• 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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Am I Hard Enough, Am I Rough Enough, Am I Rich Enough?

I went to the dentist today and there was a new technician. She asked me what I did for a living. You can see my rat brain darting around while she’s going on her archeological dig in my mouth. How to answer? Well, I never say writer. I want to. I wrote a few books. I mean I’m fucking entitled to, but unless you train ten sharpshooters at my head the words do not come out, spill forth, are uttered or muttered or whispered or coughed out. I just can’t say, “I’m a writer.” It would be easier to say I’m a surgeon or a fabric consultant or a social psychologist. And what does she care behind her two masks and Darth Vader visor. I could tell her anything. Finally, I say I’m a literary agent. She cocks her head. Most people haven’t heard of literary agents, so I rush in to say, I work with writers, I sell their books to publishers, I take their first born children and use their blood to make a sign upon the door.

What do you do?

22 Responses

  1. Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple on fri, march 12 pbs nh

    I just feel like the term artist is super pretentious. And so I would never be like, I’m an artist. I just can’t even say it

  2. Finance & Operations

  3. After I lost my day job last summer, I was calling myself unemployed. Since I recently said fuck the corporate communications world, I have started calling myself retired and a full-time author and writer. Damn, does that feel good.

  4. Over the years when I was chief librarian of the tabloids I was introduced 5 or 6 times as a writer to a colleague’s wife. Gazing blankly over my head, she always asked “Published?”
    “Yesss.” I said between clenched teeth. It was a question I disliked more than you dislike “What do you do?”
    Finally, I took to gazing silently over her head, and certainly never enlightening her.

  5. Where do I begin? Small business owner, apiarist, serial volunteer for (presently) 6 local non-profits, renovation expert, sole stockholder in The Bank of Mom, dog & cat steward, a multi-disciplinary creative and a not-yet-published writer. But when asked by a stranger, I usually laugh and suggest the shorter list is what I don’t.

  6. I was a casino card dealer for over 30 years. Decided I need to write my memoir over 10 years ago after I went to a writing class at the library that I did NOT enjoy at all. Couldn’t connect with the teacher. Upon leaving the teacher said there was a cart with writing help books for sale that the library was removing. Everyone rushed to collect these golden gems. Lagging behind I was amazed at what I was seeing. Looked like a blue light special at K-Mart, grabbing and then throwing them back. Finally alone, I browsed at the left-overs. My eyes caught the cover of a lonely book all by itself on the bottom shelf, The Forest for the Trees. Hmmm, exactly how I felt. A lonely tree in the forest of “writers”. I thumbed through it, bought it for $2.00 and carried it home. Went to the next class proudly holding this book. The teacher told me after completing a writer’s prompt, I should give up and just write a diary. I went home broken and defeated and put my book in a drawer where it laid until recently. Before the pandemic I joined two more writing groups because I have this burning desire to write a memoir. So I’m starting slowly going over scraps of paper and pads of paper left behind in the drawer.
    It’s about my mother being murdered by my aunt in 1952, never being prosecuted. Supper club in unincorporated Chicago owned by my father with gambling, prostitution. Sexual abuse by my father, eventually him wanting me to be a prostitute working with the Chicago police department. No one ever believing me. A good cop cousin that was mysteriously murdered for starting to expose the department . A marriage to get away that ended in abuse. Stories of WW11 from my wonderful second husband, Vietnam story from a man that I was engaged to that died a week before our wedding. Moving to Las Vegas in 1980. A secret love that’s lasted for 50 years. A brother dying from drugs, and much more. I may have to find a ghost writer to help me. At times I feel so overwhelmed.
    DJ Smith

  7. I say writer, but every time someone asks, I detect an impromptu, inward cringe. They pause, and then, as if scripted, out comes the arched eyebrow, raised chin, one sided smile. “Oh?” Sometimes it’s more of “Oooooh.”

    Now what. Say more? I’ve caught myself sounding contrite. “Yeah. Haha.”

    When did being a writer/author lose the cool factor? Why is this particular work judged with such disdain by some? I think I know, but to say is in of itself potentially insulting, even with caveats.

    • I think because everyone on the planet now truly believes they’re a writer, photographer or musician. We have computers and the internet to thank for this.

      • That was it – same answer, and self-publishing. That was the answer that was going to have all the caveats, but they’re not necessary, really.

  8. “What do you do?”

    Eat. Drink. Piss. Shit. Breathe. Bitch. Whine. Rage. All the usual.

    Trip the light fantastic. Give the kitty scritches. Pass on the left, turn right after coming to a full stop.

    Oh, you mean, What do I do to make money? I kiss the king’s ass, lick the queen’s taint, prance for prince and princess both. Who among us does not?

    All right, all right, if you insist — I am a litigation paralegal, currently employed by subrogation attorneys. I deal in matters of burned and flooded businesses and homes. Ruined dwellings and goods. Trashed dreams of retail success. Liability implicit and explicit. The occasional D&O suits involving embezzlers and other fraudsters of similar sort. It’s nice work if you can get it.

    No, you can’t have my job. You don’t want it. Really — look over there — quick! It’s a squirrel!

  9. I tell them I tell lies all the time. That’s what we do. But I don’t actually tell them that. That’s a lie too. I tell them the truth, I cut grass and when I’m writing I’m a writer.

  10. What do I do? I try to please.

    But enough about me. I want to tell you about this writer. I’m listening to her book titled The Bridge Ladies. The fact that it’s read by one of my favorite narrators is merely a bonus. I’m a quarter of they way in and I’ve laughed out loud at least three times and recognized parts of my mother/daughter relationships more than once.

    The writer? I think we all know her name but I’m going to say it anyway. Betsy Lerner.

  11. In the grocery store parking lot.
    What do you do?
    I’m a writer.
    What do you write?
    I want to say I write words you twit, what the F else do you think I write. I say essays and…
    YES. I’ve written so much stuff (hundreds of pieces actually) don’t you know me you clod. But I say I write op-eds, articles and that I used to write a column that appeared in a couple-a-dozen papers.
    She loads her reusable bags filled with groceries in the back of her Suburban.
    What kind of column? What papers?
    I want to say why ask? Do you really care? I say, don’t forget the 12 pack of TP in the bottom of your cart.
    I wheel my cart to the cart-collection area. Wave and head home. I left a twelve-pack of TP in the bottom of my cart.

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