• 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 Words She Knows the Tune She Hums


avery-girl_writingBuckled down this weekend and got some serious revision done. For me the key is putting the pages down for a week or so and looking at them fresh. Putting the pages down, stepping away from the car, is really hard. Losing a connection with your work is kind of terrifying. What if you can’t reconnect? What if, when you check in, it’s an unmitigated disaster? Some writers say it’s all about the revision.

What say you?

10 Responses

  1. Feeling this exactly! So good to read that my moping is not individual. Reg

  2. I used to think it was good to write it, do some minimal tuning but mostly stay with the raw work; instincts and guts. Now I polish things a little too much, elbow grease and revision. What I’m seeking is balance. Disasters? More than a few, but usually something is salvageable.

  3. This weekend’s editing…….like whisking Scrabble tiles in a medal bowl.

  4. Write, read, revise, repeat. Walk away, but don’t stay too long. Read, revise, repeat.

  5. I love the editing/revising parts the best. Channeling 2N’s game thinking, to me it’s like a game of Twister – only with words.

    Or maybe it’s like trying on bathing suits under those godawful fluorescent lights.

    Yeah. Definitely more like changing bathing suits.

  6. Zadie Smith claims that she’s what she calls a “micro manager,” endlessly tuning and tweaking the sentence or paragraph she just built. She says:

    “I start at the first sentence of a novel and I finish at the last. It would never occur to me to choose among three different endings because I haven’t the slightest idea of the ending until I get to it, a fact that will surprise no one who has read my novels… Because Micro Managers have no grand plan, their novels exist only in their present moment, in a sensibility, in the novel’s tonal frequency line by line.”

    She compares that work mode against the “master planners,” the compilers of journals and notebooks and post-its and alternative structures, and says, basically, we are who we are.

    I’m in the micromanager camp, able to produce a few hundred words a day but feeling at the end of the day’s work that the story has moved forward in a meaningful, stable way. I hated design school (I now realize) because it was built for the master planners, the folks who could sketch a billion interchangeable ideas that somehow coalesced later on. I was more archaeologist, digging out a line at a time, brushing the soil away from it, and then moving forward.

    Even with nonfiction, I worry endlessly about the structure and the sequence and the research and the lit review, but after a few months of angst, I just sit down and write the damned thing. The work gets edited after the fact mostly by reading it aloud and tuning up the bum notes or rethinking a bridge’s chord structure to reset the mood leading into the next scene.

  7. It’s all about the revision.

  8. I agree that stepping away from a WIP can be beneficial, but I’m too much of a hovering writer to leave my pages, alone, for too long.

  9. Stepping away for a time is the only way to conquer the beast. The strengths roar their truth, and the weaknesses raise their heads and beg you to bring them justice.

    And if it still sucks, then you cage it for another day.

  10. This shit happens. You just let go and move on.

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