while I watched the night leave. Dew dropped on my neck, between my watchcap and collar, and Goose Island floated in the fog, skinny trees to the south, fat ones north. My head did not exist.

  3. »What the fuck goes on in your head?«


    »And fowl language is not going to give me the kick I’m looking for.«

    Fowl language? What the cluck? Maybe some rock-n-Roma will help. Here:

  4. i quit.

  5. You stop the cab and get out. You walk. You look around. You stomp until your legs ache.

    You inhale. You exhale.

    Then you write.

  6. Everything. All at once.
    I would never presume to say your panic attack is inferior to mine.
    Maybe you have mania and depression simultaneously too. And ADHD. That wouldn’t make us even. You have to go to work each day and do your job, I get to stay here, in and out of my ugly head.
    I’m mostly a fuckup, and you’re mostly not, but I pity you now, when you’re like this.
    Remember this. My life is a tiny bit better than it was.
    Because of you.

  7. i think you should quit blogging for a year and see what evolves.

  8. Often I get like this. There’s no way out of your own head. You can pretend, you can drink a tub of Nero d’avola like I did the other night. But you’ll be awake at three again, half-dreaming of deck chairs on a ship and your kid’s forgotten high school enrolment, hearing the wind.

  9. Change genres. It’s surprising how your voices changes from adult to YA to Middle grade. Or from prose to verse or screenplay.

    Try a new kind of story, happy, or sad? Try writing without the letter E, or in the future tense, or with the other hand, in crayon, on the back of a place mat from Burger King.

    Imagine you are someone else and write as them. Not in their voice, but AS THEM. Some people only write grocery lists, notes to their cleaner, or short, terse and late birthday cards to their mom. Write those.

    Pretend you’re a dog and write with paw prints only.

  10. When this happens to me I get excited because I know my best writing will come afterward if I do what I need to, which is shut up, and take in the world. Act more, think about myself little as possible, have sex, read deeply, help others, feed the damn dog, drink, move in nature, music! move in water, dance, eat, sleep deeply, love, laugh, cry my head off, all of it. Then when I’m head deep in authentic living, I begin to feel I have something to say that won’t make me want to puke.

  11. writing is hard work, thats all there is to it.

  12. Let’s just say I’m not as lonely since I found your blog.

  13. Listen. There’s been a multiple stabbing in our town during the night. Two people murdered. one hanging on. Everyone’s head is full of shit most of the time. Sometimes I scare myself with the chit chat in my head. But I’m nice. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. Well, maybe a fly.
    We can have as much of this intruding voice in our head as we want. We can say what we want – the most terrible things – even mutter them under our breath, which I often do. It’s whether we act on it that counts. We writers need to explore the possibilities.
    And panic attacks. Baby, you don’t know the half of it!

  14. I was talking ’bout Whitney Houston last night. So unbelievably sad. I was thinking she would have been so much better off if fame had never found her. Maybe she could have kept hold of her joy. Of course, we’d never have heard her sing The Star Spangled Banner. Who’s more important? One human being or the many millions she’s affected? As much as that song tears me up, I vote for the one.

  15. Why do your rants come out as poetry even with the bad words? Not fair. My inner rants are much like this post, kinda whiny. However, even if I do say so meself, my panic attacks are glorious.

  16. Write about something else for a while. Something extracurricular.

  17. raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens…
    be someone else

  18. Death and drums and aches and lust and victories and other people’s poetry and hope.

    It’s a living.

  19. Tangiers Morroco, Missouri, Mississippi, or the musical group? It’s got to make a difference.

  20. The moon, a giant orb above the rest, bathes the night in its magical silvery glow. The woman, raising her hand, smacks palm again cheek, “SNAP OUT OF IT.”
    Watch out Betsy or I’ll send Cher after you.

    So what do I do when the clanging in my head threatens to rattle my car-parts into the gutter, I turn to you my dear. Please do not go the way of the Pimp or Miss Snark.

    I know…fuck us all…we’re eating you alive.
    Go for a ride with the top down, walk around the house naked, eat hot peppers, and soak.
    Welcome back.

  21. If you write, you have to live. I’m chasing memories around in my head. They are dying sparks, things that happened long ago. I read their charge, hook them up to a book or a story. Sometimes I use them differently, in series or parallel for a second story. But if I want lightning in my head, if I want to set off a new storm, I have to live.

  22. “What the fuck goes on in your head?”

    The dark torment of a creature too smart for its own good. As I glance around me, I see that I am not alone. Good enough.

  23. Nothing that I can’t express to a paid professional. I like to think that, with the paid professional’s help, my head is as clean and crag-free as lemon-fresh blue-sky, cloudless day, my psyche is as friendly and transparent as a, as a, I dunno, as a Shrinky-Dink. Nothing to fear, nothing to fear, nothing to fear!

  24. Not much exciting here: Should I join Rotary? Can I make it to the CAC and the dentist in the same day? How am I ever going to get caught up if I keep breaking stride? What’s up with rubbing coal over a Colonial grave? Off to Google….

  25. Back to say that Google didn’t help much. Top two hits were this blog. 😉

    • I’m in Rotary – still an interesting frontier for women, but now I’m Prez-elect of our chapter, so I guess the guys like me. As for the charcoal: it’s a method of copying an incised design (typically an interesting grave stone or church carving) by placing a sheet of thin paper over the area and rubbing charcoal over the paper’s surface. I used this technique on some great WPA-era plaques. They made nice gifts, once framed.

      • If you are Prez-elect, you must be finding something valuable in it. My grandfather was a lifelong member. my father still is. I remember seeing the Four-Way test on my grandfather’s office wall when I was a kid, and have sort of held that thought. I have lunch time meeting, which would work, but is about an hours drive, round trip, and a breakfast meeting which is closer, but is more complicated for other reasons. I appreciate your input.

        I’m glad to know that about the charcoal rubbings. That could come in handy in some of our travels. Thank you!

  26. It comes and it goes…this “getting sick of” thing. I try to not make any big decisions that will change something that can’t be changed back. I take a break.Everyone gets tired of shit…they even get tired of themselves.
    I would really hate it if you stopped writing in your blog, but you’re not writing this blog for me really.

  27. It’s February. February makes everyone sick of themselves.

    Whatever you do, DON’T get a haircut. February + haircut always = a crap ‘do that will take you a year to grow out.

    • But I’ve already booked for next Tuesday… she-it .

    • “February makes everyone sick of themselves.”

      Amen, sister. Must be a Northern Hemisphere thing. By Valentine’s Day I’m ready to chew broken glass and scalp myself. And all my marriages have come apart in February. What the fuck is up with that? It’s brutal.

      It’s that fucking groundhog. He hides out in his cozy little burrow and nibbles on human hearts. I catch that little punk-ass out and he’s mine. He’ll be a fuckin’ football.

      • Reminds me of the Dar Williams song, February:
        First we forgot where we’d planted those bulbs last year, 

        Then we forgot that we’d planted at all, 

        Then we forgot what plants are altogether, 

        and I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and 

        The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?

      • Your meds are in the cabinet over the sink, Tetman. Would you like a beer to wash them down?

      • Maybe you need a little Mardis Gras. 😉 Y’all come see us next year!

    • I tried this stunt last week. Cut it all off!!!!

      Thankfully the woman with the scissors spent 10 minutes talking me out of it. She knows all about February.

    • February is a disease. I’m so glad someone else says so.

  28. Is there enough mail coming into this PO to justify its existence?
    Songs, frigging songs I can’t get out of my mind.
    9101900006626014892248. I hate when i have to scan something by hand. Peebles … Lang … Smith ….Santamaria…. names, names, just a lot of names, connecting names to faces, personalities.
    I need to call Tony’s wife and figure out what to do with all his stuff, what she wants, what she wants me to take to the dump. I wonder if that splash of blood contained in the layered frost of the freezer is his or just from a leaking tray of red meat? Weird how it’s still so red after 2 months.
    I yelled at my daughter this morning for no reason other than self imposed stress. She was pestering with questions and I told her a bunch of times I didn’t know the answer. But she kept saying, “Guess.” “Guess.” “Guess.” while I was tending the woodstove and fretting over being late again. “I DON’T KNOW!” I bellowed and she got real quiet and then came the silent tears. I felt like shit; a failure, a leak in the vein of my heart. I was wrong, we both knew it and her mother held her the way a child should be held. I’ll be glad when this postal stint is over and I can return to being a parent first, a government employee second. No, parenting has never actually taken a back seat to anything.
    Songs in my head, tune really, just a little dododododododado run on the guitar, played in the key of blue.
    My thoughts here and then gone, popping like farts in the bathtub.
    It smells like gas in here. I wonder if there’s a leak?
    Whoa — I don’t know why that model on the cover of Sports Illustrated is wearing anything at all.

  29. When I’m sick of my own fucking voice, I listen to Jerry’s. Remember the box of rain.

  30. Even the skeleton in today’s illustration holds both the moon (or it that a biscuit?) and the sun: there are options and choices, phases and spells. I have spent entire days listening to the ranting, unrelenting voice in my mind. Cruel and untiring, convicting me of every possible flaw, it was an effort to wash a plate without thinking I was a failure. Thankfully, I have found ways to quiet that voice, to distract my focus away from that harpy. These last weeks of winter, though, is a difficult time above the 32nd latitude – which is one reason why I moved south.

    My Zephirine Drouhin rose has two open blooms today. I’ll think about their deep fragrance as I maneuver Day Job drama and decide upon a better sequence of dialogue in a current work. With luck, that should be enough to fill my mind.

  31. We are dog-sitting for a week. My house is full of dog hair. My head is full of terror as I envisage full frontal pestering to get our own dog once this one leaves.

  32. Four ounces up? Are you fucking kidding me? I should have eaten the donut. I shouldn’t have eaten at all. Stop being so lazy. Move! Can a heart explode? Where’s the nearest trash can or toilet? Torn abdominal muscles my ass… Yeah, maybe I’ll skip the crunches. Where in heck did the ‘red solo cup, I fill you up, let’s have a party, let’s have a party’ earworm come from?

  33. Maybe it’s time for a contest? Or a concrete contribution. The three way spin of song title image and poetic rant text it always charms but charm doesn’t quiet the junkie baby sister on the phone asking for money. What to say when the craving isn’t mine and I have no more to give. While she talks explains how I can send a check right to the landlord if I want I clean the sink the floor around the dog bowl the ring around my cold heart and say I can’t afford it, I just can’t.

  34. Body hatred, revenge plots, dog love, negotiating, conversations I’ll never have.

  35. A friend of mine wrote a novel about a boy being abused by a preacher. This preacher also had sex most of the women and little boys in the small, isolated town. When I read his m/s, it reminded me of The Bluest Eye, only in a boy’s voice and interwoven with Biblical parables.

    I met with this friend yesterday. An agent recently rejected the m/s with long apologetic letter, saying the story is still haunting him but he knows he can’t sell it, that no one will take a chance on a dark story, in a boy’s voice, about pedophilia.

    That boy’s voice is the one in my head today.

  36. We are organic beings marking mechanical beats.

    The chosen task is daily and perpetual, but our bodies run on less-consistent cycles.

    Nature’s law of compensation: what you expend, you must restore. A law which career and craft don’t have much truck with.

    We have to recognize when body and soul have bailed, guard against the potential damage.

    Over time, I’ve come to view the very definition of professionalism as moderate performance in such down periods.

  37. A thought. Colors can help. Chalk, pencils, paint that can be thrown or splatted is better. Scribbling really intensely, really hard so you break the paper. Almost like the sillier you feel the better. Don’t try to actually represent anything as your head might get louder. Lorazapam work. If they don’t a bottle of something drunk that can be thrown against the wall where it smashes might help. Or not because your head might scream about the clean up. But at least that is practically focused, goal oriented and has nothing to do with subjective self-expression like writing does.

  38. Sometimes, when I read your blog posts, I can see and hear them as poems. Beginning with “I’m in Tangiers,” this is one example – it would make a great poem.

  39. Sometimes there’s not a damn thing in my head. Other times, the demands of 20 clients are intermingled with what I’d rather be writing down, the stories I like to tell, especially knowing that people are waiting to read them. Sometimes, when I have time to not think about clients, my head is empty, and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was I wanted to say. I’m sick of the whole memoir/baring my soul but I can’t stop, and so I go on, knowing that my dead ex would have wished it so. Easy for him to say — he’s not here trying to figure it out.

  40. I’m thinking about emailing the agent I’ve been in touch with to explain about my lack of a formal education. Then I worry that he’ll see my name and think how did she get into my inbox in the first place? My husband was annoyed with me the other night. “Stop treating these people like they’re better than you!” But I can’t help feeling that this process puts me in the position of behaving like a creep, asking for favours, begging for a moment of the agent’s precious time. I’ve never networked, schmoozed, or asked for help that I can remember and I can’t stand feeling like I’m doing it now. To top it off, I’m suddenly overcome with self-conscious writer’s block as I write up this latest batch of query emails. For a year prior to completing my book, I had an agent in mind as my first pick to query. I studied her client list and borrowed all her clients’ books from the library, reading and preparing to discuss how I suited her list. To my query, I got a ‘Dear Author’ reply. Now I’m thinking that none of her authors are all that great anyway, I guess a part of me feels phoney for telling her I thought they were.

    • Why does that agent even want a CV for a fiction submission? The work speaks. Betsy, correct me if I’m wrong, but–at least for fiction and memoir–if the work’s great, no one gives a shit about your lack of education. Except you. And, as my mother used to say, if you have a pimple on your ass there’s no need to tell the world about it.

    • MO, every last one of us in this business is a phony one way or another, so welcome aboard.

      Come to think of it, every last human being who has ever lived is a phony, one way or another. It’s our blessing and our curse. Or one of each, anyway.

      And don’t explain anything to anyone. To make that move is to move against yourself from a position of strength to a position of weakness. Your work speaks for itself. It is your credential. Nothing else matters.

      Now, don’t waste any more time on any mistakes you think you may have made. They don’t count and you can’t fix them. You can’t go back. From this point you go forward.

      And remember–if unsolicited advice from strangers is free, that may be a reflection of its true market value.

      • We’re not phonies, we’re actors, entertainers. Put on a good show, MO. You’re doing a lot of good groundwork, it just may pay off somewhere you don’t expect.

    • Don’t feel phony for believing they were good, they were, they got published, somebody thought they were good. Tetman is right; ‘your work is your credential’, unless what you are writing about requires a platform.
      Listen, come closer, LISTEN, don’t give up, don’t ever give up. Do not let the bastards wear you down.
      Believe, did you hear what I said, BELIEVE. In writing, until it’s done, you get do-overs and yes, sometimes even when it’s done. When they print your second hundred-thousand they will fix the screw-up they missed. In life you can’t change the past but in writing, that’s why pencils have erasers.
      Thicken your skin babe, the slings and arrows are coming your way. Welcome them, it’s all part of the game. Do not, did you hear me. DO NOT take your book and go home.

  41. My head? Shit, I’m with you, Betsy. Too damn much. I’m aching for a fun mania, a fancy new pair of boots, some pudding that doesn’t turn to belly fat.

    I wish I were a jock girl. Really good at golf. Or a better skier. Why is my face sagging? Why am I not still 25? Why did I think I was old when I was 25? I need a brain vacuum. I want to march into the CEO office of United Airline and grab the moussed and combed-over head of some asshole and throttle it silly. Why do the assholes continue to rule and ruin the world? Occupy my ass. It’s getting bigger by the minute.

  42. Sick of hearing your own voice and having this blog get on your nerves? Here’s a reminder of why you should keep going: a post from exactly a year ago: https://betsylerner.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/waiting-for-my-new-friends-to-come/

  43. all sustained endeavors cycle through periods of tedium…fields go fallow if you don’t give the soil a season of rest (I think for some crops it’s the seventh year, I’ll have to ask my cotton producing father and brother)…though your posts are still fertile, manifest an abundance of life…bear fruit (pick your metaphor)…selfishly I don’t want you to rest…I think the pressure of having to tuck us all in, even when it’s the last fucking thing you feel like doing at the end of a long day, is part of what gives your blog the urgency and honesty we keep coming back for…

  44. The following may work, speak to your MD:
    1. ~ 500 mg divalproex disodium (‘Depakote’: 2 x 250 mg, am/pm)
    2. 0.25-0.50 mg Clonazepam
    3. 25 mg Effexor (2 x 12.5mg)

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