• 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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There’s a Room Where the Light Won’t Find You

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It’s August 31, do you know where your novel is? Did you fuck this summer or did this summer fuck you? Did you work? Did you tunnel down, bite down, dig deep or did you drift, go back to sleep, weed your garden? I use the end of the summer to check in with clients who have gone awol for a time. So I’ll ask you: where are you at?

19 Responses

  1. Eye deep in the weeds.

  2. I worked like a fiend. I tunneled, bit, dug, there was no drifting, although there was sleeping and maybe a bit of weeding. Either way, I finished the third fucker. 126K of something. I’m currently whittling it down to the acceptable 100K, then I’ll hand it over to my agent for a read through before it lands in the hands of my editor.

    I seriously need a vacay.

  3. “It’s August 31, do you know where your novel is? Did you fuck this summer or did this summer fuck you? Did you work? Did you tunnel down, bite down, dig deep or did you drift, go back to sleep, weed your garden? I use the end of the summer to check in with clients who have gone awol for a time. So I’ll ask you: where are you at?”

    I finished a draft and a first read-through.

    God holds me down, he says, ‘Wider,’ he says, ‘Relax,’ he says, ‘You will thank me for this.’

    I always work. I’m no fun. Ask my wife.

    Under the foundations I tunneled. Into the rancid apple I bit hard. Dug deep into the drifts. Slept at my post, dreaming of the very day.

    Woke up in a data silo. An overgrown dank patch needing weeding. Forty thousand files, nested in nests of nests. Duplicates. Duplicates of duplicates. Augean stables, with a different stench.

    I am right here.

  4. Where am I? My standard answer is lost. If I’m being honest, I’m in hiding.

  5. I fought all summer to save the day job but lost in the end. Facing impending lay-off, I’m hopeful this will make space in my life & mind for creative projects.

  6. I was accepted into Andre Aciman’s CUNY Writing Institute as a Fellow for a year. This fall I spend six weeks with Leo Carey, senior editor of The New Yorker, then six weeks with Jonathan Galassi, Publisher / Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. Then in the spring two more six week intensives with editors TBD from an array that includes the senior editors at Esquire, the NYT, GQ, The Paris Review, Knopf, etc. I have been preparing on my own with great intensity.
    Andre waived the degree requirements for me, based on a writing sample and a long phone call.
    This is meaningful to me because I set college aside in my senior year to be the single father to my firstborn, Molly, when she was a year old. I always intended to go back, of course. Everyone always does. So at 61 I finally return to college, as it were.
    Molly is so proud of me. For once the timing is good for us, because she is dying of stage four ACC, 2nd phase, but will be well enough to attend the opening meet and greet in two weeks. It is a full circle, and I have a full heart.

    • G., I am happy and sad and happy for you, and toast the pain of a full heart.

    • Greg, man, you’ve learned to balance very well and I’m looking forward to hear/see where your writing takes you. Molly has every reason to be proud of you and that’s only a small portion compared to how proud you are of her.

    • Bittersweet news indeed. Very happy for your writing career. So sorry to learn of your daughter’s illness. Thanks for being part of our community.

      • I love this blog, and how you do it. It is “neutral zone” an intersection of published writers, strivers, and publishing types perhaps. A safe place to lift the veil on the personal and professional realities of the writing life. I expect nothing from you or anyone here but collegial frank talk, some wit, some connection. Pretty cool. And your quotes of lyrics is sly, in the tease. You embody how a real person can be indelible in few words, when Voice and Style flow from real meaning. I bet most of us feel we sort-of know the real you, because of how you write.

  7. Terrified and alone. Two-thirds through a massive rewrite. Wanted to be all the way through, but it didn’t happen. Better than nothing.

  8. Hunted words, built sentences into paragraphs and stories. Got kind words from readers, patience from my editor at Small Craft Advisor, who lies to me about deadlines, while I lie about when the work will be finished.

    Traveled, heard stories and made notes, spent time with friends and family. Did stupid, made it smart, and ended up with two people closer than before. My advice: wait for smart, even if it shows up late.

    Watched the eclipse from a lawn chair, beer in hand. Checked on friends in Houston and got good news.

    The big deal, though, is the restoration of an old sailboat for two of our grandchildren, who are 8 and 5. I will teach them to row and sail this 8 foot boat, which I have called Beach Mouse, but they will name themselves. In time, I will give them my compass, which has guided me through adventures and miles.

    This is a summer of joy, mostly, and of contentment. Yeah, nothing lasts, and this too will pass, but I am diggin’ it, and am deeply grateful.

    Betsy and friends, may you wonder through your own times like this.

  9. Midstream, midwinter spring, midsummer fall, where does the time go, fucking go, fucking gone. I did love the summer, though, the whorl of sunsets, shoreline walks, visits from kids, worked some, did not do enough, had some fun, worked some more, not enough.

  10. I’m figuring it all out.

    Bad guys don’t wave guns or deliver monologues …. they shoot people with a suddenness unknown in normal life. A soul has only the value a devil will pay. A character who doesn’t know how to solve a problem but shows a willingness to try anyway draws the reader’s eye. Regular people don’t put everything on 29 black or 36 red. Characters do. And they lose. Uneasy and uncertain alliances are the best kind. You never know who might put on a red dress and answer to Charlene.

    Tom Waits sings a song somewhere down inside the heart of every character I’ve ever cared about.

    Pretty much covers the summer.

  11. Summer fucked me. Not only did the weather suck, cutting into my fun activities, but too much other crap has been going on to focus much on writing. Mostly it’s family related — older relatives slowly fading, a sibling in financial possession of not much more than debt and situations — divorces (not me!) and estate management — that require an attorney. A little out of control. .And I’ve taken on too many side jobs to make extra money. And I’m growing older, too.
    But shit, I’ve got a backpack full of ideas, one story nearly done and hope that the fall will be better.
    That and a ten spot will get me a six pack at the corner store. Another fifty will buy a little bag of weed from the guy who set up shop in an old van out by the sled dog training facility.
    The days are getting shorter; bring on the night!

  12. This summer, I FTF, had it edited, am querying, and have begun what I thought I would never do again…fiction.
    I am a fledging, treat me gently.

  13. I’ve had my first two book signings for my new book. Both went fabulously! Until the big question: What are you writing next. Fuuuck.

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