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How Do You SOlve a Problem Like Maria

I’ve spent thirty years as an editor and now agent talking writers off the ledge. That’s what we do. And it’s never more intense than in the two months before publication when anything and nothing can happen. When all your hopes and dreams could fill a dirigible floating over the city. Your fears and anxieties florid and deranged.


HOw do I talk people off the ledge. First, I remind them their book is awesome, how much work it took, their dedication, their craft, how worthwhile it is even before a single copy is sold. Then I tell them stories the way you tell children stories to keep the bogey man away or stories to make them feel hopeful, about little trains that could. Or little books that grew up into mighty oaks. I get them thinking about their next book, about their inner life as a writer, about the long distance race. If all this fails, I suggest, they go shopping, to the movies, mani/pedi, hit the gym, start tutoring kids. If you’re in therapy: stay. If you’re not: start.

When I try to talk myself off the ledge, I realize something very scary. I am the ledge. Any advice?



They Say as a Child I Appeared a Little Bit Wild


tumblr_m5agp4ws751rxiaoto1_500Someone recently asked me if I felt anxious about the book coming out because it is so personal. Get to know me. I’m anxious because it might not sell. I’m anxious because the New York Times might say mean things, or worse say nothing at all. I’m anxious because if I fail it’s not only in front of my friends and family, but the publishing profession where I work. I’m anxious because I’m not in therapy and I probably should be. I’m anxious because I don’t feel like myself, meaning I feel a little hopeful and that is just not part of the package.  I’m anxious because it’s all out of my hands now with the exception of boosting Facebook pages and going up and down Fifth avenue in the sandwich boards I’ve made with the Queen of Hearts on both sides.

What makes you anxious about getting your work out there? What’s your worst fear?

My Mirror Staring Back at Me

Head shot

Guys, here’s my author photo (pre-facelift). My mother hates it, so I figure I’m on the right track.

Be honest, but not brutally honest.

Yesterday Don’t Matter If It’s Gone


I know it looks like The Bridge Ladies have hijacked my blog about writing, depression, and how publishing will break your heart in a hundred different ways. The Bridge Ladies is my new book and it’s coming out in May and if you love me even a little please buy a copy or 200 for your local synagogue’s sisterhood. Or pre-order. 😉

So I’m working on changing the blog and trying to keep it the same. I’m trying to lose weight and am gaining it instead. I’m trying to sleep through the night but I’m up every hour. It’ been seven years since I published a book and I feel as nervous as a virgin. I want to spread the word about Bridge Ladies and hear from people about their  Bridge memories. But I also want to throw my mashed potatoes on the floor and spit peas through a straw at the ceiling.

I’m thinking about blogging about the publication of the book. Is this interesting or even more indulgent than the thousand plus posts I’ve dumped on a beautiful and unsuspecting world.

What would you do if you were me?

So I TUrned Myself To Face Me

Dear Friends of this blog: Remember Sherry Stanfa-Stanley? She was one of the nutters who regularly showed up  here at the mental institution. Well, it looks like ECT may be in order. SSS is embarking on a project called THe 52/52 project wherein she attempts to defy life’s all around go fuck yourselfness and, um, break free? Break down? Break out? Get a book deal? C’mon, friend her. Or at least do an intervention. How can you not love SSS? I do. By the way, she wins an eating contest? BFD, I do that every day. (Is it me or does that hot dog look 3-D?)

My name is Sherry, and I am changing my life.

As I whimpered past the age of 50, I realized I’d spent the last 30 years doing the same ordinary things. Every. Single. Day. I know many people, especially my female friends, who are in a similar rut: those who spend more than their share of evenings folding clothes in front of the TV, daydreaming about the world out there while they contemplate having that second bowl of ice cream. So, in the last three months, I sold my house, bought a condo, and lost nearly 30 pounds (with more than a few to go). And then I started pondering how I might shake up my life in a number of smaller ways. Thus was born, The 52/52 Project

As I turn 52 this year, I am embarking on a list of 52 things I’ve never before done—experiences well outside my comfort zone. They range from taking belly-dancing classes (already begun and soon-to-be ended for humane reasons) to spending the night in a haunted house (I do believe in spooks, I do, I DO), to getting a Brazilian wax (just shoot me now). Join me in jumping the curb, taking a detour from the cul-de-sac to visit personally unexplored territories.

Follow along at: https://www.facebook.com/The52at52Project

Meaner Than A Junkyard Dog

Spoke tonight at the Center for Fiction at the Mercantile Library. I cleverly structured my talk in three parts: beginning, middle, and end. Only halfway through beginning I started to feel kind of nauseas of the Sartre variety. My own voice was sickening to me and I kept banging the little light on the podium. Everyone in the room appeared tired and one guy right in the middle was stone cold asleep.

A ton of people stormed the podium when I was finished wanting autographs and hugs. Some women in a writing group came up and said they expected someone much tougher. They all read the blog and they were shocked to see how sweet and gentle I am. Fuck off. They were surprised at how soft-spoken I am. Fuck off. They didn’t expect someone so nice. Hardy-fuckin-har. People, don’t fall for this nice facade, these dulcet tones. I hate myself and the horse I came in on. Other than that, it was a great night. Love, Betsy

P.S. The Fiction Center is pretty amazing. I’m going to try to go on 2/24.

I Met Her In a Club Down In Old Soho

This Monday night, January 17,  I’ll be at McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince Street at 7pm. I’ll be “in conversation”with Glenn Kurtz about what’s wrong with writers. There will be a Q&A, I’ll be hawking my book, and with any luck Hawaiian Punch. I was thinking if anyone in the New York area can come that we should have a secret handshake or signal. Or not. Hope you can make it. Betsy

p.s. rumor has it August is coming.

p.s.s. rumor has it I started the rumor.