• 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.
  • Archives

How Could So Much Love Be Inside of You?


I had an epiphany on the Stairmaster yesterday. And, yes, that is my subtle way of slipping in that I have finally dragged my fat writer’s ass back to the gym. I realized that the Bridge Ladies isn’t the end. It didn’t make me and it can’t break me. I can do something else. I will have another idea. I have other ideas! I’m not a one man Bridge Lady band! I can go back to sestinas! I have two (two!) young adult ideas. I’ve never given up entirely on The Ring of Truth, or why people have mini-orgasms at poetry readings. The tree of life, the river of life, the capillaries in my brain, the sandbox, the shoe fits, the small, annoying person who says life is short doesn’t realize that it’s also long.

What you got up your sleeve?

20 Responses

  1. Good for you!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. It begins in an Italian restaurant. He’s waiting for his girlfriend who picked this particular eatery…overpriced and dated. It’s too warm and the mildew stench from the carpet overpowers the scent of bland food trying to escape a kitchen that has seen busier days. The owner had the ceiling painted with a Sistine Chapel scene and all the characters looked like they had a touch of Down’s syndrome…at first the word retarded entered his mind but he quickly opted for the politically correct term lest karma visit his unborn children. The waiter moved gingerly for an older man and his black vest was stained with the remnants of last night’s specials. He wondered why he always went to places he disliked to please the few people remaining in his life.

    It’s a start. I have written it over and over again in my head. I’ll never put pen to paper though.

  3. Think Ruth Madoff living in a Welfare motel, waiting tables and having to share her tips.

  4. An idea for a poetry book

  5. I love the epiphany, truly. I have two sleeves and am unsure about what to do. I wish you guys would just tell me. Revise the novel from last year that’s gotten marvelous rejections from a bunch of agents — one such agent, a youngster who is too young to even be my daughter — gave me a truly inspired critique. She’s probably right, but should I do the revision? Or continue writing my new idea, which is essentially “women’s fiction,” and probably more commercially viable? One weird concern I have about Door #1 is that the protagonist is 22, and I am 63. I honestly feel a bunch of agents have thought there was a disconnect between writer and and what’s she’s written — ageism is one of the ways I explain why I haven’t found representation (it’s never been a problem for me and the rejections have been so glowing). Please be my guides and angels and tell me what the fuck to do.

    • Just yesterday I was reading about how odd it seemed for a middle-aged man named Samuel Richardson to have written a novel that got inside the head of a teenage girl. Fortunately, that problem didn’t bother Richardson, and the novel, Pamela, became a great success. (The article about Richardson was in a recent New Yorker and can probably be found on its website.)

      If you really have no preference, you can just flip a coin. But I notice that you said more about Project #1 than about your new idea. It sounds to me as if you’re a little more engaged with it, as if it’s the bone you have in your teeth.

      • Thank you for answering! Of course, I have zero doubt that I can write about a 22 year old. The problem is that with social media, etc., I’m not sure it’s as easy to pull off being an unconventional author. I read the same article in The New Yorker — it was fascinating that Richardson did such a phenomenal job. Finally, I probably wrote more about #1 because I don’t want to be lazy and avoid a hard revision. In my experience, hard revisions are incredibly important, if … HARD. I’m trying to make sure I don’t choose the less risky, but less hard, sleeve.
        Anyway, thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Hurrah for epiphanies! Really, that’s part of the value of the gym and of other forms of exercise: while you’re working your muscles, your mind, free to wander, does its own work.

    I have lots up my sleeve. I’ve been jotting ideas in an ideas file for about 10 years, and before that I was jotting them in my journals, which I could easily search (they’re Word files, searchable by computer). For me, the challenge is never thinking of something to do. It’s focusing on something until it’s finished, or, if a distraction intervenes, setting the project aside but returning to it.

    • I agree about exercise. Epiphanies do happen when the body is engaged. However, it doesn’t have to be onerous. I walk between 3 and 5 miles a day — I find it really helps me think and be happy and productive.

      Advice, since you were kind enough to offer me some? Think of a NEW idea, not from your past files. The past will influence what you think of now, but I’m a big believer in going forward, not backwards. NOW is when you’re most interesting because there is only NOW.

      • Your suggestion has some psychological punch to it. Usually, what most excites me is the idea I just had, and that makes it relatively easy to do the work. But I can’t always write something start to finish after I have an idea—or, at least, I don’t. The day job gets in the way, and the people in my life, and the other things I do that seem to help my mental balance. What’s more, some ideas keep coming back and nagging at me—they still intrigue me and still seem worth pursuing. One of my current projects is an idea that first occurred to me roughly 10 years ago; since it won’t leave me alone, I’ve been intermittently doing background research on it over the past year or so, most recently last night. Honestly, I kind of hope I don’t have any good new ideas until I get that one, and/or another current project, out of the way.

        Thanks for your comments! I hope to hear more about your writing as it progresses.

  7. Usually what happens is that by the time I’m free to write the books I’m daydreaming about, my interest in them has died. At the moment I’m revising a story about a mute homeless girl who has to solve her best friend’s disappearance. I just swapped the first and second chapters which has helped a lot.

  8. Haunts. I’m haunted, consistently and endlessly, by what I have done and what I haven’t. Do I dare to finish that which I’ve put years into? And it’s good! I know it. Why is the passion waning? What’s holding me back? Do I dare to eat a peach?

  9. Up my sleeve
    Up my sleeve
    Mohammed Ali had
    A fake thumb
    Up his sleeve
    He wore to hide
    A disappearing scarf.
    Fidel Castro
    Got a big kick
    Out of what
    Mohammed Ali
    Had up his sleeve.
    (From a 60 Minutes rerun the other night)

  10. Up my sleeve? My arm. *now hear that drum thing*

    Got an idea for the next book set in Eastern NC. 70’s time frame – not sure. Race track, young girl, trailer park living, very vague at the moment.

  11. I need to have something up my sleeve? Can’t I just ride the coattails of my past mediocrity?

  12. No sleeves: summer has arrived in the South, and with it, too many odd coincidences that shame me back to my WIPs. There are articles about funding for writers and artists; an on-line report that mirrors one of my characters and an unsolicited compliment from an acquaintance. All seem to be messages from The Muses, reminding me to gaze away from drudgery, embrace the keyboard. Perhaps your Muses have re-upped their gym membership, too?

  13. Up my sleeves I am sufficiently, if sparsely, armed. At the ends of those arms are the fingers that play across the keyboard.

    Look at ’em go!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: