• 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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Go Easy on Me, Baby

Sometimes I think of my clients as babies in a nursery. At any given moment, a few will be sleeping, a few will be fitful, and a few will be screaming their heads off. And it’s my job to soothe them, calm them, and reassure them. The screaming usually happens when the rejections are piling up, or in the months before publication when anxiety is highest, or at some point after publication when it feels like: is that all? Some clients are screaming inside, but it isn’t in them to make a fuss. Something about the whole process makes them feel ashamed and small. Others act as if they are impervious to disappointment. Operative word is “act.” It may take some writers months or years, but eventually the baby will scream its head off. One writer, two years after his book bombed, told me that he’s wasn’t bitter. A blind man could see he was extremely bitter. As a writer, bitterness if your god-given right. I could recite chapter and verse what went wrong with all three of the books I wrote. Can I remember anything good that happened? Not as vividly.

What kind of baby are you?

8 Responses

  1. I’m the baby that was left in a box, within a dim corner of a short alley. It’s too cold out here to expend the energy to cry. For now, I’ll shiver and hope that tomorrow will be a warmer day.

  2. “What kind of baby are you?”

    The big kind. The kind that pitches a hissy now and again. The kind that thinks he has a right to attention simply through being in the room. The kind that smoulders while furiously sucking on his binky. The kind that can be mollified with a cookie and a kiss.

  3. Amen.

  4. I wasn’t circumcised until I was a few months old, something having to do with a rash or infection. So I was almost a rocket man. Before the circumcision was performed, I was given a shot of whiskey. My mother said it made me all happy and goofy, although I have no recollection of it at all. I’m a baby who is waiting for another shot of whiskey.

  5. “What kind of baby are you?”

    I’m the quiet infant sitting in a corner, patiently waiting to be picked up and cuddled out of genuine adoration. I would never venture forth, scream my little head off asking for said adoration, only to get that binky Tetman speaks of, shoved into my mouth, with a placating pat on the head.

  6. I’m screaming inside all of the time.

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