• 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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No More I Love You



I had to stop working on a project for two weeks and now the thing feels cold as a corpse. I’ve lost contact with the whole fucking thing. When I was working on it every day, scenes were coming to me in the shower and on the bus. Okay, I don’t take the bus, but you know what I mean. Yes, I know when I spend the time, it will come alive. Only who wants to touch a corpse?

I used to make pottery and it was the same damn thing. You had to touch the clay every day to make sure it didn’t dry out so you could trim the bottom and make designs. Air goes out of tires, love goes out of friendships, time slips by, books die.

How are you today?


24 Responses

  1. I’ve got to have a root canal.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I’m alive today, thanks Betsy for asking and a million thanks for all your terrific posts. x

  3. Today marks the end of the 3 month “exclusive” on my solicited manuscript. No response from the publisher. Just wrote another query letter, to another firm, and sealed yet another envelope. Added a blank slip of paper to the Rejection Pin I designed – there is a primal catharsis from impaling those reminders of all that rejection and/or indifference so as to create something else. And now, I trudge onward.

  4. I feel you on this. Painful.

  5. My husband died this morning–at five o’clock–of Alzheimer’s. I’m sad.

  6. “Only who wants to touch a corpse?”

    Lester Ballard. (CHILD OF GOD, Cormac McCarthy) That was one hell of a read.

    Today I’m doing all right. Chopping/slashing/cutting/killing, whatever you want to call it, the current WIP from it’s behemoth 126K down to an acceptable 100K. Actually 126K isn’t all that big considering Greg Iles works…but, 90K-100K is the guideline and I’m a rule follower.

  7. “Air goes out of tires, love goes out of friendships, time slips by, books die” but tarragon cream sauce poured over buttered chicken breast with mushrooms in a white wine reduction will never, ever fail. Tarragon, the herb that gives sighs and smiles to life.

  8. I’m okay. Earlier this morning there was a young doe looking out from the near cover of dew coated dark foliage at the edge of a forest, her coat orange red and her ears as big and round as saucers; not missing a sound and aware of all around her. Peace.

  9. Well you nailed that one. My corpse is 6 feet under and I don’t have the strength to shovel it out.

  10. I suck today. I sent out 18 queries to agents, and they all suck…Now I get to wait 4 to 6 weeks to be rejected

  11. I strolled the rocky beach and the sound was flat and the sea was the sky and the sky was the sea where the horizon melted into an endless blue and I could not distinguish the one from the other.

    It is very hard to resurrect a work, to get the juices going, to gather up the energy. But I’m doing it, after a bunch of years… in the midst of it, back in the throes of writing, and, today, I am happy.

  12. “How are you today?”

    Fit as a fiddle and ready to play, though I just read Bonnie’s sad news and that has tempered my mood.

    Susan and I walked up to Evanston (though it’s its own town, it’s essentially the next neighborhood up from where we live) late this morning to catch an early showing of the 70mm “Dunkirk” and have a late lunch/early dinner. The movie was good, and so was the meal. We had lattes and brownies at a coffee shop afterwards.

    We walked along the lake there and back. On the way there, we passed a family walking out of Evanston and into Chicago with their beach chairs and towels. Evanston charges eight bucks a pop to visit the beaches in season, but in Chicago they’re free (or, more precisely, they’re maintained by taxes, by all and for the good of all; we’re such commies in Chicago). On the way back, we saw cormorants. We hadn’t seen them before, except in pictures.

    Now to the matter at hand: The Project.

    Two weeks and it’s dead? Come on, Betsy. You’re made of sterner stuff than that. And yes, I know exactly what you mean, about how when you’re working on a project everything is there in your mind and you’re hitting on all six and you’re thinking of it in the shower and you’re getting in bed and turning out the light and getting back up ten minutes later and going back to the workbench and putting in that thing, maybe just a note to remind you where to start again the next day, or maybe you’re gonna be up for a while, it’s calling to you, you hear it and you respond, yes, my love, I am with you, I am here.

    And then you set it aside for a few days or weeks or months or years and it’s WTF is this, it stinks, it’s gone, it’s over, get it out of here.

    This is what it is — and I think you know this and you just want to see what we’ll say, incite us to think about it because this is an important issue for the artist, this is crucial, how do you keep the fires burning, how do you keep it hot and wet, how do you get it up and slide it in every day and if it’s not every day, how do you keep the coals warm when the fire is banked? — This is what it is:

    If the project has life, if it is true, if it is your object, if you are its servant and it is worthy of your devotions, it will not die. Touch it. Put your hands on it. Be the sky hovering over the waters. You will breathe the life back into it and make it into the muchness it seeks to be.

    And this is the part where we dance:

  13. How am I today, well yesterday?
    Basking in the delight of my third grandchild’ s birth.A little boy.
    The circle continues.

  14. Love this post – some serious validation there for mere mortals like me.

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