• 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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Throw Your Soul Threw Every Open Door

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No one wanted my screenplays. I can take off my bib and diaper and write another or I can whine about Hollywood. But I will never whine about HOllywood because I would like to wrap that tinsel cliche around me and my Tesla and burn through the Hollywood Hills with Jim Morrison flooding the night. I would like to enjoy a cobb at the Beverly Hills Hotel where they chop it so fine it’s almost pre-chewed. Did I tell you I saw Diane Keaton there and she was wearing her signature hat. I can write another and another and another. As powerless as it sometimes often always feels to be a writer, you have this thing that no one can take away.

What have you got?

21 Responses

  1. I’ve got this book I want you to read – Emotion, Being and Creativity: Meditations On the Inner Worlds of Writers and Artists. Or we could just call it: When Writers Feel Bad. You know what I’m talking about.

  2. An urban opera inspired by a Bizet work. Filled with dancing, betrayal, parades and a riot, I may have to rely on a GoFundMe site to get this on a stage.

  3. “What have you got?”

    I have the entire universe, all of space and time, before my eyes and at my fingertips. I have the smallest space between the quantum strings that may or may not exist, and I have the great expanse that stretches from before the beginning to beyond the end. I have the cold dark infinite blackness of that which is not, and I have the pure inexpressible light of all that is. I have the wail of the heartbroken and the tears of the overjoyed, and the cool, calm mornings and the hot and stormy nights.

    I am a writer. I have all these things, and more.

  4. I’ve got notebooks, which are hope.

  5. I got ink from the NYer, a rejection note that I framed, shoved in a drawer and look at when I’m bummed.

    Encouragement. It fuels the emerging story collection. It’s been a good year.

  6. A one way ticket to creative urges, the key to the gate of Absent Thought and metaphors that float like shit in a sea of hyperbole.

  7. I have…the latest outline to the new book finished – five pages of a story I want to tell. A new title I love. Now I have to write The Thing.

  8. This week I have this:

    I write distracted lines, incomplete poetry. Touch old writing,
    add notes to long projects, 
jot down inspiration impatiently
    
and hope it makes sense, later.

    Anything to avoid writing about my daughter. 

    To not start the final diary I owe her,
    the pouring out of doses and symptoms and heartbreak, 

    her brave moments and funny lines 
in the face of horror and the cliff, 
the way she sees full sun 
in the last slanted line of light
    
between far-off, receding nimbus, 
just before the final flash,
    
the dusk of almost gone, 
the false light of stars, 

    and the black night of pure memory.

    Anything but that.

    How she rages about being shoved aside or snickered at
    for her malformed voice and face, 
her chemo stare,
    her radiation figure. 

    How she grins at me, goes deadpan with a funny line.
    
Her withering look when I am Dad, not Papa, 
and nanny her
    about eating or taking care. 
Her sardonic, splendid humor
    in the face of 
diminishing, departure, and—

    I write with eyes averted, trust my shaking hands—

    death.

    How does one do this? How is it fair?

    Why do some get to go on—

    reading aloud the offerings in the bakery case, 

    trotting in absurd lime green shoes around the park,
    
bickering with friends, sullen in cubicles—

    and my ferocious daughter, splendid in her art,
    
her original askew, her defiance at injustice, 
must go Away? 


    I climbed out of the well for this? 
Yes, it turns out.
    She has destroyed my dark pessimism with her bravery. 

    When I grope behind me for the rim—
    to slip down again, escape like a coward,
    
avoid the hand-hold, hang-on, and death bed still to come—
    
I find her fearless stomp upon my earth,
    
discover how her trembling self has
    collapsed that well, filled it in. 


    I could dig it up but I think not. 

    I will follow her lead and forget the way down.
    
Fill my heart instead with do-right days and best effort.
    
Loft these old wings, sit calm the hospital sits,
    
turn wheels and generate light, let the remaining days with her
    grind away my self-pity, 
as if it was always friable grist
    and not shield granite. 


    
I am laid bare by my daughter’s brave end,
    
whether it is one year or three, 
laid bare
    for the fool and sad-sack I always was. 

    “It doesn’t matter anymore” she says inside me, 

    and it is her girlish, steely voice, 
and our burnishing time together,
    
that finally makes it true. 
My old suffering is diminished 

    by the magnitude of losing the child I raised, 
and I am transformed, healed, by her dignity. 
It is the most unbearable thing in the world, 

    and it is not unbearable anymore. 



    It is this world, see? This beautiful old world.

    • You are humbling and gracious in an insufferable, beautiful paradox that is lifting you higher and lighting you brighter in an undiscriminating world. Peace and strength to both you and your daughter.

    • “Why do some get to go on—

      reading aloud the offerings in the bakery case, 

      trotting in absurd lime green shoes around the park,
      
bickering with friends, sullen in cubicles—

      and my ferocious daughter, splendid in her art,
      
her original askew, her defiance at injustice, 
must go Away?”

      I’ve got the capacity to pick up what you’re putting down, and to appreciate not only the emotional power of this writing but its imagery and rhythm. I’m so grateful for that and for people like you who leave these gifts behind.

      Thank you.

  9. May she find peace beyond her pain. The words are hard to write, I’m sure. I wish you peace, too; you’re giving your daughter a great gift and it sounds like she knows this.

  10. I have a bird feeder hanging in front of the picture window in my den and 7 indoor cats.

  11. I’ve got love. I’ve got rhythm. I’ve got pain, patience, and compassion.
    I’ve got heart, a brain, health, and hopefulness. I’ve got the clouds in the sky, an ascending moon, quick lizards tails, regal palms, sequined waves. I’ve got plums to pluck out of pies in the sky.

  12. A lifetime subscription to bottle-of-the-month club.

  13. nothing.

  14. YEah, something like that. Thanks, Betsy.

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