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    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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Can’t Live if Living is Without You


Do you think writers, by nature, are loners? And by loner I mean someone who generally feels alone, even at a party, especially at a party.  A person who can’t stand more than a few hours of togetherness, who prefers and relishes time alone. It’s taken me a long to time to understand that while I have the loner in me, I also like to be of the world. I’ve always felt these two parts of myself were in conflict, but I’m beginning to realize that they feed each other. I’m really happy to say that this week I’m burrowing in my mole hole.  I hope to see no one and no daylight. I plan to wear the same thing, eat the same food, do my back exercises and finish the fucker.

What are you getting done by the end of the summer?

7 Responses

  1. “Do you think writers, by nature, are loners?”

    I think it’s as you say, we are loners who crave a level of company we can control. Control is likely the heart of the issue — we are people compelled to attempt to have control over our worlds. So we write, and through that we can control what we regard as worthy of attention, and we can control the conversation — one-sided as it will be — and know there is always someone somewhere who is listening, even if the only listener is we ourselves, individually, each of us, in the quiet solitude of our writing space, where we talk to no one and everyone and the only one, all at once.

    “What are you getting done by the end of the summer?”

    I hope to finish reading “Hatshepsut at the MOMA.” A long but not too long work, copiously illustrated. I’m also reading “Berlin Alexanderplatz” and am likely to have that and maybe a couple of Deleuze’s and Guttari’s books on Capitalism and Schizophrenia read, too.

    As for writing, I’m working on yet another book that I honestly don’t believe will ever be picked up by a publisher. But I write such books anyway. This one won’t be finished by the end of the summer. It’s just a slog. A slog through the bog in the fog. I can’t help it and I won’t — I write these things, these books that mean the world to me, that are the world to me, and I have tried to get them published, but I’m not blind and I’m not an idiot. I’m just a writer, writing on.

  2. I’m not sure about others, or that I qualify as a writer in any serious sense. Solitude feeds me, though, like nothing else. There are loves and lovelies about, and deep friends, and they serve up another manna.

    A sweet thing happens on the boat with friends when the conversation fades and then and there wash over. Sky, wind, water, boat sounds. Visual, tactile, auditory, no words.

    Two stories will be finished in ten days or so, and three boats are waiting for me. The stories and boats are small and doable.

  3. If not this summer when?
    The breadcrumb, an agent who loved the pitch and said she’d read it when it’s done. That was almost two years ago. ( Hey, I had a full time job AND a column deadline).I’m naively counting on that the tiny piece of rye as if it were a writing life raft.

  4. Loner, yes. There are times I like being around people, but it’s usually if there’s activity involved — golfing, playing music. Reality intrudes. These days it’s family visits (when you live in the mountains, summer is the time you receive visitors) and an old dog with hip displacement issues and a sudden onset of geriatric vestibular disease. She needs a lot of attention and care. Mostly it’s solitude I crave and often feel I’m selfish to feel disappointed when responsibility calls or someone invades my space.

    I’m glad you have the time alone to be free to create. Enjoy is not the right word, maybe revel?

    Today’s goal is to finish a rough draft of a commentary piece for the local paper about the power company’s spraying of pesticides along miles of power lines, killing the milkweed plants that once grew in abundance and nourished monarch and swallowtail butterflies as well as bees. I’ve done the research on the chemicals used when I finally received information from the power company after weeks of exchanged emails, phone calls and dogged persistence. The chemical glyphosate is one of the active ingredients in one product used under the brand name Polaris. It’s a carcinogen recently in the news after a California man was awarded hundred’s of millions of dollars from the long term effects of the chemical. The article is about understanding the utility company’s need to keep the power lines free of large vegetation that could hamper their accessibility to downed lines, but suggesting abandoning the use of pesticides and using large mowers to keep the paths clear after the life cycle of the monarch is completed. Late fall would be ideal — the milkweed pods would be ripe and ready to spread their seeds to repopulate the area -and you can’t tell me three foot tall weeds would threaten a line 40 feet off the ground or hamper any large vehicle from gaining entry to the lines. Story, photos and research — now to just finish it.

    Another goal for the summer Is the last piece of puzzle in a short story about the postal service and finding the right home for a “creative nonfiction” (I think that’s what label it falls under) work.

  5. 1. another 10 000 word push
    2. several books i’m reading like ISADORA by Amelia Gray
    3. a solid yet embarrassing sample for a grant application
    4. maybe finish a 3 000 word short story? probably not.

    i’m fairly sociable for a writer, mostly because i run the line between introvert/extrovert. but i need to be alone to get the work done, so there’s that.

    i find a full life gives me energy for writing.


  6. I recently finished reading,” The Stranger in the Woods” by Michael Finkel. It’s the true life story of a hermit who spent 27 years in seclusion. I’m not quite that bad, but close.

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