• 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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The Love You Save May Be Your Own



I used to go to an optometrist who caught six home-run balls over the years. I asked him his secret. Well, first, he played baseball in high school and college and throughout his adult life. He said when a home-run ball is hit, people in the stands start jumping around trying to catch it. He planted his feet and snagged the ball out of the air.

I could be out of my mind, but it seemed like an apt metaphor for writing. You’ve got to do it for many years (it just doesn’t “happen”) and you’ve got to settle.

Do you have a metaphor for writing?

20 Responses

  1. “Do you have a metaphor for writing?”

    Not a better one than, practice, plant your feet, and do what you’ve been practicing to do.

    Hey — how about them Cubs?

    • I AM rooting for the Cubs. They win it and Steve Goodman (“City of New Orleans” and “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”) will be partying in the Great Beyond.

  2. Every night you make dinner and a second place is set. Almost every night you eat alone, waiting. One night the front door opens. Poetry has come to
    visit. Casual ~ beautiful. She sits. You talk together. Drink wine.
    She leaves.
    The next month you eat alone.

  3. I’ll make a baseball reference and ask everyone on here if there is such a thing as “The Natural.” Does it happen often that someone just comes out of nowhere who is incredibly talented…who has not spent years agonizing and writing and writing? Can just put pen to paper and magical things happen? Is there such a thing?

    • I don’t want to speak for Betsy, but since she wrote that chapter in Forest For The Trees, someone, somewhere, must have had the publishing world talking about such a person. She questioned it herself, if I recall correctly.

  4. Living.

  5. A marathon is my writing metaphor. Slow & steady, with an occasional burst. Eye on the prize.

    And how ’bout those Sox.

  6. My metaphor changed recently. Now he’s one of those bad boys momma warned you about. I lost my virginity to him this week when I got my first piece published. It was pretty orgasmic. And now I’m stalking him. Creeping around all the wrong places. I don’t go to work or talk to my family. I just follow around hoping for a second one night stand.

  7. From my youth: suck it up and march on.

    From later: learn the ropes, chart a course, and cast off.

  8. I’m not sure I have a metaphor that I’ve thought of over the years. If I had to pick, I’d have to go with the same one november mentioned, since I’ve used it (as an analogy) before. Of course, in that case, the thought of “no pain, no gain,” comes to mind.

  9. I think I’ve entered the “What the fresh hell is this?” stage of the writing process.

  10. This time of year, in the fields and clearings in the forest, in the drying rooms and abandoned out buildings, a skunk like odor hangs in the air. The aroma floats on the breeze like a persistent hummingbird circling the last remaining stand of bee balm blossoms. Enforcement helicopters patrol the skies, a wasteful venture if ever there was one; $15,000 a day to eradicate one thousand dollars worth of pot. The fresh buds are sticky and sweet and provide an invigorating high. With one hit you can take off and fly. Just be mindful of the choppers that can bring you down hard.

    And don’t rule out the Dodgers.

  11. Stand in the middle of Times Square.
    Young and new means young and new. They gawk.
    Add a few years, add a lot of years and the body shows the world the life you have lived. The ones who don’t turn away love every line because those tiny folds show the story. The ones who matter know how hard it is for you to bare your soul on paper.
    I am naked when one of my columns comes out. For a prude such as I, words make me a daring bitch.
    Who’d a thought?

  12. Golf. You’re out there on your own and good day or bad day, you’re doing to produce a number. Some days you’ll play shitty and feel like you can’t connect, like you’ve forgotten how to play, and some days you’ll hold it together for 18 holes and think you’ve finally got it!! Until the next day.

    Right before I stopped playing competitively, I made it to the championship match for the State of Minnesota. I was almost 40, and my opponent was a college golfer who I figured would KILL me with both her game and her stamina. But I was wrong. I played great all day! I was winning! Until I wasn’t. On the 16th tee, I hit a bad shot and doubt crept in. Then another bad shot. And another. I lost the championship on the last hole, shook hands, and drove home completely stunned and numb. What in the hell had just happened????

    And then I went back to the golf course and started hitting balls again.

    Yep. Just like writing.

  13. Writing seems to me like sculpture: You start with a lump of clay and rough out a basic form, then keep adding stuff and taking it away according to some inner map you’ve laid out. When the work is finished, you polish it up and leave it where it can be seen, and maybe some people come to look at it, or don’t. Appreciate it, or don’t. Either way you have to leave it where you left it and move on to the next thing.

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