• 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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Just Give Me a Reason Just A Little Bit’s Enough

Dear Insane People Who Write: Why do you like being dangled by your feet from the twentieth floor of a down-on-its-heels Marriott in a bankrupt city? Why do you like the feeling of your eyes being peeled back like the film inside a hard boiled egg? Was it worth removing your baby toe? Or turning a pimple into a mole?  Yes, I’m back for more Immodium; what’s it to you? Yes, I take sleep aids.  So what if you find me walking down a dark street in my nightgown? It was just a dream that lasted seven months and then I awoke. Why do you torture yourself unnecessarily, my father used to ask. Because necessary torture is for lightweights? You can no longer remember the name of the first boy you fucked. Or what you paid for your first house. If you had chicken or prime rib at your own wedding.  Why do you like to get punched in the face, apart, of course, from being a writer?

Got milk?

29 Responses

  1. I’m a masochist. There is nothing I like better than putting words in the right order just to find out no one cares, or that people do care and they LOVE it, but the problem is that now I have to write something at least that good, but what if I’m not consistent? What if I had that one flash of brilliance and after that everything else is pedestrian.

    And what’s up with pedestrians these days anyway? They stand out in the middle of the street just waiting for me to mow them down, like they have some kind of death wish.

  2. Oh hell, the birthday glow already wore off. Effing birthdays.

    Writing is a great excuse to avoid other humans or explain erratic, and otherwise worrisome, behavior. “I’m working.” No further explanation required.

  3. Why did the egg cross the road?

    It had the inclination.

  4. 1. I find it stretches my lower spine nicely.
    2. I don’t, so much.
    3. It makes wearing pointy-heeled sling backs more tolerable.
    4. They don’t do that unless you pick at them, you know.
    5. Better than Pepto-Bismol; that shit turns my tongue black.
    6. No amount of coffee un-does one Benadryl, even eight hours later.
    7. I’d make you tea and put you to bed.
    8. That would be heaven. Like a mini-break.
    9. My father is crazier than I am, best not to heed that advice.
    10. Kelly.
    11. $137,500.
    12. Salmon, I think.
    13. The flow, baby. The flow.

  5. Because when it’s going well, it’s better than any other feeling I know. And when it’s not going well, I’m desperate enough to return to that state that I make myself keep writing.

  6. Ron, $30K, there was dinner? Adrenaline.

    Time for a Betsy chapbook

  7. “You can no longer remember the name of the first boy you fucked.”

    His name was Frank. He was also the last boy I fucked. His hole wasn’t deep enough and it was too far back. And he had five-o’clock shadow, which is like sandpaper on rubber. But he gave a great blow job.

    “Or what you paid for your first house.”

    I didn’t pay shit for it. My wife had the paying job. I was a writer. She supported me. She held me up when I was so drunk I was falling down puking on my flip-flops. I no longer have that wife. She no longer has that house (neither do I). No one supports me while I write. I haven’t puked on my flip-flops in decades.

    “If you had chicken or prime rib at your own wedding.”

    I had the bride. And cake.

    “Why do you like to get punched in the face, apart, of course, from being a writer?”

    I don’t, so don’t try.

    “Got milk?”

    No. I had half-and-half with my yogurt. I ate it all. You can lick the bowl if you like. Me, I gotta run. There’s writing to be done and I gotta make it hurt. Cinch a cock ring around my neck and glue thumbtacks to my keyboard.

    I can’t quit, Doctor, and you can’t make me. Wanna see my track marks?

  8. Well, until this post I didn’t even know I’d forgotten the name of the first boy I fucked.

  9. I’m off this week, but can’t exactly feel great about it because I’m not writing anything new, promo sucks and I have to go back to it big time, I haven’t finished as many new stories as I said, I haven’t opened my manuscript at all. I know I should be back there in my non-life, agonised and belittled. I’ve never bought feeling great about everything and there is too much meaningless body art on this beach.

  10. Stayed at a down-on-it’s-heels Best Western once that had pretty plastic grass surrounding the indoor pool. At one end the lawn faded to a lighter green, yellow and then orange. It was lovely. Children swam, parents sat…everywhere but on the orange lawn. Before my kids showed up I touched the pretty grass, like gooey finger-paint it stained my hand. The toxic dew was mold.
    I let my kids swim anyway.
    Warning, write but don’t touch orange grass.

  11. Why do you like to get punched in the face, apart, of course, from being a writer?

    The only punches I tolerate are related to writing. Those I take, gladly, because like a child getting spanked, it means attention, even though it’s bad, still, it’s attention.

    Got milk? Not always, and sometimes it’s sour.

  12. i do this writing thing because at some point it’s going to turn from something i feel guilty about and undeserving of into something i feel proud of and like i earned and it feels like its the best first step toward contributing to society that i can make. i believe in writing – old fashioned book writing. Salaam Rushdie said on C-Span how books make revolutions in the mind and those revolutions spin from the mind into the world and changes things. i wrote what he said down word-for-word but am in the midst of moving so finding the exact words would be hard but this idea – that book writing is not only relevant but is a source to look to for revolutions – makes me feel hope for the world despite the crazy as to be fictional violence and injustice going on. but i am just so grossed out by how earnest i sound i’m going to go waste loads of time! ugh! this is really the process for me in a kind of superficial nutshell! so the deal is, i have to keep working even when i feel totally disgusted by myself. btw, i’ve never read a Salaam Rushdie book. i kind of hate him! but he was good on c-span.

  13. What play has Ludwig Wittgenstein in it.

  14. I like being punch drunk.

  15. I was born this way. I’ve decided not to question it and to just write. Seems more productive.

  16. Anymore, I think writing supports my walking habit. What would I think about on those sweaty treks if not a bunch of made up shit?

  17. While out walking I have these thoughts and I know they’d make good stories. I’ve tried writing them down, but I forget too much. I’ve tried dictating into a voice recorder, but my thoughts run faster than my words can catch them. So I had this idea of recording my thoughts by reversing the polarity of my MP3 and inserting a plug into my brain to capture and record my thoughts.

    So that’s how the MP3 jack ended up lodged in your ocullar canal?

    Yeah. It hurts a little, but it worked and I had a live feed of my thoughts. Only problem is anyone downloading songs wound up getting linked to my thoughts. And that’s not good. Somebody wants to listen to “Like A Hurricane” and they get me babbling away instead. That song is about orgasms, you know.

    Like a Hurricane? Who sings it?


    Well, no matter. In the future, don’t insert any more electonic devices in any of your body cavaties.

    Can you plug an electrode into my brain then? Seriously, I have all these ideas…

    I write and do not know how to stop

  18. Hello. I made the mistake of filtering all email notifications from WordPress into a “Read” folder, which I then never looked at again. It’s like I got amnesia as far as this blog is concerned, except once in a while a memory blooms, on the surface of my consciousness, of this place and all of you, as if I’ve just come to, in a foreign country with a whole new life and family, suddenly remembering the old one with a painful ache and an urgency that is almost biological.

    So today I thought, well, let me see what’s going on over there at the Betsy blog, only to find it’s as if I never left, except I did, and that things have gone on in the usual way without me, which is the thing I hate most about the prospect of my death: the world will go on pretty much the same without me.

    How can it not, unless you alter it in some way with your voice, your body, your words, and leave behind a tangible record of that fact?

    How much Betsy-y goodness have I been missing? How much TP-ish goodness everyone else has been missing is moot, because you can’t really miss what you never really had. So what I’m really saying is that somebody I don’t like, in the course of insulting me publicly in the most fabulous terms, told me I should “write a book,” because “it might get rid of that raging black knot of filth in you” which is why I’m back. She’s absolutely right, but then, God sometimes speaks to through bat-shit crazy ladies.

    Did I miss any good catfights?

    Where’s August?

    • Cat fights…, well, maybe this crowd has mellowed out some…probably b/c when Betsy does show up we want to be on our best behavior so she’ll enjoy it!

  19. Welcome back, TP. Life does have a way of marching on, esp. in the blogosphere. Kinda weird that way.
    I wonder, too… where’s msb?
    And no, Betsy. I’ve got no milk. Just the pen I’m hiding behind so as not to get punched in the face.

    • Thanks for the welcome, november. I scoped out MSB and she’s blogging and shooting photos, but I didn’t make my presence known. Yes, this ability to get into someone’s life and then detach without a fare-thee-well is weird indeed.

  20. The poetry of these posts you write.

  21. I’m finishing this book because I simply cannot move forward in my life (or onto the next project) until it’s complete. Although it’s a brief memoir attached to a book of paintings, it’s painfully revealing and makes me sad (though I’ll be glad when it’s finished.) I just wrote in between paragraphs, “I hate writing this shit.” It’s none of anybody’s business.

    I came over to get in touch about something and read your opening line. I thought, wow. I think I’m in the right place. Although… I remember all of those things you mention and do not like to get punched in the face. Nonetheless, my head hurts.

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