• 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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I Watched You Suffer a Dull Aching Pain

DAY 7. If you are reading this it means you have planted your beautiful ass in a chair for thirty minutes for an entire week and committed for three more weeks. Your biceps must be looking fantastic. Your digits sleek. I’ll be honest I had another shit day. Not only did I barely produce a few sentences, I started to doubt the entire enterprise. I tend to go global, so don’t be alarmed. My mother used to say that I was all or nothing. I sort of feel that’s one of the few good things about me. Well, that’s the whole point of this fucking exercise: you get back on the horse the next day and see where the next thirty minutes takes you.

27 Responses

  1. So, apparently I have been WAY out of touch here in Betsy’s circle. My ass has not been in my writing chair anywhere as often as it should be, and I feel enormous guilt that you and everyone else have been getting that shit done.

    And I leave for a weeklong vacation on Friday. So, very little will be accomplished then.

    I have been busier than hell and have a shit ton of excuses, but nothing that feels adequate.

    Yet I am writing tonight. I am almost through a last draft of this ms, even though it’s taken a seeming century for me to get here. I am still continuing and committed. Does that count?

    Back on the horse, indeed.

  2. Took wife to her exercise class this morning, sat court-side writing while 21 lovely ladies wiggled their asses at me for an hour. 621 words.

  3. Did my 30, didn’t delete anything today. It’s not what I was aiming for but it’s headed in the right direction… Onward and upward!

  4. Did my 30 and didn’t delete anything today. That’s a win!

  5. Good day. So good that I think I may take a peek at it right now, while I’m lying in the dark listening to WWFM, the fake Netflix fire crackling (I kid you not). That said, I no longer experience jubilation with my writing. Or much of anything. Life can do that to you. No complaints. Only calling it for what it is: HARD.

  6. I’m all or nothing too, and yes, I sorta like that about myself. Well, not when I’m being nothing, which is most of the time. But when I burn, I burn bright.

    I had a terrible day on the Final Draft two days ago, progressed only 7K words, when I needed to average 12K each day to make deadline. So I gave it up at dark, made a fire and sat by it for hours, recharging my battered old batteries. Then yesterday, I progressed 16,850, including 850 new words.

    I’ve been at it five hours today, and am drinking hot chocolate as I prepare for the difficult final few hours. I WILL finish this fucker today, final draft over and done, and never have to look at it again. I am working on an uplifting, gut-wrenching, emotional ending — but also, as I do so, I am a MACHINE, getting it done.

    • One of the unanticipated benefits of FingTF, is you never have to look at it again.

      • So true! But another unexpected benefit: when you DO look at it again a year or five later — and despite how you know you should have done some of it different — you realize that you like it, and can’t help liking yourself a little too. In a mind that inclines self-hating, that’s a blessing, a wonder, and a source of wry amusement that makes one ask themselves, “Why so serious? Life’s actually pretty damn special.” Just a thought, dear friend…

  7. Edited an existing chapter on the page. Today I’m going to type it up. Bring those sleek digits.

  8. Write until my butt hurt in the chair. Way past 30 minutes. Yay!

  9. Yesterday I engaged in the super-healthy pattern of despising everything about my writing and then writing a couple competent pages. By the end, I didn’t mind being on the horse.

  10. “If you are reading this it means you have planted your beautiful ass in a chair for thirty minutes for an entire week and committed for three more weeks.”

    It could mean at least that, if not more. For my part, it also means I am lonelier than I care to face. And it means I would be writing at my writing daily anyway. As for the beauty of my ass, one of my prior wives used to pat it from time to time and say, “Nice ass, when you don’t have your head up it.”

    “Your biceps must be looking fantastic.”

    They are actually looking better than ever. I’ve been exercising every day. At my age, I must, to keep from rapid collapse into total dereliction.

    “Your digits sleek.”

    Is my finger aching, do I find I’m hesitating?

    “I’ll be honest I had another shit day.”

    I am sorry to hear that. Truly I am. I like you and wish you well. That goes for all of youse guys.

    “Not only did I barely produce a few sentences, I started to doubt the entire enterprise.”

    As we know, this is a not uncommon effect. Knowing this somehow doesn’t help.

    “I tend to go global, so don’t be alarmed.”


    “My mother used to say that I was all or nothing. I sort of feel that’s one of the few good things about me.”

    My mom used to say I was either a genius or an idiot. With my options so narrowed which was I to choose? Would it result in my being a condescending prick?

    “Well, that’s the whole point of this fucking exercise: you get back on the horse the next day and see where the next thirty minutes takes you.”

    My little pony took me to a surprising place last night. It took me to an overlook where I saw I would want to make a significant change in the piece I am working on — a change I had not seen coming. I looked over the overlook and I thought, “Yeah, why not? What the hell? If it doesn’t work, I’ll try something else. It will come to me.”

  11. Today I hope the damn horse does not wander.

    Somehow – I did my 30 and then some. I didn’t make the word count, fell short by 200 words, but there are those days and I’m not really into self-flagellation so, onward. 😁

  12. I might be on the wrong horse. Probably on the wrong horse. Where are we going, Cinnamon?

  13. Because I am a compulsive reviser, I’ve been forcing myself to use my 30 minutes to forge ahead. I’ve discovered this is more productive if I sit down with a specific task to do i.e write a particular scene in which X happens, summarize the story I’m trying to write, describe the tragedy through one character’s point of view – really anything can be helpful. I thought I’d share this for those of you who might have a similiar writing problem. Thinking about your plan for the writing sessions ahead while you are going about your day can also keep your subsconscious thinking about your project. If you get really into this, you might even keep a list of ideas for writing sessions.
    P.S Sorry if this is a repeat. I thought I’d posted something to this effect but didn’t see it on the site so am posting again.

  14. Nothing yesterday. I meant to, but wound up playing in band practice for too long and too twisted. We played hard, some Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Cure, Jane’s Addiction and rocked out on Neil Young’s Powderfinger. Some originals and a nice take on Deep Ellum Blues. Does that count for anything? I mean, my digits are sleek and bruised today, biceps bulging … No, huh? Oh well, back at it today.

    (Wanna know how it went last night? Once I got to work and my sinuses cleared, I smelled a pungent, familiar odor and thought, oh shit, I must have left a baggie open in the car. Careless me, wasted me. Then I got out of the car, looked out in the semi darkness of this November morning and saw a recently run over skunk further down the road. I moved the beautiful creature to the side of the road with my snow shovel, wishing people would drive slower and with more care, but also realizing a slow moving mostly black skunk is hard to see in the dark. If I were to optimistically compare my writing to a (live) skunk, I would think of it as beautiful, slow, right there in black and white and with a fragrance I find not offensive at all.)

    • You’re writing some beautiful sentences and making wondrous connections within them lately, Mike. Whatever you’re doing, it’s working.

      Also, because you wrote “The Cure” and the current cure to me being me being me is this 16 minutes of beauty, I’ll leave it here for you. You’ve probably seen/heard /lived it already anyway. But for me, who really knows shit about music, it’s not only a lovely experience, it was really educational about how a great composer might use each instrument so sparingly (including voice as an instrument, of course). Anyhowlers… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1sx_tPxAkE

      • Thank you for your kind and generous encouragement, Harry. I’m starting to understand my “voice”,for better or worse, and writing everyday helps that process.
        Our band does “A Forest” by The Cure and it’s one of my favorites. Thank you for the clip. And if you like The Cure, you’ve got good taste, in my opinion. Check out “Save It For Later” by the English Beat and Stop the World and Melt with You by Modern English, especially the recent lock down version. Good stuff.

        • Along with “I Confess,” Save It For Later has been one of my all-time favourite songs forever! And many of their others too. Pete Townshend did a great version of Save It For Later too, of course, and I love Dave Wakeling’s story of what happened when PT called him to ask about the weird tuning, as he and David Gilmour couldn’t figure it out. I’ll check the Modern English ones out. Meanwhile, let’s keep at it!

          PS: I have Melt with You playing now as I typed this. Wonderful! Thanks!

  15. After a really bumpy and devastatingly sad ride yesterday and the night before I mounted the steed this morning and headed across the fields that were growing just the ‘write’ words. Nice ride. Easy ride. Good ride. So far a little over an hour in. My dear Betsy, and the rest, you are my lifesaver today.

  16. No horsing around here. I really accomplished some stuff. I’m working on a series of memoir essays and jealous of all you fiction writers. The 30 doesn’t necessarily work for me since I’m overly conscious of the tick tocking. But I’m writing. Ass to saddle.

    • Diane, I was curious about you, so I did a google search and it turns out we’re both Mt. Holyoke alums. And that pleased me mightily! Best, Jody (full name: Josephine Carr, class of — GULP — 1974)

  17. You may have had a shit day, Betsy, but I love your line, “Your digits sleek.” I’d pay for that line. See? You wrote something another writer envies!

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