• 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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WHen YOur Rooster Crows At the Break of Dawn

Today I want to talk about the noise inside my head. The static, the love songs, the hard ons and half hard ons. The sentences that are too good to write down, too ephemeral, too slow mo, too cell-dividingly mind-blowingly beautiful. There are the soldiers, the half-wits, the airline attendants. These are the emergency exits. The girl who sat alone by the windows in sixth grade and made herself a target when she confessed she flossed but didn’t brush. The girl at the Verizon store about to go to South Africa with her boyfriend. Is your dog friendly? Is your mother friendly? Do you prefer W.B. Mason to Staples? John or Paul? If I fell in love with you. The taffy is stretching. You are small, medium, large. Things don’t happen for a reason. You don’t want to die a lot. You’re welcome, mother fucker. How many times do you use a disposable razor? How many pages is your screenplay? How old is Adele? Why does Kathy hate me? What happens when all the leaves are blown from Washington Avenue and the lawns looks like putting greens. And a full moon lights the way for angry deer who would kill you if they could catch you.

What’s inside yours?

46 Responses

  1. That jogger that just passed me in the park looks like a fitter, more careful version of me. How come I don’t know what #brolivetweet is? Is it all downhill (in a bad way) from here? That baby is super ugly, do his parents realize that? Should I eschew the fucking
    Christmas tree this year? I wish I’d forced my kids to go to church. No I don’t. Yes, I do. Is twatsicle a word? Did I just invent it? What character in which of my manuscripts can I have call someone a twatsicle? Do I have to write a whole new book just to get a character that would call someone a twatsicle?

    Sorry, but you asked…

  2. In between the overheard words, the musical trills and the mental to-do list is a wispy thread of rememberance that fuels a subliminal sadness. Today, it has dampened the mental chatter; today I’m living the blues.

    • That’s beautiful, Karen. At the risk of sounding completely cold and entrepreneurial, I hope you are turning it into something.

      • Yes – in that crushing damp I composed a heartbreaking synopsis that is being mailed today to a veterinary review board. I have filed a complaint against the clinic that, ultimately, hastened my beloved dog to her death. Anguish can be a stern muse.

      • Oh, I’m so sorry. Anguish is indeed a stern muse and losing a pet is some of the worst pain there is. Time and tears make it eventually get easier but that loss never really abates, nor does the love. May you find peace in the end.

    • As you know because I’ve said here many times…I lost both of my dogs in August – within 3 weeks of each other. Not only do I blame the treats, (of which I filed complaints with the FDA and wrote to God and everybody about it), but I also believe that the vet didn’t help with her “treatment.” I feel for you and know this pain, intimately.

      • Donnaeve – We can only hope there really is an Other Place where across those wild fields our dogs are happily running with the sun.

  3. I’ve been trying to quieten the noise in there because it’s been way too loud. Like flying at 28 000 feet with a jumbo-full of crazy leering idiotic passengers. It’s better now.

  4. ‘You can do it, get through it and don’t think about it too much, never mind about the others. Let them eat a fart inflated cake.’

  5. Will a captive bird gather the courage to bolt for freedom? Is flight fear or exhilaration? Are the seeds plucked from a tree sweeter than those scooped from a bowl brought full and overflowing every day? Is a nest built by one strong enough? Can wings soft and idle withstand the journey to abundant ground or will she be left to rummage the snow and freeze? Which is home? The wild or the cage?

  6. I bet I could write more if I stopped obsessing about all this crap.

  7. Right now? Who cares if you were teaching till ten pm. Get out of bed. You will be mad if you don’t write this morning. Maybe if I look at my google reader it will help wake up my brain. Maybe if I comment. Get up. Get up.

    Ok. Up.

  8. Why am I charmed by Steve Buscemi’s gait? If I fart at the exact moment my husband shuffles by will he forget he has a hard on and pass me by? Why is talking honestly with one another so fucking hard? I can’t stop thinking about THE DESCENDENTS and how life got better for everyone once the mom died. Tell me that’s not my case. Is that my case? Show, don’t tell. But what if I was born a teller? What then?

  9. Maybe I should have bought the mint-flavored transendental floss?

  10. Betsy, you have the best flight of ideas I have ever heard, and that’s saying something.

  11. Sarah, you ought to try the Flavorless Nihilist Mints.

  12. Compositions. Everything is framed in sentences, stories, song lyrics or conversations. Even my sexual fantasies strive to be more grammatically correct than acrobatically possible.

  13. Do I really want to go? Geez, I’m hot. How long has the heat been running? Wear that new dress? I’ve stumbled into it, guess I can flog my way out. Why does it seem like she’s pissed off all the time, anyway. I’m eating and drinking way too much sugar. Yoga, that’s it, I need to try yoga. Great, another cat traipsing through the yard to take a crap. I really don’t want to go. Damn, my coffee is downstairs. I’ve got to write. Today. First, I’ve got to get my coffee. Laundry! Shit. I need to finish what I start. Do I smell toast?

  14. pop song lyrics and judgments harsh or snapped

  15. These days, my head is mostly a quiet zone. It took a long time, and I like it this way. There’s no free lunch, and rarely a naked one, so it wasn’t easy, but now it seems natural.

    It’s like this: The only thing I can control is me, and that’s iffy, so fuck all that noise. My observations and opinions are probably more important to me than to anyone else, so why take them seriously? I work a bit at creative and responsiblenot giving a fuck.

    The noise rises when I watch too much news without laughing, and when I pay the bills, or have a new problem to solve, and start thinking “What if…I shoulda…”. So, I don’t watch much news, or worry with politics, religion, or economics, and pay the bills and march on. It serves no good purpose.

    A couple of hours ago, I looked at a moon over calm water, with a few clouds around, and a few stars still shining. The tide was out, showing barnacled pilings. A few birds were moving, and traffic hissed far away,
    but it was quiet where I was.

    I’ll pay some bills in a few minutes, and tend to some grown-up stuff today, but I’ll do those things like raids- single, limited objectives, with alternative routes of egress. Slip in, deal with it, and get out.

    Back to the quiet.

    • Frank, this was very helpful. Thank you.

    • I grew up in a noisy & chaotic household, so I’ve spent my adult life cultivating the quiet place inside my head. I crave internal quietness & solitude the way a starving person craves food. That’s why this whole new expectation that writers need to market/brand themselves; that they need to create their own noise via social media, etc., goes against my grain. Just can’t do it. Oh well…

      That said, I do love noisy, urban settings. Others have mentioned the moon here, and last night, over the city, it glowed.

      • You know I understand this. Mostly I’m crazy for the hush but the boisterous life of the city is in my blood. No matter how far away I get, it’ll alway be there. I call it my claim to fame.

    • Nice, Frank. You’ve been there and back. Enjoy the peace.

  16. My mother in law’s voice: What’s the president doing in Burma on vacation? He’s using his presidency to see the world and we’re paying for it. Next thing he’ll be in Hawaii on vacation and I know he grew up there but his whole family is dead and he has no business there, no business.

    Repeat repeat repeat.

  17. What’s in my head? Conversations that fight with my job. They run rampant this morning. They dash across neural pathways and then their legs break like uncooked spaghetti when faced with traffic. Assorted shit aims for the poetic but ends up failing to amuse. Red or black ink. I hate the pad I’m using for notes right now but can’t quit it prematurely. My cat has a cone of shame and a sore that needs bandaging twice a day and a onie because without it she leverages the cone to scratch off the bandage. She’s smarter than me and way more effectively bitchy. My coworkers chatter in the fishbowl and I get paranoid they are talking about me. Words don’t matter sometimes. The kid who lives with us wants to move into his apartment early before his furniture arrives and wants to spend money on an air mattress, the dumbshit.Now I have to pee. Sometimes the simple things make it all quiet. I love all of you here.

  18. At that moment, when my heart almost did me in, when it beat too fast, trying to get away, it wasn’t from the anxiety of the strangers at the table beside me (how do I look? don’t talk, they’ll know you’re dull, say something witty …) the spouse’s co-workers whom only know me as the little lady who doesn’t work (hey, I write. I’m a writer), the boring x-mas party alone could have just as easily done me in, No, I was thinking about how I could duplicate this salad dressing at home, how the walnuts were a nice touch, goat cheese instead of feta? who would’ve thought? Then I passed out.Now what runs through my head are what last thoughts others have had before the white light. I can’t ask them.

  19. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/simon-schuster-introduces-self-publishing-service/
    One of the voices I’m trying to ignore just sent me this. I can’t figure out if this is good news or bad.

  20. Saw that yesterday–first re-action was that it is good news. But what do I know?
    The Buddhists have spent centuries teaching how to quiet the chatter, empty the mind of thought and then one day you will achieve a clarity heretofore unmatched. Nothing like enlightenment, of course, but certainly a transforming experience for us normals. The “noise” was especially loud today–when are you going to write? I’ll write as soon as hear back from so and so… as soon as I get these decorations out of storage, as soon as I return this crap before it expires, as soon as I pick a movie for tonight. If I start to write now, people will start to come home and poke their heads in the door, “how’s it going?” they’ll say. Why is no one answering my emails? Why are the people sending me emails I don’t want to answer? I should probably take a run,maybe it will snap this habit of going down every dark ally, as my husband annoyingly rightly says. Best part of the day: Betsy’s noise (especially the putting greens)

    • Careful on those runs – I was mugged – in my own neighborhood, no less. There is that split second where you don’t know what they want and it’s terrifying. This idiot wanted money. I mean, really – did he see a purse strapped on my shoulder?? Sheesh. So, a dark alley? Um, no.

  21. Let me refer you to my personal advisor for an answer to that. He lives at Bergesstrasse 19 in Vienna. Ask for Dr. Freud.

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