• 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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Don’t Tell Me Not to Live



I turned in a writing project today. Finished the fucker. I’m feeling elated, depressed, anxious, irritable, happy, depleted, disoriented, and exhausted. My entire digestive system is aggrieved. And I have a feeling it won’t let up until I hear from the editor. Make way for ducklings!

How do you handle waiting?

12 Responses

  1. “How do you handle waiting?”

    One is never waiting. One is always taking some action.

    It helps to be aware of this, and what the actions, and the field of actions both realized and potential, may be.

  2. With misdirection. Start a new writing project. Or read one (or several) of the many on my tbr list.

  3. With wind, water, weather, and a wee bit of alcohol. These are magnificent diversions.

  4. This is much easier said than done, but I try to think of the long term, what this will mean when I look back. If it’s something I’m happy with and proud of, there’s not much more I can do. And that means moving on to the next project.
    Congratulations on finishing the fucker!

  5. Big congrats! Can’t wait to hear what this one is about. I get busy on the next thing, even if it’s just trying to figure out.

  6. I handle waiting very poorly. My books are among the most important things in my life, and yet I know that to most agents who receive their proposals, they are nuisances, slush to clear from the doorstep. I chose writing at least in part because I hate the life of cold-call sales. “Good evening, Mr. Charles, if you’ve got a few moments, I’d love to talk with you about the benefits of reverse mortgages.” Ick. And yet, here I am. “Good evening, Madame Agent, if you’ve got a few moments, I’d love to talk with you about a story.” Same diff, except that I believe in my stories more than I believe in reverse mortgages.

    Of my proposals that have been in the field for more than three months, exactly one third have been declined with greater and lesser forms of information. One, an editor then at Penguin Random House whom I’d met at a workshop, sent a lovely message explaining that she liked the story quite a lot, technically and emotionally, but it wouldn’t fit her list; the others, form letters.

    That leaves the other two thirds that have simply been jettisoned through the airlock into the void, with no response whatsoever.

    What am I waiting for right now? Responses to eight proposals for two different novels, sent in early February. A response to an application for a conference. A noon appointment to conduct a phone interview for my nonfiction project. An accreditation decision on behalf of a client. I keep myself busy, but it’s quiet out there.

    • Sent another query last night, so now nine: five for one novel, four for another. Plus the orphans lost to the storm. Does anybody else find the simple act of assembling the query to be so emotionally draining? I have to really screw up my gumption to send one out—not just the reading of interviews with a possible agent to be able to personalize the letter and read her unknowable mind, but the fact of sending my friends out into the blizzard knowing that they almost certainly won’t return alive. It totally wipes me out every time. They deserve better than I can give them.

  7. Mostly I wait like a monk, with the practiced wonder about the void. And now, after sufficient experience, with a detached amusement in learning about the fuller story behind too many submissions and not enough time.

  8. How do I handle writing, one fucking word at a time, 600 per column.

  9. I occupy myself through the excitement of other people’s projects. So, standing by whistling and waiting to hear more about yours…

  10. I think about death. Dying puts everything in perspective because it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do — everything else, in the words of Raymond Carver, is “gravy”.

    Also vodka.

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