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Come and Join the Living

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Real breakthroughs. Bread slicing machine dividing a loaf of rye  in perfectly sized slices, a wall of dominoes falling like soldiers, sinking a golf ball in a cup, watching it circle the cup, thwap, thwap, plunk. It’s when you write ten pages, your back howling, your carpals tunneling, time dissolving like the closing shot of a corny movie. You are genius. Every moment is yours, every word that climbs onto your page, that lingers, stays. This is your time. Look both ways before your cross the street.

The Room Was Humming Harder

 

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Today I want to talk about fake breakthroughs. A fake breakthrough comes when you are writing and you are seized with the sudden belief that putting your novel in the present tense will fix EVERYTHING. Or when you turn your main character into an animal spirit. It’s when you start ripping everything apart because you’re sure you know how to fix it.  It’s when you think you deserve a cigarette. When you pat yourself on the back. Or tell someone you think you had a breakthrough.

Tell us about a breakthrough, real or imagined.

Everybody Plays the Fool Somtimes

 

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I had a reading over the weekend at a local Barnes & Noble. It was a Saturday morning and I figured I’d be lucky if two or three people showed. There were seven or eight, plus me, my mom, and one other Bridge lady. We just sat around and talked about mothers and daughters, and assisted living options in the area.

Do you go to readings? What are you looking for?

You Know It’s Just YOur Stupid Pride

 

53b16085bf8fe_elena_ferranteHow is everyone? I missed you.  I‘ve been on vacation. I read a history of the founding fathers and My Brilliant Friend, which a million people told me I HAD to read. Whenever lots of people tell me I have to read something or see a movie, I develop an immediate aversion to it. THis has been going on for some time. In the fifth grade, everyone said I would love the history teacher because he was so “cool.”  I hated him. I know it’s perverse, as if I’m so unknowable and unpredictable. I loved the novel.

What do you recommend?

Give Me the Beat Boys and Free My Soul

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I’m going on vacation for a week. This is the first vacation in a long time when I won’t be working on the book. Not complaining. I was happy to give every ounce of time to working on The Bridge Ladies. The truth is I’m not that good at  enjoying myself or relaxing. Having a project is like having an imaginary friend. At least that’s how I feel.

Do you have an imaginary friend?

Ain’t No Valley Low Enough

 

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Do you suffer from depression? Low-grade? Clinical? Bi-polar? Mood-swings? Anxiety? Mixed-state? Are you agitated, angry, paranoid, hostile, passive-aggressive? Do you alienate friends and family, are you bitter, resentful, full of schadenfreude? Do your turn on people who try to help you? TUrn on yourself? Is there a voice or many in your head, a drum, a thrum, a constant stream of nasty as fuck comments?

Are you a writer?

I Want You To Want Me

 

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It dawns on me that I’ve probably devoted 100 posts to rejection and not a single one on acceptance. This is says everything about me and the church of expecting the worst. This post is about that moment when you open the letter, the email or answer the phone and the news is good. What happens when they say yes? Yes, we want your poem. Yes, we’d like to publish your story. Or one of the greatest moments in an agent’s life when you call a client and say those four magic words: we have an offer.

Tell us about your first acceptance.

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