• 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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Dream If You Can a Courtyard


Today, a little better. Work is the only tonic/balm/antidote to negativity. And I did good work today with  a writer on the cusp of finishing a book. Loose threads were sewn up, extraneous details dropped, transitions sharpened, part titles materialized out of thick air. People, we have to write. We have to fight. We have to fuck all. When you call a sentence into being it is as real as a moth hanging on a stalk in a forgotten forest.

Why do you write?November Moth (Epirrita dilutata)

11 Responses

  1. So I know I exist. So others know that they aren’t alone. Because words are the only thing left even if they are bled dry , or rattling gourds , or pearls rolling on the ocean floor. To communicate well is to find meaning.

  2. There’s something a tiny bit miraculous in it, especially when others want more of what you’ve written. Even a moth in a forgotten forest finds its way to light.

  3. I write because people demand to have their stories told. In nonfiction, it’s people in need, people who’ve gotten a raw deal somewhere through no fault of their own, people stumbling through an alien culture in need of a guide. In fiction, it’s people who arrive at a place in their lives that’s equally alien, a point at which the formerly trusted narrative no longer applies.

  4. “Why do you write?”

    Because when I was a little boy, before I knew how to read, my mom would read bedtime stories to my brother and me and she could read, could spin out those stories and make real worlds of them, and I saw there was magic in those funny little marks on the page and I wanted to make that magic.

    Because when I was eleven and my mom was going through a hard time and was angry and distant, and my dad was going through a really hard time and was actually distant, being in Vietnam with the war and all, my sixth-grade teacher read ‘Harriet the Spy’ to the class, and she could read and the spell was cast again, and I saw the power one could have in one’s own life through the simple act of taking up notebook and pen and writing about what was going on at school and at home, and there was no one to talk to, anyway.

    Because when I was in high school I was on the newspaper and learned the intoxication of having one’s words in print with a byline and everything, and peers and rivals saying, ‘Hey, I read what you wrote,’ and never mind that it was a small-pond/middling-fish phenomenon, when it’s the only pond you know, it’s big enough.

    Because when I was seventeen poetry exploded in my mind, as poetry often will do in the minds of literizing adolescents, and I wanted to spin upon the page the patterns of mystery, beauty, and truth.

    Because it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and everything else in my life has been done to make a clearing for it and to feed it and support it.

    Because I couldn’t stop if I wanted to, and I can’t want to.

    Because it’s my way of saying ‘Fuck you’ to Death.

    • Right on, and write on, Tetman. I had forgotten about being read to as a child by mom and dad and teachers, and being scared to read aloud to the class. And yeah, fuck death, and meanness, and…..

    • Putting up the mail, I just saw this quote on the back of a Spring Hill Nurseries catalogue: “I paint flowers so they will not die.” – Frida Kahlo. (A new variety in their catalogue, “a multicolored bloom with a slight tea fragrance”, is the Frida Kahlo rose.).

  5. Writing is a painful pleasure, and I am the sorcerer’s apprentice.

  6. To try to make sense of things. I mean, somebody has to do it. And I often wonder how that moth is hanging in there.

  7. I view myself as a realist with an occasional drop of optimism, but I’ve been feeling much of the negativity you mentioned in your last post. Maybe it’s due to some personal issues or the lingering worries over the election, or maybe it’s simply the effects of Mercury in Retrograde–in which my fairly skeptical nature has discovered some bizarre truth.

    But I spent much of today looking over fabulous cover design concepts for my book! And much of my negativity has been suddenly swept away.

    I guess that is why I write. Because sometimes, when we work hard enough and wait long enough, we finally get rewarded.

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