• 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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Above Us Only Sky

Most writers question the value of their work on a fairly regular basis. During times of crisis, it can seem even more inconsequential. How do you sit down at your keyboard when an ice skating rink has been converted into a morgue? When so many people are dying alone? I’m quite sure I don’t have answers. I only know that writing is what has always been made me feel sane, less alone and myself.

How are you handling this crisis?

32 Responses

  1. take care of mom
    turn off CNN
    work on comedy act

    Try not to eat too many carbs

  2. Alone.

  3. I forgive more easily, that’s how I handle the crisis, and we live in a rural area of California so I walk daily. Walking helps to override worry.
    Writing is meditative, my stories are snippets from the past, so I must concentrate to recall details tucked deeply in memory, this horrific virus has no room in my thoughts when I’m at the keyboard.
    Thank you Betsy, great therapy sessions.

  4. Being honest to yourself and doing what you know and love ensures that your actions are much more likely to inspire others to rise above their own moments of faltering and disquietude. Self-doubt in times of crisis leads all-too-often to further dilution of Life’s best gifts. Now is such a time: Give your best to yourself and to others without hesitancy or second-guessing. I emphasize: YOUR best … not someone else’s, however awesome they are. This is not a competition.

    Being true to what you love results in the poignancy that makes it all worth it. Could you have prevented those deaths leading to corpses chilling on an icy arena? I think not. But can you help people find within themselves the love and fortitude to weather this storm, likely one of many? I posit that you can. Perhaps in your expressions you inspire sentiments strong enough to encourage present and future persons to recognize and fight for just actions and ways of being that would help such occurrences cease to be a possibility.

    People always die alone. Will your words make the bereaved appreciate the sacrifice of those that put their lives on the line, whether as victim or rescuer? Consider, perhaps, that your words and efforts might instigate response in the embattled and grieving living folk that enables them, individually and as a community to appreciate life in the present, and lived to its fullest.

  5. How are you handling this crisis?

    One day at a time – while trying to imagine what the end of all this will look like.

  6. Poco a poco-little by little, one day at a time, wishing everyone the best, even when-or maybe especially when- they speak or act stupidly.

    I suppose that I am not smart enough to be particularly fearful, though I tend to pay attention to those who know more than I-there are many- and calculate my risk taking. Lola, the brains of this outfit, isn’t a timid soul either.

    We are grateful for our lives, and saddened for others. We cannot make it better, but we do try and keep things from getting worse; for example, we neither hoard nor profiteer, nor offer ill-informed opinions.

    I socially isolated yesterday by sailing What About BOB, the old catboat, up on a beach yesterday and working on her. Kayakers were close, surprised to see us, and we exchanged pleasantries. They were after reds, but I settled for barnacles.

    Betsy, you are a superhero who swoops in just when needed most. Thank you, but I gotta ask: What color is your cape?

  7. You’re helping me handle it, Betsy, so thank you for that.

    I think I’ve realized my limitations as a writer and made my peace with it. We can’t all be brilliant. But reading some of my old favorite books helps me see that they’re not earthshaking, either, yet I still adore them and know the characters as if they’re real and important to my history. Books are so human, you know? So much a product of our yearning to connect and feel less alone on this tiny blue dot in the cosmos. That connection is always going to be imperfect and it’s never going to be enough. It’s the attempt that matters.

  8. “How are you handling this crisis?”

    As best I can. By being present to my family and social circle. By being careful what I say and remaining calm. By paying attention to what political and governmental leaders are saying, quickly winnowing the wheat from the chaff and letting the chaff blow away unheeded. By staying home. By staying as focused as I can on my work. There is always work, financial, creative, and household, to be attended to.

  9. Thank you Betsy. And I mean that.

    I have finally come to terms with the fact that what I write and what I say will not change the world, will not fill a heavy heart and will not sooth a suffering soul. I have given up on the magic of my words. All around us the enemy lurks and it is not invisible.

    I am convinced that after a pause and remediation and perhaps eradication the memories of this horror show will be forever with us.
    We are changed.
    Hopefully this time in history will not restore us to who we were or to who we are but to who we must be.

    Some of us welcomed the cars with NY plates which are filling up the beach houses.
    “You are safe, be calm, rest,” we say.
    Some townies have taken up pitchforks. How disheartening it is to look a long time neighbor-friend in the eye (from 6 feet away) and see the worst of human kind.

    I am paying attention. I am learning, I hope I do not fail.

    • I’m sorry to be writing so many comments, Betsy. I don’t mean to be a jerk, it’s just that I’m feeling nostalgic and here’s Carolynn writing something profound and swearing she’s given up on the magic of her words. We can’t have that.

  10. trying to write a little everyday. my problem is that my material is grievous, difficult to manage even at the best of times. it’s something i’ve had to deal with–

    my coping skills include: sleeping A LOT. i’m kinda narcoleptic,TBH. i trying avoiding news as much as possible. the carbs, they come and go. and i’m considering CBD oil.

    i’ve had the privilege of sitting with folks as they died and, although it’s true we all die alone, it’s good to be there to bear witness to a life lived. it’s kind and it’s important and it’s human.


  11. There are a lot of times when I hate not having my parents alive. This is not one of them.

  12. Coping with this crisis as best as I can, luckily I haven’t had to try and juggle my finances or work hours due to having to self-isolate like some people have had to. People are losing their jobs left right and centre around here and tempers are frayed. I’ve been taking my son to work as he’s a healthcare worker and his job is essential, and I’ve seen a lot of anger and impatience, and stupid behaviour on our roads. Not only that, people are still ignoring social distancing and the plea to stay home and going to the beaches in droves. It’s truly sad how ignorant and pigheaded some people are. Thankfully the situation with hoarding is slowly settling down. Toilet paper has reappeared on the supermarket shelves, but it’s almost twice the price it used to be. As far as my writing is concerned, I’ve taken up an old idea I had for a story about a virus that sweeps the world and am injecting a bit of reality to it, since I now have first hand experience!

  13. I’m researching British police and court structures and knitting and napping and cooking weird stuff my kids won’t eat (like chicken in *sauce*, the *betrayal*).

    And poking at my current MS a bit… but not as much as I thought I would, with all this extra time.

  14. Hi Betsy

    I almost sold my house but didn’t.

    Almost sold my book but didn’t.

    Almost ignored the neighbor who I almost said no to as a therapist but didn’t.

    I told her I’m surprised I’m not doing much writing. Then realized I “appeared” at county commission by having them read what my friends and I had texted among ourselves concerned by some plans for wrongheaded gatherings happening this Sunday.

    I’m glad I got stuck in Florida
    My neighbor therapist walks down the street with her lawn chair. We model the behavior of 20 feet apart and outdoors
    It helps me to understand that when I deal with humans everything is better if it isn’t an enclosed space.

    Every day, as I told my writers group before the coffee shop closed, I play Dylans “The Times They Are A Changin.” Only right before did I realize it wasn’t an anthem. I had found a kind of prayer.

    I can’t do walking but a couple guy friends from the coffee shop step into my yard. A big activity is watching the dog parade on the quiet street.I hear about catsup and rice which suddenly makes my cooking haute cuisine. Hey maybe my next book title is “Twenty Feet Away.”

    Well see.

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