• 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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Sealed With a Kiss

It had to happen. Five a.m. roll call. Do you know where your keyboard is? People always ask me how I get it done, full time job and writing. I hear in their voice some astonishment and revulsion. I don’t blame them. I also hate people who are productive and smug. I once had breakfast with the then CEO of Random House and he told me he got up at four, read the WSJ, NYT, and Financial Times WHILE ON THE TREADMILL. His cuff links were gold skulls. How I do it is I get up at five. And I don’t look at email until 10:00. When I finally look at my email, I refer to is as breaking the seal when the voices and needs of my clients come rushing in and I put on my apron and fill the pockets with seed.

12 Responses

  1. I am also up at five. My seal breaks when the couch becomes too hard and the news too depressing. My seal is broken by hot water, the fuel for my brain. Hopefully it does not drown me.

  2. Early morning quiet, seeing the false dawn wash out the stars if the sky allows, yeah, that’s when and how I like to get started. A normal day involves that, but our old dog is fading fast, so I’m staying in, keeping him comfortable, watching the storm far to the south.

  3. Up at five has been my habit for a while now – and the way I finished the third book. I love it at that time. No cars going by, birds barely stirring, a hint of the new day at the edge of the horizon.

  4. Up at 430 is a way of life. Love early risers!

  5. Well said. Love the last line, the apron and the seed.

  6. I get up between 3:00 and 3:30 a.m. every day. My body just wakens. If it’s a writing day, I get to my laptop and start fooling around, just as warm up. I surf a few pages (limited) and maybe write a blog post to get the brain underway. And then it’s writing for a good hour or two. Some days are productive that way; others are not so great. Then maybe a run. Then maybe bagels. The the mundane part of the day begins.

  7. Freedom. Peace like a river. 5am. I remember the nights when our baby’s cries woke us up periodically during the night. My wife would feed her and still my daughter would want to be awake, pissed that we didn’t agree. So I’d take her downstairs at 4 or 5 am and wear a circle into the dining room hardwood floor; Maple, bright and cheery in the false interior light, while outside the night was at its darkest hour. It was in the dead of winter, moon shadows stretching out on the sparkling blanket of snow. Quiet and cold, me in my robe and her all bundled in blankets and fleece. I’d sing (“You Can Close Your Eyes, It’s Alright….””) and talk to her softly and she’d fight off sleep. 20 minutes would usually ease her into a deep sleep so I could softly lower her into the crib and return to my own dreams. I’d nap with her during the day or stay awake while she slept on my lap and I’d tap out words with one hand, cradling her head with my lazy arm. I slept lighter then, the seal of slumber easily cracked, but she needed that reassurance and love and it seems like I got more done back then, sleep deprived and all.

  8. The image of the gold skull cuff links juxtaposed with your apron and the pockets filled with seeds – stunning. My God you are a poet. Please keep doing whatever you are doing.

  9. Routines and boundaries. That’s how to do it.

    And existential panic, too. There’s a lot to be said for the motivating power of the dread of annihilation.

  10. wow, that’s dedication, but we need to sleep to function and a lack of sleep has been linked to the plaques around which dementia grows. That’s a different story.

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