• 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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I Thought That I Heard You Laughing



I started a new project yesterday.I’ve been thinking about it for six or seven years on and off. I’ve had the title and not much more than that. By start,  I mean I wrote two pages and made a new file on my desktop so it will stare me in the face whenever I open my laptop.  I won’t say much more because I am extremely superstitious. In fact, I’ve said too much.

How often do you start a new writing project?

10 Responses

  1. Yay! That’s not too much, IMO. That’s just enough!

    I massaged the first project for about ten, fifteen years, not sure, it’s all blurry. Then again, as “they” say, you have your whole life to write your first book and about a year or so for the ones after. Unless you get a Pulitzer, then you might only have to do one every ten.

    I start something new every 12-15 months, give or take a few months. It’s daunting. Right now I’ve got about 16K on a WIP, and I’m feeling that slight edge of panic which is a combo of why am I writing when I don’t know these people yet, wtf are they supposed to be doing, and what is this story even about?

  2. Last week I got feedback that showed me the way that I could change my flawed Fucker to a much less flawed Fucker; I knew I needed the change, but I could not see how to do it. It feels like a new project. I have nothing but a list of ideas in my notebook and a couple epiphanies on my way to work the other day. Now I’m toying the idea with a new file on my desktop and a few newly written pages. That sounds nice and concrete.

  3. “How often do you start a new writing project?”

    It depends on the definition of the terms. If a writing project starts with an idea, then I start a new one whenever I jot down a quick note or opening line of a new idea. If that counts as a start, then there you are. I’ve started several since Christmas.

    But if a writing project has to be a more substantial entity to qualify as such, and if starting it involves more than writing a few words in a blank Word document and saving it in the Ideas folder on the desktop (or in the cloud, or the swamp, or the ass-end of eternity, or wherever else it is one may choose to stash one’s seeds of genius), then, since Christmas, I’ve completed one and started another.

    These details dodge the question. I start a new writing project whenever the relevant Muse smacks me upside the head. That usually catches my attention. Though lately they’ve taken to stabbing me in the heart. I speak figuratively, of course.

  4. Great photo; loose ends all over the place.

    I left my job in summer 2013, and took control over my own time. And it’s been like Tourette’s since. One nonfiction book and a nonfiction book proposal, both sold; six novels, perpetually unsold; two and a half long short stories, essays, a book-support blog…

    I keep a log of projects started, manuscripts completed, and dates and word count. It seems that when I finish a novel, it takes me pretty consistently a month and a half to get over the despair that these people’s lives will never be heard. But then some other person comes to me with their own aches and fears—once I listen to them, I stop talking to myself about my ineptness as a marketer, and the new story fills the months to come.

    I’m currently suppressing the fiction voice right now to be able to write the nonfiction book that’s under contract. Once October gets here, I think someone else will take me aside and start talking.

    I wonder what kind of grain of sand it takes for a pearl to form around it. For Betsy, “I’ve had the title and not much more than that.” And that’s been enough to keep a coal glowing for six or seven years. For me, it’s an image of someone in some form of midlife crisis, from adolescence to divorce to dead-end career, an unhappy stasis that needs to be broken open. Hilary Mantel says that she needs to have a conversation with her protagonist, see how he inhabits his body and what his voice sounds like. What kinds of seeds are fertile?

  5. It varies. I start some projects and am gung ho on them for awhile and then cool down, while others I stay with, sometimes for years. I am selectively loyal. I don’t really have a time frame, but more agree with what Tetman said earlier about the Muse smack upside the head. Uh huh.

  6. How often do I start a new writing project? More often than I finish them.

  7. How often? Too often.
    I have too many brilliant first pages than I can count.
    Too many log lines, too many outlines and too many ideas hiccupping away my time.
    The one I’m working on now is over five years old and editing it brings me great joy. This is the one…
    until someone tells me it’s not.

  8. 2 pages of a new idea means “I’ve emptied my head of that distracting idea. Now back to work.”

    • Nice. My wife and I have what we call “the Post-It wall,” upon which we metaphorically write half a dozen words for projects we might get to someday, probably in our fourth or fifth century. The New Yorker cartoon about the cat bringing the commandments down from Sinai… the environmental psych textbook… yeah, right.

      Though I will say that one of my former architecture teachers, trained in the Navy as a Seabee engineer, once published a cartoon of a pocket knife with six blades and an anchor on a chain. Called it the Swiss Navy Knife.

  9. Screw my (lack of) new ideas. I’m just sitting here, eagerly waiting for you to spill more about yours…

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