• 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’m So Tired of Being Alone

When writers tell me that they are writing for an audience, I always want ask: who? Like really, when you are physically writing or for that matter when you are writing in your head, are you thinking of readers? Is it general: people browsing at Barnes & Noble they way you cruise a buffet table. Or specific: For Aunt Sue, Uncle Wiggly? The people in church or on line at the Genius Bar? What about the people in the second to last car of the Amtrak train traveling from Virginia to Maine?  And what of writing for yourself? The immature man in the mirror. The ingrown toe nail. All the strands of hair you violently pulled from your brush the morning of your wedding day. Are you the small man running in brown leather shoes down a path softened by dead leaves? Or squeezing an apricot not quite ripe that you still slice open and greedily eat?

Who the hell are you writing for?

21 Responses

  1. Just writing because I have to- write because the page is like the person I turn to and nudge,,needing to catch the eye of the page when no one else is there and say:yD id you see it that? Did you feel that also? Is there another one of me?
    Katy~

  2. Who the hell are you writing for?

    It depends on the day and what the hell happened. I could be writing solely for me, after I’ve had to face another WalMart shopping trip to buy my clothes. Or, for my husband who goes out every day and works his ass off. Or for my dad, who’s ill b/c I think it would cheer him up. Or my mom who seems to live vicariously through me. For my agent who thinks I can do this shit, and for the ghostly reader. The one I can’t quite pinpoint. The one who is in my head, who loves my writing. That one, the dream reader.

  3. The morning was a little overcast so I shoved the week’s laundry into the dryer instead of hanging it on the clothesline. A few hours later, the sun came out, and a wind so fresh it that makes you gulp for a second helping, started to blow. I dragged all my winter quilts out to catch this cleansing wind. And I thought: this is what I do when I write. I air out all the shit. It feels so good to do that. The rest is a crapshoot.

  4. I write everything with the idea that the only person who is going to read it is August Finkelstein.

  5. A good friend of mine who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I wonder what he would think, how hard a dismissal his smirk would befall and if he could refrain from rolling his critical eyes.

  6. Honestly Betsy, I think I write for that part of me which likes to hear me, talk about me.
    My columns, essays, op-eds, and now my memoir, all center on my thoughts and life experiences because I’m pretty much like everybody else.
    People like to talk about themselves and read about their ‘shared’ experiences. Had a fight with my husband over money, the car smells funny, the kids don’t get along, we are out of milk, ketchup and toilet paper (again), the dog has fleas and our (cross the street) neighbor is an asshole. Lost job, a lump, depression, aging, we can all relate. When I write about that stuff, people know someone else is laughing, lamenting or bawling just like them. So, who is my audience, everyone who doesn’t have enough time, frustrated because what they dreamed about their future, never happened (or was better than they imagined) and that they regret being just like their parents.
    You are my audience Betsy, you.

  7. I write for me, and maybe the few other people who might get the joke.

  8. i’m writing for you
    and you
    and you and you and you

    the people kneeling in the amtrak car
    the people hopping about in brown suits
    the people hoping about redemption
    green stamps
    blue blazes
    tax refunds

    for the man i was
    and the boy i may be
    for the woman inside all of us
    and the girl who lay beneath me
    for the jury
    for the judge

  9. Somewhere there is the right word, perfect sentence, paragraph….they are out there in the gray sea behind my eyes. White whales, Shangri-La, Eldorado, Erehwon. I fear becoming Ahab.

  10. For that girl in the booth behind me listening to someone tell her who she is and what she’s good for one more time

  11. I write for a man soon to the grave to show I was worth a shit at it, in the end.

  12. I’ve had to go the other way lately and write like no one is going to read it.

  13. I write for the girl, who was told long ago, that she couldn’t be a writer.

  14. I write for me. Lately like therapy. A friend called it reporting and it cut me. Mostly because he was right.

  15. For myself, otherwise there won’t be enough to read that I actually like.

  16. I write for no one. Which is to say, I write for anyone. Mostly, I just write for me the kinds of stories I want to read filled with characters I love and love to hate.

    And, of course, for the reward of accurately painting the pictures that appear so clear and vivid in my head – the endorphins that seal the completion of a perfectly written passage.

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