• 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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And I’ve Been Waiting Such a Long Time

I’m stepping up to the altar and committing to a new project. I thought I wasn’t ready, had trepidation, tried to get people close to me to talk me out of it. They just rolled their eyes. Honestly, how long can you circle the ring, can you watch the electricity snap the wire? How long can you pretend that you’re just tired, burned out, oh the misery, beloved misery. I remember walking up the aisle, my parents by my side, me a step ahead. I was in a hurry to marry my destiny. My husband once said, “you can’t second guess things that haven’t happened.” It sounded good.

How long can you go without writing?

12 Responses

  1. I think the longest I’ve gone was during treatment recovery, but I still wrote in my head.

    I want to take a little hiatus after I submit this next project due in early 2019. It’ll be interesting to see how long I can go without going nuts. I predict – not long.

  2. Withdrawal kicks in just as the screen goes black.

  3. Probably a month or two. It was getting perilously close to a month until yesterday. I wanted to kill all people (in a theoretical nonviolent way), then I got back into the work yesterday and hated myself. But I did it.

    And a few hours later, I sat in my air-conditioned bedroom trying to give my spouse a plot treatment for the particular chapter I’m wrestling with. (Like I know what a plot treatment is—freaking poets!) He was playing Angry Birds and said a few vaguely related things at approximately appropriate moments. Then it happened. I had a three-sentence trajectory that worked. Today, I am going to attempt to implement it.

  4. Congratulations on the commitment, Ms B.

    Like Donna, I constantly write in my head, jot things down, observe the world wryly and dryly. My wall for not writing is five or six weeks, tops. By then, I must do the work to get the buzz.

  5. “How long can you go without writing?”

    Not very. If you want to kill me by driving me to despair and madness, if you want to push me into a corner until I turn on myself and gnaw at my heart until it ceases beating and I am free, then make it impossible for me to write.

  6. Indefinitely. But I couldn’t go a day without reading.

  7. Like FRANK and DONNA I also write in my head all the time. It’s like a musical ear-worm, sometimes stuck on the same tune until another one pops up and drowns out the other.

  8. With my fingers, for long, angry stretches. In my head, can’t. Every interaction with people is another plot in the making. Every idle moment is a working out of some tangled incident. Every time someone pisses me off I begin projecting how the story should go. Hope the new one is better then all the rest and all the rest have been very fine. If you don’t mind my good wishes. They’re actually selfish but life is good that way.

  9. Never consciously. I’m always analyzing, restructuring and re-imagining. The hard part is focusing, reining in all the scenes and images so they make sense and don’t project clueless bewilderment, like a current white house administrator wondering why the chile relleno tastes so strange.

  10. Until yesterday, I’d swear I haven’t written in over a year outside of paid writing for business. Then, I opened my working directory and discovered thousands of words of random paragraphs and long rambles. Hen scratches on a blank screen saved in a hurry. Attempts at wisdom. Secrets. Things I don’t want forgotten. A gift for my children, I think. Someday.

  11. Two years. I couldn’t take the rejection anymore and had another itch to scratch: a decades-long interest in social work. Quit my Ivy League CNF teaching job (adjunct but steady) and went to social work school. There I learned to “write” research papers, seethed at the poor grammar plaguing the human services world, started using cliches. Except for some notes and one (rejected) op ed, it was a joyful respite. And now I have book ideas.

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