• 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 You is Or Is You Ain’t You Ain’t My Baby

 

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I’m on the fence. Sometimes I think that all the criticism and discouragement I got from my  parents made me ever more determined to write. The first time my father read a poem of mine in a literary magazine, he threw it on the floor. Threw is strong. He flicked it. When I told him I had gotten into an MFA program, he begged me to get an MBA. When my mother read my memoir, she said it was a pack of lies! Alright then. Other times I think that love and encouragement are all that matters. Love and encouragement. Would I even trust it? Would it not gross me out?

What defines your writing life?

10 Responses

  1. “What defines your writing life?”

    My boneheaded stubbornness. Because I was a late bloomer, I didn’t have to deal with a parent’s dismissive behavior or anger. By the time I decided I wanted to try, I was supporting myself, and had been for a long time.

    But that thing about encouragement/support, and “would it not gross me out?” I get it. To me, that would be like looking for it, seeking it, getting told you’re wasting your time, etc. Then you accomplish the goal. Without support. Without encouragement. Well, harumph to all the naysayers. “What, did you say something? Thank you very much, but it’s really not necessary.”

  2. For many years it was that everything sucked but my writing. Now it’s just habit mixed with some of Donna’s boneheaded stubbornness and my own lack of interest in other things.

  3. “What defines your writing life?”

    Not having any better sense. Having a metastasized infantile sense of entitlement. Being corroded by a yearning to be loved. Thinking it was easy, discovering it was nigh impossibly hard, not knowing if “nigh impossibly hard” makes the sense I want it to make or think it makes, and deciding not to care right now, this is a comment to a blog post. Pouring soapsuds down a rat-hole. Staring into the sun. Going not quietly into any night at all, good, bad, or ugly. Betting my life on it. Giving my life to it, though it does not want my life, or any particular life. Not knowing when to quit. Oops, too late now.

  4. Blind, dogged persistence.

  5. “What defines your writing life?”

    Tell me I must and I won’t. Tell me I can’t and I’ll get ‘er done asap.

    My father read my college application essay and said, “Now that’s what I call ‘literary diarrhea.'” I became an English major. “Fuck you” was my mantra. But then writing became a thing I could actually do. It helps that I love it.

    Pushback. It’s the only workout I’ve ever stuck with.

  6. Defining my writing life is defining who I am.
    My mom and dad were writers. They were voracious word mongers and yet unpublished. They rode that dream for their entire adult lives. Their unconditional support for my writing bolstered my efforts. Because of them the unattainable became attainable the impossible possible.
    It’s hard for me to imagine the parent who steps on what a child seeks for their own future. It’s like saying what you want out of life does not matter, hence YOU do not matter.

  7. Persistence. (with a big ol heap of procrastination on the side.)

  8. I’m beginning to suspect the word “not” is the public’s (i.e. agents, magazine editors, contest judges, et.al) definition of my writing life. Not selected, not exactly the voice we want, not a good fit, not, not, not. Still, I persevere, while impaling snippets of all those rejections letters on tie tacks for my ever-growing collection of unique jewelry. At this rate, I may have to sew a sash to display all the reasons my work is not seen as good enough. In my wildest dreams, I’ll wear that sash when I accept a Pulitzer.

  9. I think it was Elizabeth Swados who said, You can never heal your central wound. But I keep picking at it. This is writing.

  10. I discard rejections because I do not hang on to negativity. Proverbial optimist I keep plugging along. persistence pays, eventually.

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