• 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.
  • Archives

Something Inside Had Died and I Just Can’t Fake It



When you finish a piece of writing, I recommend: printing it out, reading it aloud, make notes with a pencil, input the changes, put the pages in the potato bin for ten days to two weeks.  Reread, delete 2-10,000 words, read a major Russian novel, ask a trusted reader for feedback (no first degree relatives or people you’re fucking). Ask another reader. Revise again, read out loud again, potato bin, writer’s workshop or retreat. Find a therapist.

What do you do when you finish something?

10 Responses

  1. Dance around like a wild banshee woman who runs with the wolves, watch Out of Africa — again, dangle my crystal ship ornament in the sun, as I dream of the reverse Titanic trip I will take someday–without the accident. Oh, and hair twirling.

  2. Send it to Wendy.

  3. Ha potato bin, I like that.

    Even with the heavy work still to be done with editing/revising, I still feel a sense of relief. I don’t do anything in particular – drink a beer maybe? Then I do something like what you have here, print, read aloud, make notes, etc and let it sit some more. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  4. I don’t know, but I have an editor who’s probably wondering that very thing.

  5. Muse on it a bit, mull it over, revise, rewrite, edit away with the realization no matter how much I edit it down to the bare bones, an editor will find even more to eliminate. Go for long walks and have an idea appear out of thin air that will transform the story into a masterpiece. Keep in mind I’m probably stoned at this point and feeling as happy as releasing a fart after a falafel dinner, heavy on the chick peas; lighter on my feet, you know. And then I read it aloud, although after a page or two I grow sick of my own voice and retreat once more to the confines of my brain where even my shaky singing voice hits all the right notes. Reading aloud, or at least consciously of how the words sound is a great help for maintaining the rhythm. Again, I think of editors and try to excise extraneous words. I wake up in the night with rewritten sentences. On walks I carry pen and paper. I reread the story until I no longer think it’s any good. I get sad. Woods walks are dark and woodpeckers ratatattat, searching for and pecking at the doubting worms in my soul. Then I read it again and it’s alright, so I work on it some more until I realize, this is it now or never, send it in. And then I wait…..

  6. Smile and just be happy to have completed something in writing.

  7. “What do you do when you finish something?”

    Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton.

    When are the works ever finished? For me, not until they’re published. In the meantime, between submissions, there is revision.

    The labor never ends. Trusted readers are a boon. Time can be your friend, as long as you don’t die before you get the work in good enough shape.

    Read read read read read read read read read. The more, the better, and the better, the best. Pay attention. Analyze. See how the writer is turning the tricks. Steal what you can. That nifty trick in that book you read the other night? Hey, that will fix this thing in this piece I just finished. This thing that I didn’t even really see, except, come to think of it, there was this little whisper, or not even that, this little pre-whisper catch, when I read that line. It didn’t really work, and I was just fooling myself that it was good enough.

    Find what needs to be cut, and cut it (first, find how to find what needs to be cut).

    Don’t work the thing to death. This has happened to me a few times, where I revised a piece to the point where I’d knocked the life out of it. Oops.

    Endings are the hardest part for me, both in my fiction and in my life.

  8. I love you Betsy

  9. Take a nap.
    We both need to rest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: