• 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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Some are Dead and Some are Living

How well do you know yourself, and how well do you have to know yourself to be a good writer? Is ignorance new potatoes? Was that champagne nail polish a big mistake? Did you almost run someone over, again? We see you checking yourself out in the subway window, in the brass plate in the elevator, flossing in the car. You disgust me! Yes, I want fast cash. Yes I want the reduced turkey bacon fat. Yes, I want to be sitting in this chair and not the empty one. I used to think you had to know every cell, had be to a student of psychology, anthropology, history, zoology. You had to renounce your parents at least on some level. I’m trying to fix up my 60-something UPS man with a petite redhead. It bears repeating: I have no idea who I am only what I stand for.

How well do you know yourself and how well do you have to know yourself to be a good writer.

13 Responses

  1. I thought I knew myself well, but I’ve been proven wrong on occasions too numerous to remember. I’m sure this duplicity has had some effect on my writing because of the seeds of doubt and uncertainty it has sown. Initially, writing doesn’t provide a chance to figure things out as much as to get things out, with the opportunity to peer into the rear view mirror after crossing the horizon.

  2. No idea if I’m a good writer or not. Reviews say the stories are good, but the question, for me, is always there. Is this worth a shit or not? I guess it will always be that way.

  3. I know myself. And I know myself to be a lover of words. I can string sentences together skillfully enough. Goodness/greatness is altogether another cache of issues that may or may not emerge: serendipity, persistence, grace, DNA, hard work, and the glimmer of gift.

  4. Oy

  5. Oy

  6. Oy!

  7. I know my working habits pretty fucking well (hello freelance editing career). I might still believe my own hype though, which has its disadvantages when writing a memoir. But I know so much more than I did when I started.

  8. “How well do you know yourself and how well do you have to know yourself to be a good writer.”

    I don’t know, and I don’t know.

    Written on the temple at Delphi were the inscriptions Know Thyself, and To Thine Own Self Be True. They were written in Greek but we can translate. They are probably good advice even for those of us who are not writers and who are not good.

    A woman who broke my heart a long time ago then went away for a long time told me yesterday to define good. I told her I would not.

  9. I know now, at this moment, I can’t read a question straight.

  10. My guess is that a novelist does not have to know herself well at all. Even a memoir writer does not need to know herself in the sense of accuracy, so long as her experiences and even misperceptions are interesting and well written. Most of us do not know ourselves, I believe. Think of all the people you know whose self-perceptions are way off, and if no one comes to mind, think of Donald Trump. Is a 30-year-old’s novel suddenly flawed just because she has a revelation about herself at 60, was wrong all along, now gets it? Knowing what you stand for, Betsy, yes, now that matters.

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