• 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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People Fall In Love In Mysterious Ways


I cleaned my desk today and organized a desk drawer. That should give you some indication of the suck ass day I had trying to patch a few sentences together. Why am I alive? Why do I want to do this more than anything else? Why can’t I ever be happy? I wish I went by Elizabeth. Betsy Barrett Browning. Betsy Harwick. Betsy Bishop. Betsy Gaskell. I wish I went to Nova Scotia after grad school and married a potter. I actually separated large from small paper clips. I threw away pens that dried up and pencils that went stale.

How be you?

26 Responses

  1. You’re hilarious…. Thanks for the blog. Usually. I’m fine; thanks for asking.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Eh. Lots of eh.

    Between big projects. Trying to get a new one to love me, maybe marry me.

    I got the shittiest rejection perhaps ever the other day. A proposal request that had me stoked, and then, after the request, a form rejection. Maybe that happens. First for me. Personally, I appreciate the lies. “Not sure I’m the one to sell it.” “Just not for me, but I’m sure someone will love it.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “You have a great personality.”

    I’ll believe all of them. They’re what I have.

  3. Recovering from yesterday at Captain Tony’s in Key West, and today in Key Largo, lusting after another boat. Why can’t I be faithful?

    • Aw man, I spent many a night in Captain Tony’s back in 1978. Great place — thanks for rekindling old memories! And happy sailing.

  4. I would never have thought of pencils going stale, but they totally fucking do.

  5. Same.

    Not sent from my phone.

  6. You actually got things accomplished, and who knows what your mind was working on while you were separating paperclips? There are many people (aside from your family) who are glad you are Betsy Lerner. Besides, you put a few sentences together.

  7. Nova Scotia indeed! Come on up. Not a Trump in sight. Nothing but sea and sky, health care and Trudeau. Plus, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a potter.

  8. Frazzled. Sick dog, mom’s decided to sell her house and move close by, (good pts/bad pts) and a long list of deadlines. And a new website launching today.

    Let’s make that frazzled + freaked out.

  9. Tired.


    Looking for a way out.

  10. Almost, I mean ALMOST finished with edits and ready to query.
    So excited and terrified.
    My query rocks., I think, maybe?
    Queried this one before, rewrote, edited the piss out it and cried. Love this story, hope an agent will love it too.

  11. BTW Elizabeth, organizing your desk also organizes your mind.
    I made that up but it works for me.

  12. On a fucking emotional roller coaster. Got into a writing conference. Yay! Oh, but we’re still about to turn our country over to the fucking assholes. Why did I get out of bed?

  13. The most clever things I write these days are grocery lists.

  14. Last night music filled DK’s garage. Kate was at the table, lost in space with an opiate altered brain. Sometimes she’d get up and shuffle around aimlessly and we’d have to be careful not to bump into her as we bounced around, but mostly she sat mumbling in detail about a dog she detested blocking the way in her tiny trailer. Kate would pause to explain to no one in particular that the dog’s snout would be here and the tail
    Playing a rocking tune there was a sudden unexpected wild sound, like a monster string bend – WAHHHHHHH. The guy playing lead was looking at his fingers trying to figure out how he did that and then I realized one of my middle strings had gone slack and I could feel it kind of vibrating as I fretted some chords. It didn’t really affect the song we were playing, so I kept on strumming. When we were done I looked at the guitar. The string didn’t snap but had come undone from the bridge on up. I dug out a replacement from the extra set in my case, wound it up and the band played on.

    Writing. I’m stuck and conflicted. Mostly not enough time due to some family issues — my father and sister are going through some rough times. I’m on the phone a lot trying to negotiate and I feel like I’m being stretched apart by the distance between us, unraveling just like that G string last night.

  15. Spent a couple of days re-reading a manuscript I finished in September. It’s like looking at photos of dead children, a form of grieving.

    Trying to get excited about my nonfiction manuscript—you know, the one they already paid me for—and realizing that my nonfiction jones has just gone away. No little kid ever climbed into bed and said, “Daddy, explain me something.” No, it’s always “Tell me a story!”

    I think they’re good books. But I thought getting doing a really terrific job getting my PhD would get me a faculty life, too. I seem to seek out windmills.

    And really, if one of my novels ever does sell, it’s gonna make six grand, maybe. So I think I’m just going to develop a nice website and put them all up for free. I didn’t write them to get rich, so I might as well be true to the premise. (What’s 15% of $6,000? Sorry, Betsy and other agents, about foregoing your $900. Like social media, literary agentry is another business model too complex for my mind to hold; it seems like holding the patent on paper clips, where you make a tenth of a cent on every case and hope to hell someone still wants to buy a LOT of paper clips.)

    And, as others have said, all of this personal stuff in the larger climate. I remember the common question about the first presidency of this millennium—”Is he stupid or malicious?” This time, the answer is already known, and it’s “yes.” There’s a zombieness among my friends, we all look like the people walking down the road aimlessly after the meteor has hit. Grief can be personal and collective both.

  16. In order to fight the malaise so many of us feel, I’m going to march with thousands on Saturday. It will inspire me. It will tire me out and clear my head. I’ll write later.

    • Me too. I can’t get to DC but I’ll be out there on the streets of Seattle, getting in the way, making some noise. My current problem is how to fit all my grievances onto one sign. I think I’ll have to go with something simple like LOVE THY NEIGHBOR or, as my co-worker suggests, JUST ALL OF IT.

    • My daughter and her husband are going. It’s history girls and boys. I was going but my fuck-a-duck job put an end to that.

    • Me too!! Other than being excited to march with like-minded people I am sick to my stomach thinking about the state of affairs after tomorrow…. I still feel I will be waking up soon from this nightmare.

  17. Funny you should ask. I’ve been rearranging and redecorating my office space. Instead of writing.

    I’m a Texan, so I actually know someone traveling to the inauguration. My 17 year old says, SMH. (translation: Shake My Head) It’s a cold, lonely place for a liberal.

    From another Elizabeth. Dubbed Liz for life by my siblings.

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