• 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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There’s a Land Where the River Runs Free

A professor in graduate school who told me that what I was writing was fine if I wanted to be the next Fran Lebowitz. A movie person once suggested I be more like Nancy Meyers. And another told me that I wasn’t Woody Allen. Someone said I reminded them of Chelsea Handler. And Sarah Silverman. And Jeanette Garafalo if we want to reach way back. All I’ve ever wanted was to be someone other than me.

Who do you want to be?

photo: Military Times

11 Responses

  1. There would be a long list of who I don’t want to be. I’m pretty good at being who I am, although it might be cool to be my 18 year old self again — maybe I could nail it better the 2nd time around. Nah,scratch that — I’m good. Thanks for asking and uh, I think you’re pretty cool.

  2. Joan Baez at the Savoy Hotel with Bob Dylan when his eyes were still “bluer than robin’s eggs.”

  3. I’m not really sure anymore. But solvent would be good.

  4. Back before many of you boys and girls were born, a publisher (through no effort of my own) told me that my book would be the next Jonathan Livingston Seagull. (Sold a million copies in a year with no adv. All word-of-mouth)
    That little book changed publishing the publisher said, and so would mine. Instead of photos in my book, my drawings would be used.
    But…I didn’t want to be Richard Bach, with words and a paint brush, I wanted to be Carole King.
    So now I’m me. I’ll take it.

  5. “Who do you want to be?”

    Myself. Still. I rather like this new version that came online last summer, when god whispered to me, “Don’t trifle with me,” and death said to me, “Don’t forget the balancing of accounts.” I don’t anger like I did, though evidence recently strewn hereabouts indicates I remain at times somewhat prickly.

    I am sad all the time, though, my god, look at the world. I’ll do no current events summation here, we can all read the news. My wife’s parents were refugees from the last time Ukraine was devastated by war, so the current situation has cast that horseman’s pall over the home.

    There are the umpity stages of grief, right? I don’t remember the prescribed order, though the series as I’ve seen it unfold before me has been denial, bargaining, acceptance, and depression.

    I still write, noodling away at composing a book I started three years ago. I think I should like to finish it, and am close to the end. I do not think there is any publisher for it. I do not know. I have abandoned attempts to have any of my other books published. I still trot my tales out to litmags. Every once in a while, one of my stories is accepted and published — but this world, this time labeled now 2023, this is not my world. I have washed up on some teeming yet desolate shore, all landmarks crumbling and washing away.

    I spend a lot of time now with my photo files, finishing my images. You know, my photography showed in galleries in New York City, a long time back. Right down in Soho, when it was the thing.

    Those were the glory days. Showings in NYC galleries, stories in NYC journals. Those were my dreams coming true. Somehow, I thought more money would be involved.

    I became who I wanted to be. The details were different from how I had imagined or desired, but they almost always are. As a long-ago girlfriend said to me — or maybe she didn’t, maybe I’m making it up — “You got what you wanted. Now, what do you want?”

  6. If I’ve learned anything in 71 years, it’s I’ve gotta be me! I’ve tried on many masks and none of them got me to where I wanted to be. Painful as it may be, finding the real me under it all, has gotten me here…where I do want to be. A full time writer, all be it, as yet unpublished as a novelist, my dream. But if I am not me, there is no hope. Stay strong. There is only one you in the world and, I dare say, the world needs that YOU.

  7. Janna Levin.

  8. I want to sing like Adele and write like Maggie Nelson.

  9. I don’t want to be anyone else. I’m having too much fun…

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