• 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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Just Like Me They Long To Be Close to You

So great to hear from long-timers and some new folks. Welcome to the asylum. So this writing business. I’ve had a pretty manic spell, at least for someone who has been medicated since 1997. I’m just a surfer now, no high octane highs, no debilitating lows. And every day I’m grateful for my salmon colored tablets that introduce my brain to salt. Good to see you! But I still get these…bursts possibly related to abject fear for the planet. So like 80,000 words or thereabouts and sold some books and like that. Am I jacked up on Coke Zero? Am I high on life, on terror, on hope?

Please stay on your meds or get them tweaked. How’s the mental health? What fuels you right now?

p.s. does anyone know how to drop in pictures. I seem to have lost the knack.

7 Responses

  1. Re: images, place your cursor where you want to insert the image and click the black, “Add Block” plus sign in the upper left corner of the WP editor screen. That will bring up a menu of options below. Scroll down to Media and click “Image.” You can upload and edit, though not as easily as the old WP editor. Not usually a Luddite, but not a fan of this new version. Grump.

  2. fills my heart with joy to hear from you. onward.

  3. Thank you for your honesty. Our mental health is so important and we have to take care of ourselves. I have OCD which is pretty consuming and recently got sober — used to self medicate. Read or wrote 80k and that is a lot! Good for you about the sales. One day at a time.

  4. There’s a lot to get jacked up about right now and uncertainty is the dominating arm of anxiety. I feel like the best I can do is still not enough when the country is being held hostage by an inept government unwilling to even acknowledge the pandemic eating at our heart and soul, let alone find a solution because they’re too busy lusting over taking away a woman’s right to choose and at the same time plotting to eliminate any semblance of an affordable health care plan. Doesn’t it seem like so long ago when we had an intelligent and thoughtful president? Although even then the Senate was made up of too many soul stealing thugs. Any child learning about today’s American form of democracy would be introduced to a strong dose of hypocrisy.

    Aside from that, I’m dealing with a job transfer I do not want but have to take if I want to keep food on the table. Question: How is it that I can check “No, I Do Not Wish to Preference” and still be forced to take the position I do not want? Answer: it’s the federal government.

    The writing is good. Turmoil plays well on paper as long as I can slip away from myself. I figure things are going well when I’m so focused on what I’m working on that I don’t even hear the dinner bell.

    And did I mention my daughter is a teen ager now? 14 going on 17. Her attitude sucks at times, but the times we get to talk, walking the dog together, driving around or at the dinner table, and she expresses her views and guarded fears, I’m reminded of what it’s all about and why it’s important to at least try to make the world a better place.

  5. The mental health? The fuel? How are they?

    This about the fuel: I am glad I left my chemical addictions behind me and have not returned to them, though I still occasionally dream of Mary Jane. I miss her. I never dream of Ethyl.

    Other fuel? Art and literature and political commitment and such like? Well… hey! Susan and I went to the Monet show at the Art Institute last month. First time we’d been out since early March. It was a good thing to go out like that.

    Largely, or mostly, or muchly … hell, I will try to be honest. It feels self-indulgent. I am and have always been one of humanity’s more fortunate few. But mostly, these days, I am distracted, simmering with anger and fear, sore at heart, emptied of hope — these parts of me have always been there, but look at where we are — it’s no surprise these aspects are more apparent. I am lonely in a way that is unfamiliar to me. I feel trapped, confined in some unfamiliar way from which there seems no escape. I think I need a vacation, but where can I go, and how can I get there? And what would I do upon arrival?

    It’s like all I am — sometimes it’s like all I am — is a big knot, all tied up. A Gordian Knot? Am I the Alexander to cut it?

  6. I used to read your blog when I first started writing I want to say twenty years ago but I know that’s wrong. Now I’m a “real” writer because I publish prolifically and get paid to do so but I still haven’t published the book you helped me to believe in. I have an agent and she’s asked me to contort it into an essay collection and I am willing to do what she’s asking me to do “I just need it to be more meaningful than the stuff I write for Business Insider, ya know?” So much has happened since I met you at a Girls Write Now event. I was hot then, I mean on fire, I was on the cover of tabloids which I misconstrued as a good thing, not knowing the difference between positive and negative attention. People were paying attention to me! And I believed so strongly in my work. Then, maybe a year later, I was a finalist for a PEN Award and Elissa Schappel took my hands and told me “you’re whole life is about to change” and it did: I had a baby and the next year I went to the PEN Awards with an infant who wouldn’t stop fussing so I took him home and crawled into bed and cried myself to sleep, my aborted dreams sucking at an empty tit. But actually, I’m grateful. Somehow, inconceivably, I made two amazing children, I have a husband who loves me but he’s still just a man. Ya know? This is not my beautiful life. The things I love destroy the things I want. Drown the seeds and pull up anything that manages to take root. I tried to sublimate my creative energies into homemaking- into gardening and housewifery -but I can’t get the floors clean enough and some days I fear the only solution is divorce. I don’t want to do it out of spite but here I am on a Saturday morning, on my knees in a rented office space. A room of my (fucking) own. You read my manuscript at least four times and once you said “if only it were fiction”and I thought “I can make it fiction!” But you weren’t actually asking for a rewrite and I couldn’t anyway. I couldn’t write about girls scouts instead of sex work or trust the agent that offered me a glass of champagne (I’m sober; if she’d read the manuscript she’d known that). My current agent believes in me and says she is willing to hold my hand but it is too much to ask of her. Can I write a memoir in the skin of an essay collection? Can I get away with that? I am looking for something and I found this: “you have to be a little selfish to be a writer. Scratch that: you are a little selfish to be a writer. Make that a lot selfish.” There is no greater indictment, Ms Lerner, than to call a woman selfish and to be a selfish mother? Why, it is literally a crime. That’s chapter six. Or eight. Or why not all of them? Do I really have to? Can’t I just…not? My mom friends drink wine and bake along with the Great British Bake-off and/or try really really hard for another baby or feel sad because they don’t fuck their husbands and here I am, in this room, doing what? Maybe the book I wanted to write never happened and I don’t want to write this one and so I should just let it go, ya know, give the fuck up. Pandemic, Trump, lack of childcare, freelance projects, unsupportive husband, take your pick. Since you asked, I thought about it, and I’m embarrassed my answer is so earnest but rather than spite or coffee or respect for my protagonist (although also some of that) I believe I am fueled by a Cixious quote, something to the effect of: by writing herself she will return to the body which was more than confiscated from her, which has been turned into an uncanny stranger on display.

    Rather than giving up I will probably die failing. Or maybe somehow miraculously I’ll succeed. I guess that’s also what fuels me. Hope. Anyway, I can’t believe you’re still here and this blog still exists.

  7. As we say in these parts, Finish the fucker.
    You’re a paid writer and you have two babies. Some people (me) might call that living the dream.
    Nice to see you. xo

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