• 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’ll Send You All My Love Every Day In a Letter

When everyone is going to the beach, kayaking on the lake, playing croquet on the lawn, I expect all of you to be sweating your balls off at your desk every day for at least, at least, two hours. Get up at five, make a pot of coffee and hit it. Turn off your email. Turn off your internet. Get a pad to note the things you need to look up. Do not come here because that’s what I’m doing for the month. I’m finishing a new book and I’m putting blinders on. I’m not going to Lena’s for lunch with my friends, I’m not weeding, I’m not smoking weed, I’m not going to UPS, the cleaner, or Walgreens for a shopping spree. My office is beginning to smell. The garbage can is a sculpture worthy of the Whitney. There are piles of paper everywhere and I can put my finger on any notebook and find what I’m looking for and be surprised at the same time. I’ve been writing since I was eight. This is the first time I feel vaguely confident. And for that I am reasonably certain that god will strike me dead.

Whenever you like, check in here and tell us about your progress or lack. Just keep writing and I’ll be back Sept. 1. Thanks to all you old friends for stopping in again. xo, Betsy

33 Responses

  1. Betsy, may the words come well and quickly. Thanks for giving us so very much.

  2. Yes, ma’am. As you say, ma’am. My pen has wings and shall soar the August pages.

  3. Betsy, may August be your month. If it’s Bridge Ladies, I can’t wait. If it’s not, I can’t wait. In other words…

  4. “I’ll see you in September.” 😜🎶 Thanks, Betsy, for the boost! Enjoy every smidgen of your August. And thanks for the deadline! I WILL finish my book by September 1!

  5. In my own mind, I have self-imposed deadlines, which move. A lot. This was very motivational. Here’s to all of us reaching a goal. Big or small.

    Thank you for being here.

  6. That has been my July. Good practice for sweating my (metaphorical) balls off at my desk (dining room table) for August. Good luck to you all.

  7. A couple of weeks ago I got an email from my agent for the first time in many months. Just checking in, he said. It’s been AGES! What are you up to?

    Busted. I had to admit that I’d set aside the book we talked about last year. I just couldn’t make it work, so I put it on ice and started writing something new. Surprise, Mr. Hotshot Agent! Your writer’s gone rogue! Luckily, the book I pitched him doesn’t totally suck (really lucky, since it’s well past the point of no return), so we agreed I’d have something for him to read by mid-September. Which isn’t enough time. But there is never enough time, and due dates always feel sort of arbitrary even when they aren’t. You just have to pick one and aim for it and see how close you can get.

    Early mornings, bottomless coffee, dishes be damned. Let’s do this thing, Betsy.

  8. Good advice, up in the air about the no weed part; I like when my mind takes off, but sometimes it’s hard to rein it back in…. My latest distraction is a Stand Up Paddleboard, something I thought foolish but then I tried it and, well, the summer just isn’t long enough. Writing yes, doing a little, need to do more.
    Wherever the month takes you, enjoy!

  9. I’m with you, Bets. It’s 4:15 and I’m going in. It’s a great way to spend the summer! Best to you as evs.

  10. I’m resurrecting an old cast of characters, and realizing, I like them.
    I don’t call spending time with old friends a waste of time, fruitless maybe, delusional wishful thinking and maybe lazy, but oh, the sweet, sweet smell of familiarity and the tingle of discovery.

  11. Best of Lucky, Betsy. No longer able to multi-task, and in order to finish my book before I grow too old to finish anything I’ve embraced the same routine. I finished the book I’ve been working on for ten years and while my seclusion was not as intense as yours I’ve begun peeping out of my turtle shell.

  12. I’m going in! Oh, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you did to bring Bettyville into the world. It’s my favorite book so far this year. Cheers and gool luck!

  13. writing a long story or, more accurately, blowing out a story.

    betsy, i sold my book (titled THE GLOBE) of interconnected short stories! to be published by a small Canadian press in 2016. but i need to add to the ms because it’s running short from a word count perspective.

    it’s weird to write so much in summer as i’m typically fallow in this season. it’s going well, i think (who fucking knows?).

    Rea

  14. hey everbody, lookit:

    Jessica Lahey’s THE GIFT OF FAILURE is published today. She used to be a regular here at Betsy’s Place.

    Here’s more about the book: http://www.jessicalahey.com/the-gift-of-failure/

    • Thanks for mentioning this. Looks really interesting, and I’m definitely on board with this philosophy. I left my kids to their own devices when it came to homework, etc., and they both graduated from Yale, with no thanks to me. I once conducted a writing seminar where I went through my career, delineating the failures I’d made every step of the way. I’m still making them, but, at the same time, I’m still learning! My most recent attempt to build on my failures was helped by the book MASTERY by Robert Greene. All these “masters” and the ways in which they each eventually found their strengths AND weaknesses was fascinating and illuminating.

  15. Two hours? I write for ten or twelve hours a day, Betsy. It’s my yob, mon. Been doing this more than thirty years now. But I have an advantage. No kids, no wife, no relatives to disturb my quiet solitude. It’s true that the cat needs his claws trimmed and I should take a break long enough to do that, or risk bleeding to death before I fininis… dss jkv …..

  16. So, we’re doing a shitty job of keeping things going in Betsy’s absence! What’s up with everyone? I’m writing a sickeningly commercial novel that’s easy & fun. Like an ice-cold martini. I may have found my voice.

    Anyone else?

  17. I feel some disappointment here. Ok, I’m not Betsy, OBVIOUSLY. But this is her blog. We love her, right? Sigh ….

  18. The first proof of FRANNY & TOBY has been printed and the publisher (Silky Oak Press) and I have been working on polishing the formatting of the cover and illustrations. The second and final proof should be ready soon. After that — publication! I’ll be sure to be making lots of noise about that.

  19. I’ve been doing the same, Betsy — so much so that this is the first day I’m reading this. And here’s the fucking weird thing. Not two hours ago, my husband woke up humming that very Vinton tune (is he psychic? WTF?), which prompted a trip to YouTube and we spent a half hour in bed Weird Alling alternate lyrics to the various. Honey – stepping on the dog’s ball and crashing to the floor, while the twig of a tree spontaneously ignites. The Roses are Red song, but the daughter at the end is an alien love child.

    Hope you’re nosing your way to the finish line on that book! (Or did you throw your hands up in surrender and motor on out to the Hamptons with the rest of the pub world?)

  20. I quite love the blinders in the picture. Nice touch, Betsy. My wonderful, puts-up-with-my-writing husband would probably swear that those are the only eyewear I have on when rattling away on my computer.

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