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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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I’ve Got To Get You Into My Life

When I was fifteen, I went to an “alternative” camp. There I met an older camper named Fred. He had long hair, a wash of freckles,  and a lot of swag. I’m quite sure he didn’t know I was alive (was I alive?), but I worshipped him from afar. One day, somehow, we got to talking outside the theater barn. It was there he told  me that he believed authentic feeling was all that mattered.  I disagreed. I believed that execution was all. We all have feelings, what separates artists and writers is their ability to execute a work of art.  He chided me for this. He was all for undiluted feeling. Did I still want to fuck him? Yes, of course. But it was a demarcation for me of people who believed in feeling over form.

Feeling or form? Where do you live?

12 Responses

  1. I can’t stop the feeling.
    I live in a home in the woods, In the shadow of Heartfelt Mountain and within whispering distance from the stream of consciousness. It takes a lot to get the words to flow, so there can’t be one without the other, but without feelings there would be no spice for the sauce.

  2. Feeling or form? Where do you live?

    This is a GREAT question. Am I allowed a diluted answer?

    I’ve often thought I’ve not had enough tragedy/life drama/been screwed over so as to to be the sort of writer who can create from a place of such intense emotional depth, the pages themselves weep.

    Fake it till you . . . ?

    Therefore, once again, I ride the fence. I think I’m in the camp (ha) where it’s a mix of both, but likely more form on my part, plus the use of common sense and the ability to interpret an appropriate reaction – even if I, myself, wouldn’t feel/react the same way as my characters.

    Gosh, this answer seems convoluted.

  3. Everyone has feelings. An artist gives the feelings form and gives the formed feelings back to everyone.

    • That was me. I cleared the cache and history on my browser and my computer forgot who I am. I forgot that my computer would forget.

      For the want of a nail …

  4. As artists and writers it is our feelings which become the form. If you never had a broken heart how could you write about the depth of it’s pain?
    Whoa back up the truck.
    There’s tons of ‘things’ and ‘situations’ I’ve never experienced which I have written about because of cold-hard-research. But the other stuff, the inside your head and heart stuff, the emotional impact stuff, the years worth of tiny tears that on the day they fill a bucket has you soaking a piece of paper with the best writing of your life, that is feeling finding form.

  5. If you take away my emotion, you might as well lobotomize me. That which makes us human – i.e. feelings — propels our thoughts, decisions, actions, and the consequences of all the stuff of our lives. And makes us unique, if not uniquely nuts. But, further, intellect and creativity are the pedestals which foster art. Humans were meant to execute. Even in the process of creating a work of art, there is joy and suffering, often simultaneous. The one informs the other.

  6. Feeling without form is boring.

    (Which is why I often bore myself.)

  7. I generally live in that gray area in between. And this weekend, it’s totally feeling and form. The form has amazingly been on point, which has led to the feeling part being, well, pretty fucking good.

    Almost two years since “Finding My Badass Self” greeted the world, my little book hit #1 and #2 in several categories in Amazon sales this weekend, including Humor, Humor Essays, Personal Health, Aging, and—making me laugh out loud—Health, Fitness, and Dieting.

    For some time, it also ranked #4 among Memoirs. (I’m sure Michelle Obama couldn’t sleep that night.) 😉 And for about 24 hours, it was the #101 bestseller in ALL books.

    Dreams do come true, my island of Misfit Toys friends. Never stop chasing your own.

  8. That’s a pretty sophisticated conversation for a fifteen year old. I won’t say what I would have been wondering about. Feeling feeds and powers the form, but feeling without form goes nowhere.

  9. Form allows the feelings to be displayed. Our best wares won’t look good through a dirty shop window. Right?

  10. Feeling without form is completely useless art-wise. Just like a high IQ without the ability to apply it to anything. And if you can turn feeling into form as easily as you can fall off the log, that’s talent.

  11. Happily, I live in the town where feelings are encouraged to take all sorts of forms: costumes, cocktails, music and every interpretation of the Arts. The joie de vivre of New Orleans has become my heartbeat and lexicon for both creative expression and life perspective.

    At the moment, though, I’m interested in learning more about this “alternative camp”. Sounds A LOT more fascinating than the week I spent at the Girl Scout camp in the Allegheny Mountains. My most vivid memory from that experience was trying to figure out a way to escape and walk the 70+ miles back home. Not an easy task when one is only 8 years old. Naturally, I failed each time.

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