• 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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Try To Set the World on Fire


I went to a talk a few years ago by a Yale screenwriter/alumnus. He was handsome in that LA/Ivy league way. Was he wearing plaid pants? Maybe, maybe not. Did he drive a Mustang convertible? Who the hell knows. He rocked a side part and had gorgeous tanned fingers with nails that looked buffed. He was talking about his career and how for years he worked on one script and carried it around with him like a security blanket. Finally, he got an agent and his agent got him a meeting with Spielberg. He meets him and Spielberg goes, “the script tis terrific, but I can’t make it. What else you got?” Nothing, he had absolutely nothing. I call this the “Spielberg moment.” Most of us typers work on one project at a time, but it’s not a bad idea to have some ideas on the back burner. Just in case. I keep a list of ideas and cool titles on my phone. I have at least thirty. All waiting for the watering pail.

What’s on your back burner?

11 Responses

  1. Glad you asked: 3 complete manuscripts, 2 more in-progress, a play, an opera and an idea for a graphic novel. Then there are the sewing projects (a quilt jacket, a costume and a linen shirt), the Spring honey harvest and the two wooden gates I hope to start building in a few weeks. Spielberg is more than welcome to stop by.

  2. Thanks for yet another great post, Betsy. I love your writing, its all I wanted to say.

  3. Karen’s reply made me laugh.

    I’m wondering why Spielberg couldn’t “make it.” Great, but not his style?

    Me – two finished manuscripts, because you should never be without “something else.” That’s exactly how it worked out for me, and luckily, I had something else.

  4. “What’s on your back burner?”

    My “Books & Stories — Lengths & Statuses” table contains 417 entries, divided into the following categories (arranged by order of priority):

    current working
    high priority
    medium priority
    low priority

    Yes, I have lost my mind.

  5. Back burner?
    Boiling water for pasta. No really, it’s true.
    Spaghetti Every Day.
    It’s been in the back of the fridge so long it’s become a science project.
    Plus two novels, a memoir and my WIP.
    I think it’s time to clean the fridge.

  6. Poor Yalie. Now, if he were a denizen of Hell’s Kitchen in the early ’60s, he would have had a bunch of ideas and manuscripts to lay on Little Stevie, but probably no agent to make the intros; nothing comes easy.
    On my back burner I have stories and ideas. No screenplays or novels. I doubt Mr. ET would be interested in anything I have to offer.

  7. I’ve got a shit ton stashed away from the past. Stuff languishing in the closet. A few crocuses of ideas, though. Spring’s coming.

  8. I got nuthin.

  9. For years, I easily had dozens of stuff on the back burner. After my book was published in 2017, I suddenly felt pressured for some amazing follow-up to that. My mind was suddenly blank. Now, I’ve decided to simply live life fully and seize upon the ideas that consequently come to me. It’s what worked for me in the past, and is far less stressful and likely more rewarding.

  10. A completed historical fiction, a mystery, two screenplays and two works in progress. As long as I write, I am alive.

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