• 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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I’ve Looked Around Enough to Know


dessert-tableThe only way I get any fucking writing done is if I get up at five. I’ve always envied “full-time” writers, though most writers have to supplement their writing with work. It’s like the 1%. I also know that I’d probably wind up face down in a swimming pool if I tried. I’m incredibly disciplined, but my stability has always depended on having the responsibility of work. I don’t think that’s going to change in my lifetime. Nose still pressed to the bakery glass.

When do you get any fucking writing done?

16 Responses

  1. Never :30🙄

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Does fucking around on Facebook count as writing? How about making endless to-do lists?

    For me, the most effective writing routine is devoting a few very long nights a week to it. I have a fairly demanding full-time day job, and I am anything but a morning person. Whatever I write at midnight is going to be far more coherent than any words I might attempt to muster in the early morning.

    And now I want chocolate cake.

  3. Not this summer, that’s for sure!

  4. “When do you get any fucking writing done?”

    Whenever I can and whenever I must, and sometimes the twain do meet.

    Here’s something that still bothers me. It bothers me to think about and it bothers me to talk about. I’ve hardly written about it. It’s still a weight in my heart. Thirty years ago I was married to a young accountant who supported me for five years while I wrote. I was not a very good writer and I didn’t write enough and I didn’t read enough, but I sure drank enough. My lifetime’s quota.

    If there’s anything I truly regret in my writer’s life where I’ve lived with the belief that everything is material, it’s the time I wasted in those five years, and the burden I was on my wife (she’s not my current wife). The story didn’t have a happy ending, but at least I didn’t end up living in a cardboard box under a bridge, which is what the young accountant believed would happen to me if I left her. Though the marriage didn’t survive the damage I’d done, I sobered up before it was over and wrote a book that got me invited to NYC to study with a real good teacher and learn me a thang or two bout how to stitch words together in a pleasing pattern on the page.

    • And those words flow very nicely, indeed, Tetman.
      (Except for the bumpkin part — thang, bout — that doesn’t fit you at all.)
      And it sounds like you’ve had/have some good partners to help steady the course, whichever way the winds may blow.

  5. When I was young, with 2 kids under the age of 3, I would lay the fire in one of the four fireplaces, ready to light a match. I hung a frozen bagel over the pointy part of the fireplace screen. I measured out the coffee, and filled its carafe. I placed my mug next to it. Then I set the alarm for five o’clock. I would awaken, stumble downstairs to press the button on the coffee maker, strike the match to the fire, pluck the bagel and cram it into my mouth. And I would write. It’s just who I am. I can not, in this life, do anything else.

  6. Who knew there were so many writers writing at 5:00 a.m.? That’s me. Matter of fact, this morning I kept hitting the button on my watch to look at the time…and was tempted to get up at 4:30.

    This is exactly how I finished my current book. Up at 5:00 to meet the daily goal. All the other words I dropped in during the rest of the day seemed like a bonus.

  7. Mornings before the freelance work.

  8. Time is dishonest and dispassionate. She poses as dependable, but rarely considers life’s distractions. She moves in spurts and stutters or in glacial slowness.No,we can’t measure out our lives in coffee spoons. The only armor against her callousness is, I suppose, discipline in sync with her own ticking. And the best antidote is losing one’s sense of time.

    I write best when I disregard time altogether. But who has that luxury?
    And who among us has not squandered her royal highness? My body no longer allows me to wake up at 5 am with verve and zest. Though I wish I could.

  9. I have a night job that is fairly mindless and repetitive. With hour long stretches of nothing to do but write on my smart phone. Which is when I see what Betsy has to say for the day and surf the web for house improvement tips. Why can’t I lose weight. Why do my knees hurt. Why can’t I sleep during the day when my cat has no problems? When I do get writing done I download it to my computer in the morning before bed and on my weekend I try to put it all together and call it progress. But I usually end up asking what the fuck is this? It’s not really working right now. Discipline and not squandering time seem like interesting concepts I can surf this week. Gotta find a better scheme. Thanks as always Betsy! It’s good to know I’m not alone though it really feels like I am. Hmm, yet another motivation.

  10. Early morning, late afternoon, late evening. In there is a job and all the other crap that leads to living life. I would write all day and never leave my house if I didn’t’ t have to buy coffee, hazelnut creamer and TP.

  11. I feel your pain. When I have to go to work and all I want to do is write it puts me in a foul mood. I scowl at everyone! I’ve come to accept there’s just some days I can’t fit any writing in, though I still try and squeeze a sentence in somewhere. Do what you can. Every word is progress!

  12. Itz fyn when I write and at d same time eating junk food

  13. A little is better than nothing is the motto I’m living by right now, but that can change with the wind just like my old motto of writing four pages a day. Who can say? Writing is fickle beast.

  14. With a demanding three year old, and a husband almost as demanding as my child — rarely! The few hours a day my daughter is at kindergarten barely give me enough time to skim through the last thing I was working on, and get myself back into my imaginary world and characters. Then, by the time I’ve gotten a few paragraphs written, it’s time to go pick her up! And let’s not forget how time consuming research is! An absolute necessary for what I am writing, my progress gets derailed often when I find myself wading in unfamiliar waters and need to learn more about what I’m dreaming up. Then I find myself on a wild goose chase trying to find something that I had thought would be a straight forward Google search. And mythology is truly a world unto it’s own.
    What have I gotten myself into?

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