• 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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You Get What YOu need

I’ve been putting in eight hour writing days having taken a “sabbatical” from work for two months. I’ve done two years of reporting and interviewing so I have the material. It’s not like you poor fiction writers who have to pull it out of your ass every day. I’m just going to say it: I love the sound of my own keyboard. The mad outbursts and lulls. The regular clack clack. I do think we are poorer as writers not to have the typewriter return to slap across the face of the page. That was like regular affirmation. My back is killing me. My fingers feel arthritic. My skin is a joke. But I’m really happy.

Progress reports, people?

26 Responses

  1. Two kinds of chocolate. Up at 5.30 today, at desk working by 7. Watched a lot of wildlife with binoculars also from 3 inches (bird feeder/squirrels). Did not go for run. Have still not heard back from MP about Raif Badawi. We have to do what we can.


  2. That’s great you’re getting back to it. My Progress Report: After a long hiatus from my writing doing idiotic things like working for other people to pay the rent. I got to immerse myself in revising a screenplay of mine for the 130th version. Felt so good to have a 48 hour stretch to just delve into the thing again. Reopen old wounds, solve structural problems I could only see by having taken time away. And all I needed was a director saying she wanted to hand it to agents at Sundance next week.

  3. Today, I wrote.

    In a notepad, with a pen. Ouch my hand.

  4. I do think we are poorer as writers not to have the typewriter return to slap across the face of the page

    The sound issue can be ameliorated. Don’t use this in a shared space, however, unless you want the person sharing with you to hit you.

  5. I’m wiping dirty bottoms and snotty noses for a living these past two months. The satisfaction level isn’t quite the same.

  6. Yes yes yes and the clickity-clack of shoes!

  7. There is a gap between what I want to write and actually produce, but things are looking up. Your post made me really happy.

  8. Being happy is what it’s all about. Good for you.

    Now, what about me?
    Making deadline and starting the query engine, again.

    Big changes coming. Putting the house on the market, hoping to downsize, hoping to get out from under and onto the upside. I keep thinking this will be MY year but I thought that last year and in a way last year definately was.

    Well, you’re on sabbatical. I guess I won’t be querying my revised project anytime soon. Ton’s of luck Betsy, I hope the book is Bridge Ladies. Seems like a great read.

  9. “The Book” lurks in the corner like a stray dog I’ve taken in. I provide regular food and water but I still can’t pet it. Only two ways this can end: It will eat me or become my constant companion. To temporarily soothe my creative ego I’ve returned to poetry. Nice kitty.

  10. I recently received a couple of good rejections on PIgeons, realized that I finally accept that such things exist, and celebrated my personal growth by working through some of the suggestions I was given for the first chapter. And also by eating a $#!%-ton of ice cream, because rejections are still rejections.

    I’m also busy deciphering/transcribing a pile of longhand pages for a new P.I. mystery about a wereduck, because there are bookcases full of were-predators moving secretly among the humans and I wondered how were-prey, with all their assorted instincts, might cope.

  11. Galleys were delivered to my door on 12/31! It’s pretty freaky, and my pub date still feels eons away (it’s 8/11), but holding a galley in my hands makes me do a little happy dance.

  12. A Betsy post always makes my day, but one mentioning progress on the new book and the declaration that you’re really happy? A trifecta, indeed.

    I’m currently writing about #43 of my 52 new experiences for “The 52/52 Project.” Making progress for sure. Plus, it’s keeping me too busy to obsess about my agent trying to sell this baby. Ha. Who am I kidding?

  13. Holy hell. “But I’m really happy.”

    That was like the apocalypse sneaking up and blowing every single one of us into orbit. A happy Betsy. Whoop!

    Are you happy enough for a”whoop!” to be allowed?

    To report: Started 4th project. I’ve changed the MC’s name three times in as many days, and switched out cell phone pics for Brownie pics and back to cell phone pics.

    I’d say I’m undecided about a lot but hey, I’m only 6,000 words in. I love that pic, btw. My expression most days – exactly. (WTF???)

  14. Betsy, you’ve unleashed a ground swell: In praise of type writers & all things ‘old’ http://www.theage.com.au/comment/old-is-gold-the-appeal-of-a-lowtech-lifestyle-20150119-12t1us.html by William Langley

  15. I am in pain, but I’m really happy definitely sums up the few days I stole last week to write an essay that very much needed to be written. Still working, still in pain, still writing, still happy, still hating every-fucking-thing in the universe other than you guys. xo

  16. Lovely.

    Das Keyboard mechanical keyboard: the thing is a dream for long sessions at the desk. Long travel positive engagement keys.

    Almost like a fifty-pound Royal. Almost.

  17. Miss the typewriter, don’t miss white out.
    Kind of stalled, a lot of ideas, but just like after a couple of days of eating nothing but bananas, it’s hard to get things moving.

  18. I’m finally climbing out of the void and have started the next ms. Hurray for you and your sabbatical and happiness. There was that hopeful ping that accompanied the slap of the typewriter. I miss them both.

  19. I fucking hated typewriters. They were a hell of a lot better than my handwriting, which was so bad that I was assigned to a remedial handwriting class when I was in eighth grade — my mother told me, “You’re handwriting is so bad, you’re either an idiot or a genius,” leaving me, either way, with a lot to live up to — but I share no romantic longings for the clackety-clack and ding! of days gone by. Okay, I admit, on second thought I do kind of miss the ding!, but I fucking do not miss typewriter ribbons, stuck keys, and errors in the last line that made it necessary to retype the whole fucking page. And rewrites? I’m a paltry enough writer in natural mode (genius? idiot?) and to make a small addition on page two of an eleven-page story and have to retype pages two through eleven — without making a mistake — may be what drove me to drink and maybe it wasn’t the Faulkner fantasy after all.

    So much for the diatribe, now to address the question: I am presently these mornings before the office job and evenings after the office job working on an edit of the novel I drafted last year and Praise the Lord for word processing. My self-imposed deadline is the end of the month, as there is a small press of some note that has a deadline then and I want to give them the opportunity to reject my latest masterpiece.

    One of the masterpieces that was written previous to this most recent is set for imminent publication. I ought to be more careful about dropping f-bombs on the innerwebs, as the book to which I refer is a children’s book called “Franny & Toby.” It’s the tale of the eponymous sibling cats and their cat and bird and rabbit friends and their adventures. As if that wasn’t enough, Franny is a cat who can read. No kidding — she even has a tiny pair of wire-rimmed glasses she sometimes wears. The book is supposed to be published maybe as soon as next month by Silky Oak Press and yes, I want all of you to buy a copy and read it and yes, I want you to tell all your friends and family to buy a copy and read it, too, because not only will I make a dollar or two that way, but it is probably the best thing I’ve ever written — and for you, my pretties, nothing but the best.

  20. Sorry I’m late to the party, and glad, very glad, that you are happy, Betsy.

    We are migrant workers again, here at the edge of the ‘glades and top of the keys, harvesting filthy lucre, spending time with friends, working hard and having fun. Yesterday, in a junk shop in Key Largo, I scored a new story idea and a free copy of Paulo Coelo’s “Manuscript Found in Accra”.

    Shakin’ it up over here, boss.

    • Gorgeous day today. There was a purple/gray band along the edge of the horizon when I walked to work early this morning. But it was 12 below. Enjoy that sunshine and warm Keys breeze, Frank!

  21. That sounds like hog heaven.

  22. I have a contract with Springer for a business/technical book that I have been letting slide. I retired from the software business and this book is no longer high interest, nor lucrative enough to inspire greed. Retirement has revealed to me that I was only in the business for the money, although I never paid any attention to it, the folks around me who were spending it did. Since I love them, so what? But now my editor is waving some paper I signed, saying I have to finish it. I am smart enough to know that I can tell him to suck figs and eat grapes, but I also happen to like the guy because he is very complimentary to my glowing prose. So I now have to work instead of loll around trying to imitate Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

    Cruelty to the aged. I should feel good about having a contract with Springer, but it is a remnant of a prior age. It feels like visiting your old high school when you are a sophomore in college– a place you should not be.

  23. you’re right about the high school analogy, but you should finish it unless there is a burning opportunity you would miss out on. Sometimes one thing leads to something unexpected. It’s always good to have work out there. Not that you asked.

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