• 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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What Do You Get When You Fall in Love

Let me be very clear: publishing = pain. Or as Saint Teresa of Avila famously said, “There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.” It’s painful because you believe that getting published is the culmination of your dreams, the apotheosis of your desires, the time for you to finally take your place at the table. I think I’m fortunate in that I was still naive when I went to graduate school for poetry. I pretty much believed that only dead people wrote books. Getting a poem in a lit mag was giddy-making. I couldn’t imagine a book. I gave up all things poetic and went to work in publishing where I became the cynical little monster that I am today. When I published my first book, it was a self-help book. Far from Mount Olympus. I wrote to hundreds of writers conferences and writing programs and set up tons of speaking engagement mostly at my own expense. I did that for 2-3 years until I burned out. It wasn’t the worst experience at all. Some people do have a good experience, but in my role as an agent over the last thirty plus years, I’ve mopped up so many tears, visited so many rehabs and looney bins, I’ve pretended that a bad review didn’t matter, I’ve spun reasons for no one showing up to your reading, no reviews, no book sales, no prizes, no ads, I’ve talked about personal satisfaction and accomplishment and getting back on the horse. Have you tried therapy, medication, yoga, volunteer work? Writing is hard. Breaking in is almost impossible. Getting published is a kick in the head. Enjoy!

What is your unanswered prayer?

16 Responses

  1. Absolutely. It is PAIN. I should’ve been a fucking librarian. Shrug … (I also have made godawful decisions about the men in my life.) I’ve got good kids, though, and sensational grandchildren. I’m happy despite it all.

  2. “What is your unanswered prayer?”

    I can’t speak to that, any more than I could tell you the identity of my spirit guides.

    I can tell you that it’s a beautiful day.

  3. I want to get The Fucker in print. And then I want to get the New Fucker in print. Then I want to publish a book of goddamn poetry, because poets know no one reads their work (except a few beloved and dedicated poet friends).

  4. Whoa, unanswered prayers? That’s serious stuff.
    Is praying for publication as serious as health in the time of Covid or for a loved one to survive calamity?
    Books are a big deal but are they that big?
    All I know is that in my life every prayer has been answered and that is taking into account that an unanswered prayer is actually an answer.

    I would add that along with prayer FATE has stepped in a number of times with results that have been staggering in regards to what I asked for and needed at exactly the right time. It that a prayer answered?

    My unanswered prayer now? That fate will continue to check in once in a while and wink-me a possibility.

  5. I want to be at peace with/ accept my writing for what it is. It’s a relationship, it’s a romance. It sometimes requires therapy. Publishing pulls out all my insecurities but not-publishing is worse. Writing, when it’s going well, is my golden bough. Why can’t I always, only, focus on that?!

  6. My unanswered prayer? To always, always get back on the horse, except for those days when radical self care is called for. When a walk, a bath, a book and a cup of tea is everything. And then, back on the horse.

  7. I want to be at peace, too. That’s a great way to put it. But maybe if we’re at peace, we’re also dead. Maybe the urge to keep writing is a way of saying, I’m not dead yet. IDK. Why isn’t the writing enough? That is something I think about all the time. I think one really important reason is that the desire to communicate is baked into the act of writing. People even go to the trouble in their diaries to sometimes address an imaginary reader. Or dialogue with the journal itself. Dear Diary: It’s been a month since I’ve written. Please don’t judge me. I read a lot of writer’s diaries and they are writing for the ages.

  8. World peace. I’m serious. I don’t believe there has to be hate for love to exist; love is deeper than that.
    I never said I’m not a dreamer.
    Prays won’t fix my writing — I have to try harder and write better

  9. Unanswered prayer of the moment – am I going to get this book written?

    And yes, it is a beautiful day at the moment as well, as Tetman said.

  10. Me? I’m praying for pain…

  11. LOL YES

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