• 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’m So Tired of Being Alone

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I went to hear a movie producer give a talk and he made the point that you have to have a lot of ideas. You can’t be clinging to your one script for life. Imagine, he said, if you found yourself next to Steven Spielberg at a cocktail party and he asked what you were working on. You pitched your script. He didn’t like it and said, “what else you got?” And you got nothing. I know books aren’t movie pitches, but I still think it’s really healthy to always be evolving ideas, taking notes, clipping articles, recording dialogue. Keep a list of ideas. They won’t bite.

How many ideas are you working on?

15 Responses

  1. Too many to count….. Good point.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. 4 long projects and 1 of them is a 4-part series. too much! but i’m old and don’t have much time for this work.

    rea

  3. Like Lonnie S said above – this is actually a VERY good point. I had an ms on submission, and it was rejected, and it was literally just that “what else you got,” from my now editor, that made the book deal happen in my case.

    But, it’s also a great point b/c I spent something like five months this past year (from Aug until January) trying to nail down an outline for a new story b/c I didn’t have any new ideas percolating. I learned my lesson. While I’m working on my current project, I’m already formulating the next book. I don’t want to have that panicky feeling again.

  4. One book at a time. But once that’s done, it’s a month or two before I start the next one. So in four years, that’s been six novels and one and a half nonfiction books (second MS due to publisher in October), plus a few shorts.

    I have a friend who’s a really talented wood turner. He works on one bowl or hollowform at a time, but that means he’s usually got seventy or eighty to take to a craft market every couple of months. I know we’re taught to pitch one “project” (hate that word) per query letter, but really, I don’t want someone to represent a project. I want someone to represent a career. And careers are demonstrably possible, in part, by having more than one item in stock at a time.

    I know some people who cling to that one MS forever. And I think they’re not really writers. They’ve written (mostly a memoir) as a form of self-help, and they’re not interested in writing anything else. They just want that one to get them some love, and to have factual support that their lives have been noticed. Writers could no more stop after one MS than we could stop eating after visiting one really great restaurant, than a musician could stop playing after her first gig.

  5. “How many ideas are you working on?”

    I dunno, I can’t count that high. I’m working on the idea that I can finish some significant part of my pendings before I die. I s’pose we’ll have to see about that.

    This morning, I’m working on This, That, and The Other Thing. Oop — gotta run. The Other Thing has got its fangs out. Here it comes. And it appears to have family. Lots of family.

  6. 2 or 3, mainly short stories, but also the one monster in a box (a tip of the hat to the late Spaulding Gray), the ever evolving memoir. As for ideas for future stories, they fly on by like early morning work day drivers, in a hurry to get somewhere but wanting nothing more than to leave once they arrive.

  7. A plethora.

  8. For me, Betsy, this is the right question at the right time.

    My column is approaching its 13th birthday, and requires new ideas regularly, so the noodle is always simmering. But the day job-actually ten weeks a year- may be ending soon. For 11 years it has paid some bills and introduced me to some amazing people from all over the world, including Formula 1 and Indy champions, but that party is winding down, so….

    I’ve got six ideas that I really like, and have a little meat on their bones, but to me, they are shorter works, 10-20 thousand words. Combine that with my total lack of experience at pitching, and here I am. My inclination is to finish one or two of these, since, well, you can’t pitch without balls.

    So, it’s time to put out or get out, except for my column. I know I sound slutty, but what’s a guy to do?

  9. Two.

    It took me a couple of minutes to find the Anteater because I was looking for an Aardvark or an Armadillo. The “B” and “C” etc. were easier, but now I’m stuck on the “I”, wondering “Is that an Ibex?”

    I sent a copy of The Bridge Ladies to my neighbor’s mother-in-law and she called me ON THE PHONE to tell me how impressed she is with the way you learned to play such a difficult card game and how interesting your mother and all her friends are. It’s worlds away from what she knows in upstate New York. We have a phone date later today so I can tell her how to leave a 5-star review on Amazon.

    No, it’s not an Ibex. Is that an Iguana?

  10. One memoir, one poetry manuscript, a couple articles that are little dormant seeds in my brain, and a schlock novel with serious flaws

  11. Cabinets and shoeboxes full of short stories, newspaper clippings, notes, character sketches, etc. Sadly, I’m clinging to the finished ms on my desk like I’m Kate and it’s Leo and it’s our last night on the Titanic. I’m drowning in it! Next stop, a cabin in a remote area of New Hampshire where we can finally be alone.

  12. One in the box under the bed that I can’t give up on. One finished rough draft on my laptop that no longer feels the love. Two full fledged bookmarked folders of research on my browser with titles and loglines. Another folder with random this-might-be-cool-some-day ideas, too fat to sort through.

    Oh, you said, working.

    Today?

    Zero.

  13. Too many. It’s hard to focus because I love them all.

  14. Again, GOD CREATED EVERYTHING OUT OF HIMSELF. I think about myself and therefore I am very busy as I know all you loving spokes in the wheel are also doing THat while you are bleeding and crying and laughing and looking stoic and trying to be hard but life will always make you look small and want you to get out of it. Interesting as the wheel turns but grinding for those on the wheel. Hmm. Is there anything new under the sun? And, is Betsy the best or what? Tap dance or sing, fucker.

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