• 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.
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I Know I’m Not the Only One


I’m feeling kind of lost. I don’t have a new project. I call writing projects “imaginary friends.” They are always there for you, always beckoning.  I also feel exhausted, like I need an oil change or a transfusion. It’s been over three years with the Bridge Ladies. No what am I supposed to do, learn Mahjong? I have always counseled writers to start a new project before their book comes out. This is excellent advice. Having failed to follow it, I am sans friend. I am a girl without a hat.

Got any imaginary friends?

15 Responses

  1. yes, I’ve definitely got some imaginary friends. I also call all the TBR books in one of my bookcases friends as well. Isn’t there some song that people sing about being lost and then found? Cheers, Betsy. You’ll be fantastic if you just hang in a little bit there. I’m glad you’re blogging again; I missed you 🙂

  2. The only friends I have are imaginary. Real ones get in the way of writing. I’m too old for friendships anyway, even if I deserved them, which I don’t.

    I drag myself up every morning — okay, early afternoon — put on my prettiest dress, and play cowboys with various good and evil imaginary friends.
    When I’m finished throwing together this awfully-written pile of crap (these genre “books” generally take one to two weeks, but this one’s being stubborn), I’ll go back to working on the third draft of a “real” book — I’ve been working on that for three years now.
    Then I’ll squeeze out another genre poo, and follow it up with something in a new genre, something sparkly, with magic and murder and living tattoos, I suppose.
    When that’s done, I’ll dash off another quick genre crapper, then do the third draft of a different “real” book — this is one I’ve been working on five years.

    This effed-up re-verse in-verse multi-verse behaviour will continue, either until one of the “real” books makes “real” money, or the genre series makes so much filthy lucre I never need to write one again.
    After all that, sometime soon or soonish, I will get to what I call my Treason story, a challenging book I’m desperate to dice with, but which has been sitting at the 6000 word mark for almost six years. Two manic days of work, left to mature into whatever it’s going to be.
    When that one’s done, I hope I’ll finally be good enough to write the very first novel I started. I stopped two pages in — saw right away I’d need actual skill to pull it off. Skill I obviously lacked, and still do. (Today, but perhaps not tomorrow.)

    Oh. There’s a short story too. Well yes, there are others, but there’s ONE. Year on year it wobbles each side of 300 words. It’s a friend and a lover, the bane of my bare-brained and blue-balled existence. Or maybe it’s only a story…

    So, a great many projects in various stages of completion. But only some I’d call friend — the slapdash genre books are more like business acquaintances I’ve grown quite fond of.
    Except for this current one. It’s a slime-tastic bastard, a musty-minged fucker, a shit-eating knob-gobbler of grandest arse-holic proportions. As are all current ones, while they’re current.

    So don’t talk to me about friends.

    PS: If you ever really needed a hat, I’d certainly buy you one. Pretty sure we all would.

    • Mr. iPants, some of us write genre for the cashish, some of us work in offices for it. Six of one, half dozen of the other, and mox nix so long as we can do some quality work when we can.

      And let us not forget, you wrote one of the funniest books in the recent English language with “Midlife.” I laughed my ass off and have been sitting on the base of my spinal column ever since. (Seriously, I didn’t take it along to read on the train on my daily commute out of concern it might send me into a fit of hilarity, alarming my fellow travelers.)

      • Of course, Tetman, you had to come along and make a liar of me for saying I have no real friends. But I’ll stick by the statement that I don’t deserve you.

        As for “Midlife,” it’s an absolute disgrace, completely devoid of moral goodness, and should never be read by anyone — as you well know.

  3. My novel keeps me busy. I live in my novel whenever I can.
    Don’t you have at least 2 Young Adult novels brewing in your cup? Didn’t you mention that a few posts back? (Look in the post where you wrote that you are not a one trick pony.)

  4. You are soooo lucky Betsy. You get to chose your imaginary friend. I have so many picking and poking at me, it is hard to focus on “the one”.
    How does one focus, binoculars, magnifying glass, handcuffs, a nail through the foot into the floor. I fear, if I don’t get on the stick I shall run out of time.

  5. I’ve not yet turned in my next project (due Sep 15) and I’m already thinking of another. But it’s seems like a flighty friend w/back stabbing potential. Matter of fact, I think it could be a fair weather one.

  6. I can relate. My memoir, Falling For Eli, came out in 2012, and sitting in the lobby of my hometown inn where I gave a reading and signed books exactly four years ago, I only just figured out my next project. It’s been a long, lonely time between books, but every idea I had seemed forced and artificial. I think it’s incredibly hard when your head is filled with your previous project, to conceive a new one. People do it all the time, I realize, but for some of us, the fields need to lie fallow. You’ll know when your mind is fertile again. In the meantime, I recommend slow, deep breaths and lots of summer cocktails. I bought The Bridge Ladies for my mom and my mother-in-law, a master player, for Mother’s Day. Both devoured and enjoyed. You did good.

    • Thank you so much for giving the book to your mom and mother-in-law. Ca-ching! Serious, I really appreciate. And I find those deep breaths work even better with some weed mixed in. xoxoxox

  7. Some little friends, short stories. They dress in colors from the 1920s that we have no record of and accompany me on walks, often inviting me to stoop down so they can whisper in my ear the names of people and places, or suggest scenarios and provide blueprints to support structures. It’s all quite real but sometimes I pretend it’s not.

  8. I’ve always thought poetry would take me back when I was done having an intense fling with memoir. But the fling has been going on for so long that my husband is getting jealous. He liked me better as a poet.

  9. My husband liked me better when I was a chipmunk.

  10. I am my imaginary friend.

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