• 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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You Always Won Every Time You Placed a Bet

Can you game the system? Write something cynically, just for money, and make a killing? Do you read a bestselling genre novel and think, I could do that, the way some people thinks small children are every bit as gifted as Picasso? I meet a lot of people who believe this to be true, but I’ve never met one that made it work. I know it’s annoying to always hear about passion this and passion that because obviously it takes a shit ton more than passion, but I do believe nothing can succeed without it. And by success I mean cold hard cash, bestseller lists, profiles in the New Yorker, and most important getting so incredibly stoned off your own work, drunk with it, pregnant, mind on fire, the running of the bulls in your brain. That feeling of reaching for the high bar and finding it, if only momentarily, in reach.

What’s your best?


10 Responses

  1. Apparently my best is yet to come 😉
    Just as soon as I can overcome my inclination towards complete self indulgence.

  2. I did read that James Patterson took just this cold blooded approach to writing, however the closest I come to it is deciding, well, young adult novels are popular, so I’ll knock a few years off the protagonist. All my friends in high school were brainy nerds, all my friends in college were brainy nerds, etc, so it’s not a big stretch for me.

  3. “What’s your best?”

    Google me. It’s out there somewhere.

  4. I know a man who has sold a bunch of books, made a ton of money, and works as dispassionately as a troubleshooting mechanic:fuel, air, fire. He knows his sector of the business, and writes to sell. If he is passionate, he hides it well.

    Not me. I write short stuff, mostly light, the odd flash of darkness. My best, though, is cooling lava, from down deep, flowing. It doesn’t just happen, though; it happens when I’m listening for some rumbling, feeling something down under the toes.

  5. Some people are gifted with intelligence and talent. I’m not in that category, so I try hard and whenever I think I’ve done good, whenever I’ve worked as hard as I think I can, I realize it’s not enough. I’m still trying, so hopefully the best is yet to come.
    And as far as reading something and thinking I could do that, no, I don’t feel that, but instead I’m slowly becoming aware of the patience of a good writer and the confidence in their craft, the way an author will let you know you’re in for a journey, so you better buckle up.
    Tell me something.
    Tell me something good.

  6. passion?

    obsession. you’ve got to be to stick with a project for a long time; there’s got to be something that troubles, something that sticks, something you can’t let go. that said, i kinda admire mathematical writers for their dispassionate nature but i don’t think they’re any good in bed, you know?

    i read a beautiful sentence by Jean Rhys the other day: The white ship whistled, once gaily, once calling, once to say good-bye.

    i’ll never write a sentence as beautiful.


  7. My best?
    I could have been, haven’t yet, and hope to be someday.

    My best?
    Has nothing to do with writing. Has to do with fucking. Kids are the best chapters of my life.

    My best?
    800 words about the day my mother died. No one wants to read that, not even me.

    My best?
    Someone has to let me know because I think my stuff is awesome.

    My best?
    Over confidence shades defeat.

  8. Thanks, Betsy.

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