• 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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How Do You SOlve a Problem Like Maria

I’ve spent thirty years as an editor and now agent talking writers off the ledge. That’s what we do. And it’s never more intense than in the two months before publication when anything and nothing can happen. When all your hopes and dreams could fill a dirigible floating over the city. Your fears and anxieties florid and deranged.

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HOw do I talk people off the ledge. First, I remind them their book is awesome, how much work it took, their dedication, their craft, how worthwhile it is even before a single copy is sold. Then I tell them stories the way you tell children stories to keep the bogey man away or stories to make them feel hopeful, about little trains that could. Or little books that grew up into mighty oaks. I get them thinking about their next book, about their inner life as a writer, about the long distance race. If all this fails, I suggest, they go shopping, to the movies, mani/pedi, hit the gym, start tutoring kids. If you’re in therapy: stay. If you’re not: start.

When I try to talk myself off the ledge, I realize something very scary. I am the ledge. Any advice?

 

 

13 Responses

  1. Let go. You won’t fall.

  2. Thank you, Betsy.
    By the way, have you seen my book trailer??! 😉

  3. Speaking as a shrink, the last 2 lines may be my favourite I’ve ever read.

  4. Yes, beautiful truth-telling, as ever. But, why does that insight have to be scary? If you are the ledge, aren’t you also the imagination that creates this metaphor of you as ledge-being, and the one watching all this unfold? Sounds like a great movie, staring you! Sit on the ledge as the ledge, and enjoy the view, even if it’s dizzying?

  5. Gallon of Rocky Road and a spoon.

  6. You have an agent, right? Act like a client about to be published. Nothing like sitting on the opposite side of the ride for a while.

  7. When the inside of my head gets dark, I leave it. For me, it’s always the wind and water that get me off the ledge.But it requires un-assing my chair, putting down the phone, and getting on the boat. There;s a universe out there that puts my worries in perspective.

  8. You’re on the ledge of glory…

  9. Because you used the words, “I am….,” I tend to think of Yahweh. Think how hard it must be for HER. Be the ledge, be the talk, be the fall from the ledge, be the flight as you flap your wings while falling. Just be. Suffer. It appears to be the meaning of life.

  10. Little acknowledged fact about the ledge — it’s a hell of a view. You can clearly see the past and the present while cradling a choice for the future.
    Strong like a rock, even though pigeons cock their heads, shit on you and move on. Rain will come and wash you clean, falcons dive bomb through the canyons of the city and somehow you’re above it all.

  11. Awesome as always. Inspirational. Bridge that gap for us the way you always do. Glory is just the other side of that ledge…

  12. I just got my notice from Amazon about my pre-order of The Bridge Ladies — it ships in 3 weeks!

    Now, about this “ledge” business: I assume you’re talking about the thin line between Bryan Cranston when he was a blip on the screen with Greg Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine, and Bryan Cranston when he ruled the Golden Age of TV on Breaking Bad. Or the thin line between Kiss For a Rose when it went nowhere in 1994, and Kiss For a Rose when it got on some Batman movie, was re-released in 1995, and got Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Vocal for Seal. Same actor who was only good for bit parts, same song that no-one liked until they all did. You just ever know.

  13. It sounds like you’re asking, who leaves quarters under the tooth fairy’s pillow? You know all the talk because you give it, but what happens when you need a little reassurance? Now you’re the expectant author, nervous, wondering, doubting yourself. And there’s absolutely no need. It’s clear that you’re an incredible influence and that you know this game inside and out–the editions of “Forest for the Trees” proves that. Hang tight to that ledge (even if that means hanging on to nothing but yourself), look out over the landscape, and aim high. Don’t mind the turbulence; it only adds a little character to the ride. 🙂 (Oh, and go get a mani/pedi with a gallon of your favorite ice cream, if that’s your thing.)

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