• 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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Is That You Baby or Just a Brilliant Disguise

Image result for pinecone

What I really love about writing is that when I’m writing I cease to exist. I cease to think about calories, bills, clients, frizz, my mother gone. I cease to think about unreturned calls, nursed hurts, the big scoreboard in the sky, the petty resentments, the regrets. Why do I want to disappear? Please. I wrote to escape as a child in a crawl space beneath the stairs. I kept diaries from high school on. One notebook after another creaking with ink, a roll call of heartbreak and slights real and imagined. I know I’m not alone, but I love being alone.

Why are you a writer?


14 Responses

  1. Betsy- I have read your goddam blog for years and I would like like to remind you that I love you.
    Keep that in mind you shit head
    love you mother fucker
    Your Obnoxious French Alter egogo girl

  2. Love you, too, baby girl.

  3. i write to reconnect with myself, ive been writing in a journal since middle school. (Zi still have those diaries.). In college a lot of my words were prayers begging god to help me get through. even more, though, my journals served as a witness to my own pain. i wrote to survive and i wrote to see myself. I felt so invisible and unlovable but writing was a way of creating a self as well as recording the process of that creation, though i had no idea that’s what i was doing. now i have 8 banker’s boxes of journals. they are reference materials for the memoir i’m writing about how i rebelled out of the chaos of my fucked up catholic family into the rigidity and structure of evangelical christianity. Jesus and his followers helped me reject catholicism and my family in the most good-girl, loving, altruistic way i could find. Five years later though, when i was 20, i was deeply depressed and more lost than the found jesus promised. thankfully i found my way into the care of a capable therapist who helped piece me back together and integrate all my parts. my journals are testament to this.

  4. I wrote because the process and I invented new places and people, and visited those more familiar. Challenging and rewarding like nothing else.

    Tomorrow is eight months since Hurricane Michael upended lives and sucked the words from me, not suddenly, but since. We are rebuilding more than streets and schools, roofs and walls; there is interior damage , deep and wide.

    For the first time in years, I have not produced a column. The last one was like bleeding through my pores. I may have bled out as a writer, my stories another casualty.

    • Frank, there is a New Normal after living through a hurricane that can only be embraced. H. Katrina was the big news almost 14 years ago, yet those living in NOLA and the Gulf Coast STILL feel its grip. At least once a week, I open drawers and closets looking for items that, I soon realize, were lost to the flood. I struggle with having to attend funerals because I went to too many in late 2005 and early 2006. My son has trauma-related memory loss that has robbed him of remembering anything prior to that event – heartbreaking to watch him page through the photo albums I was able to salvage, shaking his head with puzzlement at the photos of his childhood. Still, we have tried to focus on the unexpected, positive, outcomes because that’s what eventually heals those inner hurts.

      Meanwhile, a language “code” has developed among those of us who lived in New Orleans at the time of that storm/flood. It has become a sort of validation, our secret handshake and litmus test when we first meet a stranger. It lets us know if the person is One Of Us or merely one of that new bunch; if the dark humor of refrigerator tales will result in laughter or stares. And more importantly, if they can be trusted with our stories (newcomers can be quite snarky when we don’t care about their renovation woes or what they paid for a shrub). A quirky “club” to be sure, but I’m OK with that.

      Keeping a good thought for you and your fellow survivors during this transition, and hope that your creative spirit will heal, too.

    • Take a break, Frank, then get back into writing when your words can smell again like moist, salty air and your thoughts cut gracefully through the waves.

  5. Karen, nothing compares to the words of one who knows, and I am in your debt. Thank you.

  6. “Why are you a writer?’

    To feel that I matter, even if only to myself.

  7. I wrote because I thought I could. After my first published piece, after I received letters from readers who liked what I wrote, I wrote some more.
    Hundreds of essays, articles and columns later, I write because I think I have something to say which tinges or tickles the common mind. The feedback of readers bolsters me.

    I write because I am everywoman in a singular way. Huh? WTF does that mean?
    Maybe I should write about it.

  8. Yes.Yes. Writing is total absorption. It eradicates yourself even if you’re writing about yourself. It is word-search and mind travel. It is sky straining and hole boring. It is building word by word and digging to unearth them, losing yourself all the while, while digitals disappear and time binds to space. Even if you’re your own subject, you become the object.

  9. I write mainly because of a teacher in 6th grade, Mrs. Rothstein. She told me I was a good writer and I should keep at it. Been following her advice ever since.
    Thank you to all the dedicated teachers out there — I hope you know how much of an effect you’ve had on your students, especially lonely and uncertain ones.
    I write because I love writing and it never ceases to amaze me how thoughts I didn’t even know I had come flowing out when pen touches paper.

  10. Because I’m shit at everything else

  11. Because even as a kid I felt like a giant satellite dish absorbing everything in the universe and it needed somewhere to go. Plus, I always felt different. And, I wasn’t very good at making pinecone birds.

  12. When I was 9 years old, I climbed a tree in our back yard to write in my first diary, which I stored in the branches. My brothers found out what I was doing & took it. So I don’t have my very first diary. But I started another at age 10 & have kept one since then. 53 years. Writing it down is the only way I can track how I feel.

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