• 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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Yesterday Don’t Matter If It’s Gone

DAY 9!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have missed a day or two or three, please come back!!! I can’t do it without you. This is the part where a butterfly does something in New England and there’s a tsunami in Japan. It’s where you overeat for three days and expect the scale to go down. It’s about cutting off your hair and becoming Keith Richards, or spending an entire paycheck on a pair of Pradas you can’t even walk in. It’s about exquisite belief, magical thinking, and a small knock at the door. I’m telling you this because I need to hear it myself: keep fucking writing.

Describe your best writing day.

33 Responses

  1. The exclamation points are fucking adorable. I do love you, Betsy.

  2. This sucks. I can’t do this. I am the world’s biggest hack and now everyone will see and no one will sit with me in the cafeteria – oh! Maybe the raccoon doesn’t need to have a little sister! Ah ha! I might be brilliant

  3. everything you write, betsy. it’s gold. platinum. titanium. what’s the best? I don’t know, but I love all your everything words.

  4. Best day ever: Took wife to exercise class (was suggested I not stay around), went to Market Basket, got a black coffee and double chocolate doughnut ($1.97) then wrote character sketches about the parade of customers passing through the canteen. This 30/30 is easy.

  5. Best writing day is like this: I don’t think I have the time but I sit down anyway. It takes a minute or two to get started but then my head is soaring and my fingers are hunt-and-pecking all over the place and thirty minutes turns into an hour and the hour turns into two or six and at the end I’m totally exhausted and wide awake. I read the pages and they sing back to me that the magic is still alive!

  6. When the characters took over and dialogue flowed from my fingers in their voices, not mine, and I as no longer in charge, didn’t want to be in charge, just let them, like charging horses, have their heads, followed where they wanted to go. And when it was over, I sat there, spent and stunned, reading what they’d given me… they, the characters, and me, hoping they might take the reins again some time.
    (And, by the way, I love “The Bridge Ladies” and recommended “The Forest for the Trees” to my writing students for years!)

  7. Yesterday was pretty darn good. Set aside the WIP to write a short standalone. Wrote it! The first 500 words were really hard but then the story kicked in. With the help of two of my fellow Betys acolytes I got a solid second draft which I’ll polish and submit today. Just need a title. I hate titles.

  8. I used to go to a writing residency, where I’d wake up and get to work. Take a walk somewhere beautiful when I couldn’t stand it anymore. Write some more. Have dinner and drinks with my co-residents or go to bed early with a book. I miss it.

  9. Thank you for this exuberant post, Betsy. I feel it, too. My best writing day was when I wrote twenty new pages of a thriller. It flew. At the end, I was exhausted and, I swear to God, I lost five pounds. I was in a state of euphoria, a bit like valium.

  10. Best writing day was when I finished the last line of my first draft of my first novel. I cried with such intensity. More than when my mother died or when my kids did something heartwarming. I’m wondering if I should look back and find what the hell I write that was so good.

  11. *wrote

  12. “Describe your best writing day.”

    Ever? Or recently? Context!

    There is never any best writing day ever, so I will swerve into oncoming traffic. Yesterday I received an email from a journal up NYC way that the editors there would like to publish one of my stories — but would like very much if I would change the final line.

    Change the final line?! Egad! But it reflects back! Circles around to touch upon a point made earlier! It resonates!

    So … what to do, what to do? Well, what to do is what to do. You wanna new final line, Ed? We got a new stock of final lines just came in today, they’re still boxed up in the back. Let’s open ’em up and take a look at ’em, see if one fits.

    A possible new final line came to mind as I was drifting off to sleep last night. Was it the right one? Did I get up to write it down? Don’t know and no, I didn’t. Will I find a suitable replacement for my perfect final line? Yes. Will it be just as perfect? No — it will be better. It’s in the box in the back. Gimme a minute and I’ll find it.

  13. Best writing day, broadly speaking, is getting to “The End.”

    In general, when I’m in the thick of it, it’s getting the word count goal done for that day, and knowing the scenes I need to write the next day.

  14. These are things I’ve heard about or have happened recently that reinforce my belief that the world is way weirder than I ever imagined. Let’s start with Keith Richards, shall we?

    Q-Anon gathers at site where John Kennedy was shot, awaiting his second coming. Or maybe they were waiting for John Jr. to appear so he can be Trump’s running mate in 2024. Many were of the belief that John-John didn’t die in a plane crash but that he is really … Keith Richards.

    Let’s Go Brandon slogan. Code for Fuck You Biden. Originated at a NASCAR race won by a driver named Brandon. While a news reporter was interviewing the winner, the lovely crowd was chanting Fuck you Biden and the reporter said, Oh, isn’t that something? The crowd is yelling Let’s Go Brandon. This reinforced the belief to many idiots that the media lies.

    I was working in the post office in town yesterday afternoon and a woman was being waited on by one of the other clerks when she announced she hadn’t been feeling well. Then she said, I’m going to throw up. Do you have a bucket? And then she proceeded to toss her cookies into a garbage pail, horrifying everyone in the place. When she left, it was amazing how much disinfectant came out and how thoroughly the place was scrubbed. Why do people insist on going out in public when they’re sick? Is this pandemic ever going to end?

    My best writing day is one minus the above incidents.

  15. Best writing day: Where the subjects of frogs, fungal balls, Japanese scrolls, Duck Farts and Mark Twain suddenly align.

  16. Best writing day?
    Three actually.
    1. When, a couple of months ago, I realized that a short story I wrote ten years ago would make a great book.

    2. Yesterday I typed, The End. (On to hard copy edits)

    The pleasure of the moment wasn’t all about finishing the project it was about finding the right place in time and circumstance for all the characters, I have grown to love, to find their way across a very complicated family landscape involving decades.

    Fiction is new for me. My only regret, yes at my age I do have regrets, I should have breathed life into this project back when I was young enough to be considered by the traditional writing-world as a writer of fiction with a bright future.

    Well, can’t change the past, and the future holds no guarantees for any of us.

    3. Today I revisit the book with a keen eye and as much inspiration as I did forty years ago when I knew, I mean I absolutely knew the piece I had written would be my first published op-ed. It lead to hundreds more.
    With this one the pressure is off, the conviction absolute, and the story, about a hero with a humble heart, makes this another perfect writing day.

    Betsy, you, wrapped in all your darkness, angst and brilliance are creating a bright light for many of us. Thanks babe.

  17. once, i wrote 11 pages in about 20 minutes. that was a pretty spectacular event, never repeated. i dunno. writing isn’t that much of a kick for me, except for the occasional sentence or turn of phrase. it’s the editing that does it for me–it’s masturbatory.


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