• 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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It Doesn’t Matter What You Wear



When the publisher is preparing to publish your book, they ask you to answer an “author’s questionnaire.” It has a zillion questions that all boil down to one: who do you know? Who can give you a blurb, who can promote you, who will have you to their bookstore, how many friends and followers do you have, do you have contacts in radio, television, print media. WHere have you been published? Do you have a lecture agent, a TED talk, a platform? Did you go to high school with Stephen Colbert? Smoke weed with Terry Gross? Are you a graduate of this, a member of that. Associations, institutions, clubs that would have you as a member. The more water you can bring to the horse the better. (And this also applies to getting an agent, too. It’s not that having contacts is more important than writing a good book, but showing an ability to get the word out really helps pave the way in a very bumpy marketplace.)

Who did you smoke with?

9 Responses

  1. Hmmm. OK. Hung out with Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora at a party once. Oh, and ran into Kathy Bates in a restaurant bathroom, told her she was the shit and she gave me a huge hug. That’s it, that’s the best I got. Not sure how that helps anything at all.

  2. Was interviewed on Fox News national in New York because I met my parents for the first time after they died. I found 125 love letters they wrote to each other while separated by WWII and discovered the real them.
    Fox sent a limo, I spent time in the green room, hair, make-up, it was great.
    The producers talked ‘book’. Another “NOTEBOOK, they said. I was the most famous person I knew. Still am.
    But I can’t stand Fox News now. So nix using them.

  3. I walked the sidewalks of Manhattan with Gordon Lish. We are hot, but we didn’t smoke.

    That’s it.

    • Wait. I forgot. I was also bartender to David Carradine one summer. It was a long time ago. He looked like hell, but he was quiet and polite. A little distant.

  4. I was no help at all on that questionnaire. Who do I know? *crickets*

  5. Since most of the writers I know are proud, serious introverts I’m guessing that this questionnaire would go into spam or auto delete.

    No bid. Really.

  6. Well, I hang out with Fydor who likes to gamble, and I like to smoke with Leo because he wrote the first stream-of-consciousness novel (Anna K.), although the Russians drink too much. I smoke with Henry, but he can go on and on with endless detail and I actually think William is a little smarter. But Virginia is great advisor on modernism and how to make self-publishing not only acceptable but endowed with its own literary cache. She can get depressed though. Although she did introduce me to all those wild Parisian women and Katherine Mansfield who I adore, although she has TB and can’t smoke.

    Oh, you meant the New York scene . . . like you have to smoke with people in New York. And not just with the southerners who have moved here. Max Perkins still doesn’t return my phone calls. And I don’t like to smoke with a lot of those big New York heroic fiction writers and frankly they haven’t wanted to hang out with me that much. They are too busy bird watching. I would rather smoke with Grace Paley or Audre Lorde, but they don’t get out much these days. The Canadians are nice . . . Margaret and Alice. On the other hand, if I spend all that time smokin’ it really cuts into the writing time.

  7. I smoked once with Dennis Cooper on Halloween – my home-rolled American Spirits – and I rolled one just for him. I think they were a little strong for Dennis, but I have 8/day (except when I cheat). Reading your book and your writing is so good. I like those similes!

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