• 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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Ain’t It Funny How The Feeling Goes Away

For the nine millionth time, my mother has given my contact information to one of her friends who knows someone who knows someone who is writing or has written a book. She swears she will never do it again, and then just like most promises it somehow gets broken. The worst, by far, was about the twins, separated at birth, who meet again at a boxing championship. There was the guy with the book about license plates. There was the book about education reform and the memoir of a world traveler!! I’m aways polite, I always say: sure, send it. You never know! And the truth is: you never know. Anything could be something. It can come from anywhere. The real problem is when people who are not writers (meaning they haven’t spent hundreds of hours writing), sit down in front of a screen and believe they can write. And believe what they write should be published. And they know someone who knows someone who knows my mom and she pimps me out, again.

Who do you know? Or want to know?

49 Responses

  1. I want… To know your mom!

  2. I want to know your mom.

  3. I know a US Senator, Mardi Gras royalty, a certain Catholic executive, some ex-cons, millionaires and far-from millionaires, too many contractors, a fair amount of artists, attorneys, activists and architects, and just enough writers to give that list perspective. It is a multi-dimensional network that is the accepted MO of my provincial town. It is the reason we are all so polite: one never knows who may know whom.

  4. obviously, your mom

    • doh! my bad–premature commentation–failed to read before writing. (oddly enough, circling back around to those non-writers who sit down in front of a screen and believe they can write…without having spent hundreds or hours writing, or the obligatory 10,000 hours reading.)

  5. i don’t drop names


  6. I know many names, and it does’t matter a hoot.

    What matters is whether I write well.

    No, what matters is whether what I write well is recognized.

    If it’s not recognized, what matters is that I UNDERSTAND IT’S BECAUSE I DON’T WRITE WELL.

    We are not all writers.

    • Maybe not. But you are.

    • There’s a sadness to this flawed logic but I’m not astute enough to decipher it. Just because your writing might not be fully recognized in the current saturated, fickle, overly celebritized market doesn’t mean you don’t write well. I bet you write beautifully.

      True. We are not all writers. We can quit anytime. It’s just sad to think of someone really letting that go…

      • I really like the way you write, November. There’s an honesty there that I find comforting. Thank you for that.

      • Aw… thx. msb.
        It’s really tough to be in the arts these days and it seems as if 3KB is feeling some of that. Hopefully these blog posts are helpful to her.

  7. I know the people on this blog! I went searching for a writing community and found a pretty swell group!

    In the future I’d like to get to know and agent a publisher really well 😉 But I’m keeping it realistic I think…I don’t have the guts to assume much. (You know what they say about assuming right?)

  8. Martha MacCallum of Fox News Network and are very close friends; she interviewed me once a few years back on her show. Really she did. I have the DVD to prove it.
    Considering the thousands of interviews she has given, the famous people she has met, the halls of power in which she walks, I’m sure, no actually I am convinced she remembers and holds dear the memory of our time together; 90 seconds just before the end of her show.
    After the ‘live’ interview we got to speak to each other, for another 45 seconds or so, and we discovered all of the ‘thing’ we have in common; we’ve both been to Maine. Seriously we each actually have been to Maine, isn’t that amazing? No, not together, different years and different areas but the state was the same.
    I have a feeling that Betsy’s mom and I probably have a lot in common too, were both women, we both have a daughter, (I have two), and regarding a promise I made to my daughter, well, I broke it, at least I think I did because I can’t remember what it was that’s why it got broken.

    • Um, I have a question Betsy.
      Did you use the picture of that shoe because your mom wears shoes like that? Because if she does that’s another thing we have in common. I wore shoes like that once, to a job interview in 1968. I got the job but I never wore the shoes again, They killed my feet.
      Say hi to mom.

  9. I have a patient who swears Timothy McVeigh lives in her ceiling, so that’s one for me. She saves her tater tots for him from the evening tray.

  10. I want to know Joyce Carol Oates. I want her to be my mentor.

  11. I had a dream last night that I bumped into Malcom McDowell on the subway and that he remembered my name. I once babysat for him and Mary. I don’t recall ever physically meeting them but I must have since he remembered me. He really wanted to catch up but was rushing to audition for Baretta. Apparentally Robert Blake does not like to be kept waiting.

  12. You can never trust your mom. Until I stopped sharing them, my mother would steal my story ideas. Just for the family newsletter, but still.

  13. LOL!

  14. After reading this post, my very first reactions was, ‘That’s how her mom gets her ‘mom brag’ on!’ I doubt very much that she cares about those books by other people, what she likes is being able to say, “Oh, well my DAUGHTER is an amazing NY literary agent…etc, etc.”

    Just last weekend, I had the pleasure of overhearing my own mother, at a funeral no less, say some scrapbook worthy comments about myself. Several conversations away, I turned slightly and pretended not to hear her–but I’m pretty sure I liked that just as much as my own 9 year-old daughter does when she overhears me talking about her.

    I would bet that she can’t stop pimping you out because it’s probably less about pimping you out and more about telling the people in her world how wonderful she thinks you are.

    I like the idea of that aspect of the parent/child relationship not changing all that much, no matter how old we all get.

    • I think you’re right, and that’s so sweet! I’d love it if my parents wanted to “pimp me out.” I mean, I would’ve, about a billion years ago. Now I’m WAY too mature to care about that sort of thing.

  15. I don’t know Jack.

    I want to know Betsy Lerner, the Dali Lama, Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker, and everyone on this forum. Could we have a party, or what?

  16. I know a former pole dancer (introduced to me by my mother, funny story) and an embalmer who are willing to answer my questions for my next novel.

    I’d like to know an agent or two who would love to take the previous one off my hands, but i’m working on that.

  17. I’d like to have drinks & apps. with Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Engle from NBC news and, of course, Julie Andrews. Plus, your mom and maybe Colin Firth.
    What a party! I’d pay, too.

  18. Here’s how I want this story to end. You can write about it on a future post…So for the nine millionth and one time, my mom pimped me out. I’m always polite. I say: sure, send it, because you never know. And my mom’s favorite shoe shop owner’s third cousin twice removed sent me their book.

    It was about…er…lighting fixtures?…internet connections?…the color chartreuse? [I’ve not finished my coffee yet and brain’s not awake, so feel free to insert something better, funnier, sillier] The first line was fluid, perfectly written. Then the first page, then the first chapter. I finished it in one sitting.

    I sold it to Random House for a six-figure advance and it went on to become a best-seller and cultural zeitgeist, defining fiction (or nonfiction) in the year 2013.

    It can come from anywhere.

    I never told my mom.

  19. Well, I don’t know anyone other than my agent who can help me get published. And even if I did I wouldn’t have the temerity to approach them for help getting there. I might want to, but can’t bring myself to. And anyway, something inside me says I just want to get it done on my own. So to paraphrase and stretch the simile from The Treasure of The Sierra Madre: Know someone? Want to know someone? I don’t need to know no stinkin’ someone. I don’t need to know or want to know no stinkin’ anyone. Or two or three anyones.
    And that may very well be why I ain’t got anywheres. That and maybe I stink as a writer. But what the hell, it’s my stink.
    But if I ever did want to know someone, just sayin’, I’d like to know Betsy. She has interesting snakes in her head.

  20. Good thing your mom’s not a talent scout or a Publisher’s Clearing House judge. Ooh, I should write a book about that! A girl whose mother is a Hollywood Talent Scout, but she sucks as an actress, and yet keeps getting all these parts anyway because her mom “knows” people. I’ll send it to your mom when it’s finished. What’s her Twitter? Nevermind, I’ll find her on Facebook…

  21. “Who do you know? Or want to know?”

    The editor/publisher who would like my book.

  22. At least your mother’s friends have actually taken the time to put words on paper. I get people who “have a book all in my head, I just need someone to sit with me and write it down.” Seriously. There are people out there who think that counts almost as much a actually writing a book.

    I want to know Beatrix Potter.

  23. Here’s a good story.

    Long ago, George Gibson, when he was at Godine, reluctantly looked at a manuscript that landed on his desk because his mother had told a neighbor in the building (during an elevator ride), that her son who worked in publishing would read it. The manuscript was Jeannette Haien’s THE ALL OF IT, which had a fantastic and deserved success. So you never know.

  24. Ms. Lerner,
    As chief executor of the Cobden Literary Trust, I am writing to protest your assessment of Sonny Cobden’s identical twin boxing endeavor as less than stellar material. While we can not censor public opinion, it is our sincere hope that these unfounded and unkind remarks will cease. Many thanks,
    Bobby Lakewood, Esq.
    Chief Executor, Cobden Literary Trust

  25. Hilarious. License plates? And I love your Mum’s wise pumps and mild pimping.

    • The Wonderbook: “. . . it looks like a physical book, but it’s filled with digital code instead of words or pictures. That’s because it’s not meant to be read by people. . .”

      Oh August. What’s to become of us?

  26. I’m sorry but all I could think of when you said a “book about license plates” was that your mom could’ve potentially been unintentionally hooking you up with an ex-con. Too funny!

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