• 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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I’ll Send You All My Love Every Day In a Letter

I haven’t known how to tell you this, but I’m taking a two week vacation. And I’ve been too busy to rope in any guest bloggers and The Hose is finishing her own book, so this blog is on ice until June 25. I’m heading out for the 87th Annual Miniature Golf Championships in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin to defend my title. For reading, I’m taking Patricia Bosworth’s biography of Marlon Brando, maybe The Marriage Plot by Eugenides because I’m told there’s a bi-pole character and I like to see how badly writers fuck that up. I want to take the Harbach, but it’s too big for my bag. I might reread THe ENd of the Affair because it makes me feel so gutted. I hope you have a great two weeks. I hope something surprising happens: an editor is interested in your novel, you change the tense in your story and it takes off, your meds kick in, Steven Soderbergh options your magazine article, you get a fan letter. As my UK agent says, I love you and leave you.

If  you feel like dropping in from time to time, leave one sentence (entirely out of context) from something you’ve written that day. If you like. Hope to see when I come back (with the trophy). Love, Betsy

274 Responses

  1. Have a wonderful vacation! ( I miss you already.)

  2. I believe we will need a photo of this trophy. Have a great trip. Winning!!!

  3. Will be missed

  4. Bon voyage Madame!

  5. Having a bit of an anxiety attack! Enjoy your vacation!

  6. I’m four miles from the cheese wall. Can we do lunch? There’s an Arby’s half way.

  7. Okay, but don’t blame us if we get into trouble. Children should never be left unattended.

  8. Your vacation involves balls? How perfect. May you have a hole in one each day.

  9. None of those books sound like vacation reading to me (“gutted”?), but I hope you have a nice time anyway. I’ll put up a sentence every day.

  10. Can someone, on their blog, offer to give us a place to gather?

  11. Fair winds and weather, Betsy.

  12. Happy vacation Betsy.

  13. Putt-Putt pretty, Ms. Lerner.

  14. Sounds a little heavy for vacation reading. You might as well pack in The Deerslayer while you’re at it for reading between holes. Have fun!

  15. Pisses me off.

  16. Maybe I’ll finish my first draft ( 3 years worth) while you’re gone. Thanks for the deadline Betsy ! Safe travels!
    Ps there’s a great audio.com version of The End of the Affair if you’re going to be driving

  17. Thank you! Because for the past month my depression has been free-form and free-floating but for the next two weeks I have a perfect raison d’etre annoyed with the world. Whew. I feel better already.

  18. Soft grip. Never up and never in. Do this, do that, swing hard, look up. And many other trite golf pointers. Hell, a duffer like me shouldn’t be giving the champ advice; have a good vacation!

  19. Have a fabulous Putt Putt. I was so excited to read The Marriage Plot and I was completely underwhelmed. Maybe you’ll fair better. I will miss you and the rest of your cronies. Rest up, I’m sure we’ll all be a bit squirrely when you get back.

  20. Enjoy! I’ll miss you and this!

  21. bon voyage

  22. Hey I just went over to Hope’s blog. Great info. Love the bus too.

  23. Sunscreen. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

  24. Arrivederci! There. I knew I could be different. Now, how does one detox from a specific blog addiction? I’ll check out your site Hope – I have one too but nothing anywhere close to as interesting as yours.

  25. Buona vacanza

  26. Don’t know how to tell you people this, but do you really think Betsy plays competitive miniature golf?

  27. i’m thinking she’s in Miami, sipping a cuba libra, wearing a pair of doc marten flip-flops (an actual product if you can believe it). her feet are unnaturally pale, the second toe longer than the first. a digital sign of intelligence.

    betsy’s second toe. the title of a story?

    yes, i’m avoiding the edits.

  28. Ready to play the “line from something you’ve written that day” game? I am. I’ll start. I’ve got a long one.

    I see Haywood looking my way and I start moving back toward the front of the pod, two inmates flanking me, on my right Twenty-one Nine-oh-nine who tells me, “I’m concerned about a classification issue,” and I say, “Tell me,” and he says, “I’m supposed to be out of here next week but I have good reason to believe that there’s a hang-up with my bond, that it’s incorrectly entered into the jail’s massive and all-knowing computer system which you and I both know is the secret mind of God or the Devil or probably both, I have it on good authority that they are twin brothers of different mothers,” and I say, “I will look
    into your bond issue but I’m not qualified to make any judgments about God or the Devil, that’s above my pay grade,” and if Haywood could hear me I know he would say, “Good catch,” but he’s still too far away and it is noisy in this cold place and on my left side Fifty-four
    Seventeen is telling me, “I’m sorry, don’t tell anyone I’m sorry but I can tell you, I can tell just by looking at you, I’m an alcoholic and I’m in on a parole violation, I tested positive on a urine test and I studied all night, I want to go to rehab, I’m sorry, my Public Defender is Annie Rain, will you tell her I’m sorry?”

  29. I’m glad you’re going away, although miss you I will. The occasional breather is always healthy, for both parties. Now I must get intensely involved in something else, like, oh, my own writing, my own blog. Although I must say, I’d love a postcard from Fond du Lac, if you’re actually going there, which I somehow doubt.

  30. All the best and yes come back, with the trophy!

  31. Okay, Tet was brave enough. here’s MY sentence, actually a few. Not as long as Tet because is anyone really as lo—-ng as Tet? hahaha
    First sentence of a sci-fi novel I wrote ten years ago.

    I have forgotten what it’s like to be hungry, to risk everything for a sip of water, to feel pain or discomfort as simple as an itch. This must be what a coma is like; this feeling of nothing, blanketed by a longing for escape so all-encompassing it beats water for thirst.

    In front of me, a huge glowing box hovering in space. It is an enormous pink block, a room. We are suspended together in emptiness, this block and I.

  32. First lines . . . hummm. I have an urge, an urge as strong as those sailors have after a six month cruise, an urge to include more lines. Hanging by itself, my first line looks so puny. I hope it will prick the interest of some Wave turned editor.
    ” I wasn’t really stalking her.”

  33. Okay, here’s another. This is from something different from what I posted earlier. It’s not an opening line, it’s a sentence from something I’ve written today. In fact, I wrote it about five minutes ago.

    I grabbed her to throw her out and she started running around in the house, laughing and squealing and shouting like she thought it was some kind of game.

  34. spurs Love that your headline produced me click the link in the google search. Great content material. Thanks for sharing! dandelion wine

  35. That’s bullshit from Betsy about Fon du Lac. After that comment about her UK agent, maybe she is in England. I’d definitely vote for her being somewhere in Europe over Fon du Lac.

  36. Here’s a couple of sentences from 2nd book:

    The jingle of coins in my pockets created an uprightness to my posture, put a bounce in my step and I figured anyone seeing me would say, well now, he looks as if he’s doing alright these days. But they would only be halfway right.

  37. I went to visit a dying Snakecharmer today, pancreatic cancer dissolving his body and chipping away at his soul. Some others were there too, and Snakey was happy to have company, all of us talking and arguing, respectfully silent when our fading friend voiced his opinions, and at least for a few hours he felt part of the living again, preparing to leave, but surely not about to let that strap hinged door hit him too hard on the ass on the way out.
    (written on a napkin while parked in the shade on the side of a dirt road).

    • wow…I thought this was true. Would definitely read more (and also argue whether cancer chips away at the soul).

    • I thought it was true too.

    • Sadly, it is true. Snakecharmer was given six months to live about a year ago. He’s fighting it, but the prognosis is grim.

      • So sorry, Mike. Hopefully the soul’s not being chipped away. If it is, maybe some of the chips will stay around after he’s gone, like seeds kind of. Some in you already, I guess, that you’ve written this.

        Real or not– hope you write more about him.

      • Regarding the soul seeds — I think so, Mary. He’s not afraid to voice his opinion, regardless of the crowd, and he’s the first one there if someone needs a hand; this old world needs more people like that.

  38. I’m a detective.

    I think Betsy is really vacationing in the Founde Dru Lakes Region of Hampshire County just outside of Winchester, England. There’s a large Inn there where many writers seek retreat for writing. There’s also a famous golf course, some big-ass tournament each year, it’s on TV with famous golfers I’ve never heard of; it’s the one with lots of tall grass and no trees. My husband told me about it. He said someday he’d take me there so he could play golf and I could write.

    Maybe Betsy is with her UK agent visiting the famous movie producer, (she may or may not have mentioned) because he might just own an estate on a Founde Lake peninsula near the golf course.

    Like I said, I’m a detective.

  39. Today’s line:

    I told Chris, Shit, man, she’s coming after me with the knife.

  40. The setting…driving cross country alone. Only radio stations strong enough to accompany the driver, Country.

    And my line for today.

    “Broken hearts bled from my dashboard as I rode the music and the road.”

  41. Today’s line:

    »Besides, in my house, the one who loved you was the one who fed you, who put clothes on your back and a roof over your head, and who paid the tuition that provided the food, shelter and clothing for the nuns who yelled at you in loco parentis.« —from “The Pipeline,” tulasipriya.com

    (if this turns out to be a duplicate, sorry; WordPress is acting up on me.)

  42. This isn’t today’s line, but it made my day. From my editor:

    “If you ever have any doubts about your writing abilities….don’t. One of the strongest endorsements I can recall for any writer we’ve published. We’re lucky to have you.”

    This in reference to a letter from a reader.

    Wow. Once again, I feel fortunate, and that reminds me that if there’s a next boat, it ought to be called “Blind Hog”.

    • Wow…good for you Frank.

      You know it’s funny, you can have people tell you all day long what a great writer you are, your friends, family, people who don’t know you and still admire your abilities, even fellow writers like us schlumps who know how difficult this all can be but it’s only when someone in the business, someone who actually gets paid to notice and admire and make money at it says, “we’re lucky to have you,”…well, kind of makes your heart fly doesn’t it or in your case fills your canvas with wind.

      I’m still clinging to an email from my editor, written four months ago, “…you really have talent,” she said. Those few words validated all my efforts; gave me a smooth road for awhile.

      Enjoy, bask, you deserve it because they are lucky to have you. So are we.

    • Yes, I agree, Frank; lucky to have you.

    • Awesome, Frank.

      • Thank you all. Funny thing is, I feel lucky to have found this place, and to hang out with you guys. You are good company.

        It also occurs to me that no matter how isolated we may be in thought or in the act of penning, a little support and connection goes far.How far can we go on the good, and how will be held by being ignored or rejected?

        I recently watched a couple in a fifteen footer work against a foul tide and shifting headwinds through a narrow, angled entrance with steep breakwalls, coming close, bearing off just in time, going back out into the mess to try again. Outside, they’d bash around a bit, get some room, come about and get some speed, line up and try again.

        From my perch, I watched and cheered them, holding my breath, sometimes coaching…”Push, push, trim, good, you got it, come on, wind shift, ease, ease, you better tack..come on, tack, good, good, damn!”

        Five entries, five exits, each better than those before, none easy. On the sixth they made it inside, and I cheered as they eased the boat to gently kiss the dock. It was a joy.

        That’s how I see us here, and I’ll bet Betsy is watching, too.

      • Hey Frank,
        It’s amazing, the coat-tails on which our dreams and efforts ride. Sailing, writing, performing, hitting a little ball into a hole in the ground, this is a great community. I’m hoping for each of us to navigate well and arive safely with more than few stories to tell.

        Hey Betsy, hope you are having a hell-of-a-vacation.

        This post better fall into the it’s right place in line or I’m a dumb ass..

    • Wonderful editor you have there, Frank. I’ll be raising a toast to you both tonight.

  43. Twenty years after the fallout and nuclear winter, as the Earth attempted to heal itself and as the surviving men were reduced to the level of apes, performing small humping motions as they walked, the women of the city saw their chance to cock block the reemergence of paternalism.

  44. “Let me tell you something. You exist when you tell someone you’re there,” said Johnny. He leaned back in his plastic chair. “That’s why we use Facebook and Twitter.”

  45. A line from something I wrote today: I guess forty-six is as good an age as any to learn the value of a dollar.

  46. Evangeline Walker stood on second base holding a white vinyl wedding album.

  47. Today’s line:

    She slipped in the eggs she’d thrown all over the floor and banged her head against the edge of the kitchen table.

  48. We have all heard of people breaking chains. Children who arrive on the doorstep of abusive parents but somehow manage to deflect their sinful ways and turn out good. But what about the inverse? Can evil be created despite loving and attentive guardians?

  49. Today’s sentence: I got bored of the witness, who was trying too hard to modestify his extreme greatness for the jury.

  50. Since day one, I’ve watched every person who mattered to me walk away.

  51. Man on a street corner with his didgeridoo
    Touched her thigh, she said didgeridon’t
    He played a song and proclaimed didgeriwon’t
    They changed their tunes and didgeridid
    (written on the midnight ferry crossing Lake Champlain after a day at the Burlington Jazz Festival).

  52. Here in the straightjacket of want,
    I sit with my old pal,
    Longsuffering,
    as cut-rate walls strain against their frame-ups
    in response to ravening gusts.

  53. Random sentence:

    His stare is nailed to mine, and in his expression is the depth of our shared perversion, this mutual need to locate the line.

  54. Today’s sentence.

    Wendell hung the Playboy Calendar over the tiny hole in the wall, promising his more civilized-side, he’d only peek into the apartment next door when he was tired of hot-month, Miss July.

    • Or, showing not telling…

      Hanging the Playboy Calendar over the tiny hole in the wall, Wendell promised his more civilized-side, I’ll only peek into the apartment next door when Miss Hot Month, July, doesn’t make my hand tired anymore.

      OMG did I just write that?

  55. Today’s line:

    She came around through the side gate in the yard and up to the garage, where she got down on her hands and knees in the driveway.

  56. Sentence of the day:

    Because of my mysterious and complicated pedigree, and at the risk of sounding like a total wingnut, I will say that I suspect I’m the reincarnation of my mother’s mother, which if true, would both simplify and complicate matters.

    —From a comment Averil’s masterful blog post on Grandmothers

  57. I wanted to be an artist, all-seeing eye in the middle of my own bright sentence, the subject of my own life, a solitary soul standing on a cliff edge. Like that philosopher guy the size of a thumb in a Chinese painting I’d seen on a high school field trip to the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City. Made with minimal strokes of black ink on beige silk, a thought poem written in calligraphy, in deft shades of gray with a spot of red. I looked at that and imagined the path my talent might take me, a girl who lived hidden inside.

    • Very nice, CJ — the image of a Chinese painting, letters and a little girl absorbed in studying the painting is very clear in my mind.

  58. Sentence of the day: Work sucks.

  59. Today’s sentence:

    I was thinking about bacon grease the other day, how we used to keep a coffee can full of it next to the gas stove, waiting to become the soul of the next incarnation of Daddy’s Southern gravy.

    • My mom used to collect all the bits of veggies leftover from dinners throughout the week. On Friday night she’d make goulash, which was basically macaroni and whatever else she could find to sling in there, made into a casserole with cheese on top. Kid food!

  60. Today’s sentence:

    My cousin died today, thirty-one years of ALS, all he could do was blink his eyes and yet he loved life.

    Another today’s sentence:

    My tribute to him…accept the physical limitations you have because to him they would have meant freedom.

  61. Today’s line:

    We got out of the car and I asked the ambulance guys, Hey, what’s going on?

    • and then the whole damn thing fell apart. three weeks of work and it sux. but i know how to start over. i made some notes. i’ll get the damn thing to work if i have to kick the stuffing out of it to do it (pitching fantods in the morning light).

      • Hey, it’s not fair to say a story sucks until it has all its parts and it’s fully out of the vajayjay, responding to its spank on the ass. Even then, you can rewind to the moment of conception and remake it.

        I’m curious about “we got out of the car” and the ambulance, and I want to see how this characters acts when he says what he says.

        Good luck, eh?

  62. Today’s line:

    The nurse brought one baby to my room; I had given birth to two.

  63. A line stolen from the young woman walking ahead of me:

    “Yeah, if we have kids they better all be boys ’cause I’m not giving up my reign.”

  64. The officer looking at my passport, scowled and squinted.

    “What were you doing in Egypt?”

    “Studying ancient neologisms.”

    “What’s that?”

    “Old new words. Very old new words.”

    “Don’t be a smart ass.”

    “Don’t be a dumb ass.”

    The cell was small, and my head hurt.

  65. Not my sentence, but I need to share a laugh on this gray, sluggish (as in the slimy creatures that want to eat my slowly ripening strawberries before I do) New England day. Seen on a blog about being able to grow Camelias further north than their usual range:

    “In my unofficial opinion, it’s globular warming.”

    Spew coffee, palm face.

  66. My one sentence that I will probably repeat several times today:

    The term “carpetbagger” held no visceral sensation for me, no power to express the depths of raw frustration until some suit in another city decided to fire 200 employees and reduce our local newspaper to a 3-day a week printed publication.

  67. Okay, it’s not a single sentence, but I wrote it in the last 24 hours.

    “Does the world seem like something you can’t control? Do you soothe yourself about this truth–because it is, sadly, true–with your lists, your matching socks and undies, your germophobia, or your obsessive worrying (yes, anxiety is a way of trying to control the uncontrollable–but that’s a blog post in itself, isn’t it?) Do you comfort yourself with the thought that if you can’t control the world, then you can at least control yourself? Sorry. Apparently, you can’t. “

  68. There were two balloons floating in the air with faces on them, not painted faces but the actual faces of some of the nurses I had seen earlier, and they spoke out of the sides of their mouths, like someone with nerve damage from a stroke, slurred words I deciphered as We don’t know and What we do know, we can’t say.
    -from p.25 of a work in progress

  69. In truth, I was like a hollow, chocolate Easter Bunny. You know, the kind you bite into, and its thin walls crumble under your teeth, and then disappointment surges through you because, really, nothing good is there.
    Me, my life, nothing was there. I was no better than a cheap chocolate rabbit.
    But I wasn’t going to point this out. Oh, no. He might laugh, or bring up I was more a caramel-covered popcorn ball, round and sticky and inflated with air, and who needed that.

  70. Note to self: when the voice within says to steer clear of the angry woman with bulging eyes who wants to be your new best friend, listen.

  71. It trickled out of what Cleveland said all moonshiner’s called the “money piece,” which was the end of the worm sticking out of the bottom of the flake stand. That name, money piece, suited our operation and I found myself grinning like a fool when I seen that clear liquid running out for the first time and I thought, hell fire, here comes the money!

    From a current wip…first draft.

  72. Head down, eyes closed, deep sigh:

    My sentence for the day.

    I miss Betsy.

  73. Today’s line:

    Grandma, the police are here.

  74. “remember. nobody beat you,” she says. her voice is mechanical, flat. “it must have been an illusion.”

  75. Today’s sentence:

    Beside me in bed, with no discernible sounds of breath, I thought my husband was dead; but he wasn’t, because next to me was another man.

  76. Not a line, a dilemma: While preparing for bed, you see there is only one squeeze of toothpaste in the tube, do you use it or leave it for your lover?

  77. Leave it for your lover, for sure. You can’t lose.

  78. Jeeze, Betsy, June 25th? It’s only the 14th, and, and…….

    Okay, gang, you want to run with this? Tetman, Bueller, anyone?

    • I think Betsy put the calendar up there to rub it in. If she loved us, she’d have posted a picture of something more fortifying, like a glass of Scotch or a hash pipe with a little wisp of smoke at rising out of frame. Or a shirtless man in a tool belt with a wrench in hand, artful streaks of grease across his chest. . . .

      What.

    • I love Betsy, but I’m having fun. Of course, this can only last so long. Back in the day, a serious catfight would have broken out by now. I miss that.

  79. ….and by the time you get back, this blog will have enough sentences to publish a book titled “Our Two Weeks In Hell.”

  80. The artificial mayor suggested that, in order to save lives, half the men should be killed immediately.

    • I like this, Terry. The next image that came to my mind was everyone simultaneously pulling out guns, every man for himself. And of course the artificial mayor would be left standing.

  81. The chubby gerbil giggled, then led the forest animals in a merry song.

    • This lacks verisimilitude, in my humble opinion. I’d also get rid of the article “a.” Other than that, I’d like to read more.

    • Is the next part about the gerbil waking up and realizing it was just a dream, the wire wheel and shredded newspaper carpeting reminding him of all he wanted to leave behind?

    • Nice. For some reason, I don’t trust this gerbil.
      Try replacing “giggled” with “cursed” or “drooled” or the like, or replacing “merry song” with “rampage” or “riot” for that Clockwork Orange feel?

    • is that a euphemism?

  82. …and by the time you get back banks will lose billions, the President will lose ground, people will die in one of those God-for-saken hell holes…of wait that was yesterday. i don’t even want to think about the next week.

  83. Even the plastic bangles she wore were reduced to ash.

  84. “You fuckin’ knew I wasn’t asleep. Are we gonna play stupid here? C’mere.”

  85. Today’s line:

    Linda looked at Jimmy and Jimmy said, Mom, I didn’t do it.

  86. My baby she don’t like onions
    But she loves spaghetti and pie
    We’ll go for a walk after dinner
    Just to watch the time pass by.

    (Not really a sentence, but a verse I contributed at a pick and grin gathering — uptempo, bluegrass twang)

    • sounds like a verse from Greg Brown’s Spring Wind

      • I like Greg Brown. Have you heard anything by his daughter, Pieta Brown? She’s making waves in the acoustic music world these days, a mesmerizing singer.

      • Nope but I’ll check her out. Thanks. Have you heard Greg’s song about Kate Wolf? Kate’s Guitar? Gorgeous.

      • I just listened to it. That’s a beautiful song, every part of it. Thank you Mary.

  87. Here’s a suggestion: tomorrow (the 16th) marks the 108th anniversary of the setting for J.Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. Perhaps we could craft our own epic-in-a-day tale?

    • TIME WHIZZES BY
      I wish I could write like James Joyce, words like “eluctable” flowing from my pen like urine after an evening at the pub where ghosts and soldiers appeared everywhere, one loyal to the crown and the other lost between worlds but still as real to me as the blood pudding in my vomit and then later, after leaving the smoke and stench, I went home and recalled the young woman’s bare flesh above her fishnet stocking and stopped to jerk off in the yard before going inside and resisted going to bed with my unfaithful wife although I was so tired I could feel the presence of my dad and even hear him talk of his garden, a new passion found late in life, and all the while I wondered what the connection was between masturbation and gardening, perhaps something to do with seeds spilled upon the ground.

  88. The sun was high in the sky and the clouds were being shy when they took off, a picture of Ghost tacked above their heads.

  89. I am the drunken sailor. What to do ?

    • Unset the mizzin mast, take your jib down, collapse the sail, whatever the hell it is you ragmen do and…pull the God-damn rope on the whimpy outboard and head for the dock. That’s where the pub is. Drink up, be hearty me-lad and ah hoy boy.

  90. “You’ll do just fine” replied the captain as he scanned the crowded deck. “Just don’t let anyone see you take that picture of Ghost. It’s the last one we got.”

  91. Today’s sentence: “In order to find myself, I had to go back the darkest place I have ever known. Back to middle school.”

  92. Today’s line:

    They were big-chested men in black uniforms, outfitted with the contraptions of law enforcement—pistols and pepper spray in holsters, radios and microphones and nightsticks, handcuffs and other unfamiliar little items on belts that would have made Batman envious.

  93. The wind is cool and rising, and the tide is full. A pair of woodpeckers hammer away, and above them, a squirrel chatters. The sky is clear, the boat ready.

  94. Being the daughter of a man she despised, the sister of a man she hated and the bride of a man she feared made it easy to be the woman who would kill them all.

  95. Today’s line:

    He argues with my dad about the way my dad beats me and slaps my mom around and is always yelling at Maria.

  96. Fresh out of the sandbox, he knew he needed to kick that shit away, leave it on the curb and march his ass to a dive bar in North Portland, a hot sheet motel on 82nd Avenue, the airport to catch a plane to anywhere-but-hereistan.

  97. I’ll call the old man today. His voice will be frail, and he won’t hear well, but he’ll laugh and make small jokes. Soon he’ll be gone, like old graffitti, the colors faded, but always there.

  98. “Like other folks with lousy job histories, I have zero sense of company loyalty. I have no clue why my tech friends work 70-hour weeks for Microsoft. Or why my attorney friends work 80-hour weeks for their law firms.

    And then I remember that a writer’s life has no healthy boundaries between home and work or between the public and private.

    I am employed by my substantial ego. I work 19 hours a day. And my employee ID is my rage and self-involvement.”

    Sherman Alexie

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/text-from-south-lake-union/Content?oid=13911894

  99. Today’s line:

    He was doubled over and gasping but she didn’t take advantage and stab him.

  100. I am awake in the middle of the night and I don’t like it.

  101. Enough already, Betsy. We get it. We’re dependent. Time to come home.

  102. Are we being punished? Did we do something wrong? Is Betsy divorcing us? Is it our fault? Hmph !

    What a shitty way to start the week, no Betsy and no milk for my fucking coffee. It’s a bitter Monday.

    I think I’ll weigh myself. That will make me feel better. Maybe I’ll try on my bathing sit. Yup…that will make my Monday. Knitting needles in my ears would work too.

  103. Hey Frank…my husband just spent three days piloting a Grand Banks from Mass. to CT. Had a hell of a trip. What is it with boats, water and testosterone?

    • Well, that’s very cool, Wry. As for boats, maybe it’s that they have parts called buttocks and cheeks, and are called “she”. Water can range from sublime to terrifying, warm and inviting to frigid. Does that explain the testosterone part?

      • On Saturday I caught my beloved looking at the dogwood outside our window in the middle of breakfast and suddenly realized he was checking whether there was enough wind. The man is obsessed.

  104. “The message arrived via fireflies.”

  105. Loving all of the “Betsy come back already rants.” All of you are great – and write with such wit!

    Today’s sentence: Eventually he would turn away, hiding his face and I’d be left staring down at the top of his head, his red hair as brilliant as the sun, suspended like a halo around him.

  106. Paris Review: “Greatest pick-up book of all time is Just Kids by Patti Smith, because every girl has read it and they ALL want to talk about it.”

    http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2012/06/08/what-books-impress-a-girl/

  107. Today’s line:

    Jennifer pulled the steering wheel off Jimmy’s truck so he couldn’t drive away and she reached under the dashboard and pulled some wires out so even if he put the steering wheel back on he still couldn’t drive away.

  108. Today’s sentence:

    I hate my underwear, it strangles my ass, I hate my husband, he strangles my dreams, I hate my husband’s underwear, so I hung him by his tighty whities.

    This sentence is a work of fiction because I love my granny-panties and my husband. If I’m ever spotted wearing a thong it will mean I have a flip-flop sticking out of my ass.

  109. all this, suspended above solid ground. these four metal walls, one of which retracts into itself, are all that contain them. cables slide through pulleys, a machine hums.

  110. “You were looking at my head,” he said. “Don’t look at your man’s head. Watch his belly button; he ain’t going nowhere without his belly button.”
    “But he’s not going anywhere without his head, either!” I protested.
    “Ain’t you never daydreamed? People leave their heads behind all of the time! Nah, I’m just kiddin’. I can fake with my head, – it goes this way, my feet go that way, – but my belly button? It stays right here.”
    -playground basketball lesson from an older kid, p.37 of a work in progress.

    • this is good Mike D….the dialogue is really natural…

      • Thank you Donna. Everytime I watch a defender get juked right out of his shoes by someone making a fancy move, I think, yep, that guy wasn’t watching his man’s belly button.

    • Haha – yeah, and now I’ve learned something… I’ll be thinking from now on. Imagine me asking my husband…”Do you think he was watching that guy’s belly button or not?” :>)

  111. I’m so glad all you are here! I’ve been on a gerbil wheel trying to catch the skittles the master tosses my way. It’s taken up all my writing time and I’m not brave enough to put up any leavings. I went to a poetry reading where people read things they “wrote that day” and I nearly fainted with admiration for the act.

  112. i posted a comment and it didn’t stick? did we hit a limit?

    • I see we did not. So as I was saying, Betsy please come back, we’re dyin’ out heah. The story I was working on, it died again last night but was rapidly reborn in a new form–not that new, but new enough.

      Today’s line:

      He picked me up from my mom’s house a little before ten o’clock last night and then we went to, I don’t know, one of his friend’s houses I think, because he had to get some drugs or something.

  113. Is it redundant to say that desire is the cockbrain of story?

  114. Time has smoothed the jagged edges of my pain, leaving a discreet little pebble lodged in my heart.

  115. My daughter misunderstood what shipping a package meant.

    (“Well, I’m glad they packed her well, but it’s too bad she didn’t get to see the boat.”)

  116. We are being tested, you and I. Can we make it, Betsy wants to know.
    Can we drift along night’s highway and without her near, travel the dark journey alone? Can we rise from the depths of last night’s dreams and start our days without her presence? Must we find our way without her guidance? Yes, this is a test.

    Is she going the way of Jessica and Eric? It is difficult for me to admit but I am losing faith in her return. Put her face on a milk carton, have a press conference, call Walsh and Sawyer get the word out. Find her, bring her back….kicking and screaming, I don’t care just bring her back.

    Our sentences are losing strength, we are tired. Will she come back just to leave us?

    • Anything’s possible.

      There’s some good stuff here, Wry; check out Tulasi-Priya’s sentence just a short ways up the road. Or Tetman’s story through sentences that meanders through a strangely familiar landscape. I liked the one you wrote about waking up with a strange bedfellow. Lots more. We’re still writing, that’s the important thing.

      • Agree Mike D…it’s simply the ebb and flow of writing….the only constant in our lives right now till Ms. Betsy returns.

      • Thanks for the lurve, MikeD. That’s good advice you’re giving Wry. Personally, I think we’re just getting started here. Betsy, take another week off, if you like. (Joke. It’s a JOKE!)

    • I was pretty much thinking of my sentences yawning their way to meaning. You guys are amazing, sorry I included all of you in my missive thoughts.
      Todays sentence:

      They found him at the bottom of a well, wet, broken and barely breathing; would he live long enough te tell who pushed him?

  117. Today’s sentence (and to put it into context, my protagonist is thinking of his deceased son)

    Sometimes I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to remember him, worried he’d fade like paint that’s been exposed too long to the sun.

  118. Only five more days until Betsy comes back. I use the term “back” loosely, since it’s debatable whether she, actually ditched the blog, regardless of where she may roam.

  119. Today’s line:

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” He leaned in close. She could smell Weller, not so much water. He was flammably drunk.

  120. Sentence du jour:

    I remember roaming downtown Miami in 1978, going places that no seventeen year-old bottle-blonde in a two-tone silver and candy-apple metalflake 1976 Camaro had any business going.

  121. Today’s line:

    And so I was tied up, he tied me up with the tape and I was sniffling or something because I was crying and he’d come up to me and he’d slap me and I was really scared, he was slapping me in the face and then he’d hit—he had kicked me in the legs and then he threw me on the floor.

  122. Chances are life will cease individually as opposed to collectively, but when the end of the human race is in sight, people in the suburbs will be eaten first and I was one succulent little piggy.

    -p. 104 from a work in progress

  123. Today’s sentence:

    Have a nice day.

  124. Hotter than you would friggin’ believe here on the Eastern shore of Maryland — what’s the weather like where you are, all you multiple you’s???

    • God, the same here in NC – high in my area 97 with heat index of – oh who cares! It’s just damn hot. Even the birds are flying around with their mouths gaped open.

    • Maybe the heat explains what I heard as soon as I got to the office. One man, who’d been answering phones at this already ridiculously early hour, said to another, “Sheesh, that last caller must subscribe to the idea that it’s always good to get your asshole on early.”

      I had to stifle a laugh behind my cubical. They forget I’m here and these guys get embarrassed when they realize they’re cursing in front of a female. Fucking quaint, don’t you think?

    • Hot, dry, and windy here in La Tierra Encantada, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be this time of year, bumping up through the 90s and into the low triple digits. Isolated T-storms in the short-term forecast. Like as not they’ll drop forest-firing lightning strikes more frequently than rain. Relative humidity at minus ten percent. Fuel-to-air ratio ideal for conflagration.

      Water bombers rumbling through the skies overhead. The bosque along both sides of the river in the north end of town is on fire. Horse and small farm country there so the state fairgrounds are open to take any horses, cattle, goats, and other farm animals that may need to be evacuated. Local hotels are offering reduced rates for evacuated persons. Dogs and cats are not welcome at the fairgrounds, but they are welcome at the hotels if accompanied by their bipedal servants.

  125. Today’s sentence (s): A poor sight these women were, their skirts edged with mud, hands rough and callused with dirt caked nails.

  126. At first she seemed to be watching her feet, but then she lifted her head and began to skip, and things were better then, for no particular reason but youth.

  127. Everyone seems to know each other here. I’ve been trolling around the edges. Is there some sort of intro thing people do?

    • Just jump in. It’s a show don’t tell moment. 🙂

      • Thank you! It’s a little intimidating, I have to admit so I’ve been plinking around the edges–not sure why I’ve been so neurotic when this seems to be a good home for exactly that. If a tree falls in the woods and all… have a great rest of the day!!

    • Hey Ruth – it was the same for me too, I was always reading Betsy’s blog but I didn’t always give any input – I found I really liked the way everyone interacted on here and after a while I just started piping in when I felt like it. Now I can’t seem to shut up. :>)

      • Yoo Ruth…You can say fuck too and shit. People are very understanding here because we are all…a little…ah…no way am I going to be the one to tell.

    • You have to drop a couple of F-bombs if you want to join this club, Ruth. Not really, but it puts everybody at ease. (That’s not true either.)

  128. Sentenced to death:

    I have daily flashbacks of my days there, all good, not excepting the time a leper pursued me, conking me on the head with her stump, in the vain hope that I would crown her with my sun hat. —from my latest blog post, Joyride

    • Hope, the definition of which gives oxygen to the breath holder.
      -from MY latest blog.
      Come on bloggers join in, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

      • I just read Tulasi-Priya’s blog. Well mine is pretty much a piss-hole in the snow. But it has heart.

      • Wry: that sounded suspiciously like you were comparing your blog to mine. If so, please don’t. But since you mentioned it, let me say that it’s easy to have a good blog post when you filch spectacular photos from other sites on the interwebs. Your blog is NOT a piss-hole. If nothing else, you show up regularly, which makes all the difference. Everything else can be learned, acquired, or um, stolen. And yes, it has a lot of ♥.

      • Thank you, I needed that.

  129. the lunch rush is over and the diner empties out. the waitresses lean against the counter, sip watered-down Pepsi and talk over the schedule. Johnny Cash is playing on the jukebox.

  130. Today’s line:

    I kept trying to get my arms out and he said, Don’t take it off, I’ll take it off, and he got his box cutters and I was just sitting there and he was looking at me and he said, I feel like cutting you, and he said—and I—I was just looking at him and he said—he said—he said, You don’t know how much I love—I’m obsessed with you, I don’t want anybody to have you and if I ever—I feel like if I cut X’s on your face you would always remember me and no one would ever look at you again—and so, and then he just—and then after that he just looked at me and he started to cut off the tape.

  131. “It would have been chivalrous, but it was her car, so she took off her shoes and socks first and braved the rapids to retrieve her car, assuming it had not washed away.”

    That’s from an unfinished book that got me punched in the face. The following is fiction (I swear) based on the womanl, my wife for eight years, that punched me.

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