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Life Could be a Dream Sweetheart

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Blurbs. Having a good blurb week. Two of my clients with books coming out in the fall have been getting some terrific quotes. It’s the first sign from the outside world that the baby is beautiful. It’s long known that most blurbs are the result of strings being pulled, favors called in, and connections. This is not wrong. But sometimes you get a blurb from a writer or expert with no connection to the material and it’s the most amazing feeling. It’s the Sally Field You Really Like me Moment.

Do you read the blurbs on books? Do they influence you in any way?

I Sometimes Wish I’d Never Been Born at All

My mother wanted to be a writer. She even had a pen named picked out. She never acted on that desire, but she loved reading and going to readings. As she put it, she loved hearing articulate people speak. She religiously read her New Yorker. She didn’t have a literary vocabulary per se, but she knew what she liked. She made us look up every word we didn’t know on a dictionary with a broken spine that took up residence on the pass-through between the kitchen and den. I was much older before I connected my love of poetry and writing with my mother.

What did you get from your mother?

People Say I’m the Life of the Party

Dearest readers of this blog.

I apologize for my disappearance (if you missed me). I’ve been doing something really radical. I’ve been…wait for it…writing. Why, you ask? For cherries, for pennies, for a flat ass and gnarled hands? Is there any point in writing. No. Is there any reward? No. Is there any redemption, love, admiration, movie deals? No, no, no, no. Then why do you keep doing it?

A man went to the circus and saw how diligent the man sweeping up the shit was and offered him a job in his clean, air-conditioned office building for twice the money and health benefits. The man refused. The man who offered him the job couldn’t understand why he was wouldn’t come. The man sweeping the shit replied, “What and leave show business?”

Guys, I’m in this ratfuck of a business for 35 years this June. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve lost a lot. I’m grateful and in awe that I didn’t get picked off or go to law school. I still love the smell of the grease paint.

I’d Trade All my Tomorrows for One Single Yesterday

If you’ve been hanging around this blog, you know that I hate to talk process. I don’t want to know if you write in the morning or the evening, If you write by hand or on a Remington. You use a Moleskin? Who cares? I’m like if you’re writing great. Bring me the broom. There is no excuse that interests me and the reason is no one cares if you write. For me, it’s liberating that no one cares. It’s not cruel or unfair. It’s your tightrope, your ledge, it’s your nest of blue thread. Is writing holy? Is coffee? Your computer whirring. I’ve heard so many excuses why people can’t write over the years. They are all boring: illness, weather, family, pets, children, work, lack of privacy, isolation, envy, worry, anxiety, psoriasis. It would be interesting if anyone cared. This is all you need to know: your writing is sacred. It’s your covenant and sacrament. It’s your good name.

What makes you interesting?

I Want to Live Forever

Hey Y’all, check it out. Another patient from the Betsy Lerner Insane Asylum has a book published. You know her as Bobbi French, though I’ve always been convinced it’s a pseudonym for Bella Abzug or Florence Pugh. Bobbi is one of those stealth writers. She doesn’t complain a lot, no matter how much I encourage a steady stream of complaints. She gets up every morning at five a.m. and makes the magic happen. I think she also walks three miles a day and does or doesn’t eat gluten. Bobbi? She is also a former psychiatrist; she left the field to write. Talk about nuts! Please read these wonderful reviews and BUY the book. And join me in a huge congratulations to our author.

“An engaging novel with an unforgettable main character. Frances Delaney has lived a “small” life, but as she responds to a devastating diagnosis, her rich and moving story unfolds. We learn the secrets of Frances’s past and how she makes peace with those secrets, and we also see how that past shaped the woman she has become. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, this is one of the most sensitive fictional portrayals of the end of life that I’ve ever read.”   — Trudy Morgan-Cole, author of By the Rivers of Brooklyn, Most Anything You Please, A Roll of the Bones, and other Newfoundland historical fiction

Good Women of Safe Harbour will break your heart and mend it back together again. In this novel, set beside the changeable Newfoundland sea, Frances Delaney reckons with the question of how to make life worth living even as she nears the end of hers. With the help of her long-lost best friend, Annie and the irrepressible teenager, Edie, Frances emerges from a self-imposed loneliness to learn that the only thing that truly endures is the unabiding love they hold for each other. Bobbi French is a master storyteller, as she gently leads us to Frances’ final lesson with humour, compassion and grace.”  — Carrianne Leung, author of That Time I Loved You

“An absolutely soul-comforting meditation on what’s possible when there’s nothing left to lose. Rich, lively, surprising, warm, and wise, the voice of Frances Delaney won me wholly. I couldn’t put this book down, and its message of embodied healing will stay with me. A cathartic and uplifting story about friendship, forgiveness, and healing.” — Carrie Snyder, author of Girl Runner

“Bobbi French brings an authentic eye to a tender truth: whatever our woes, it is never too late to lay down what we are carrying. A poignant, deeply arresting, and often funny portrayal of female friendships, even those that get lost, for a time, somewhere along the way.” — Christine Higdon, author of The Very Marrow of Our Bones

“Bobbi French has created an unforgettable character in Frances Delaney. Facing the premature end of her solitary life, Frances chooses to die on her own terms, assisted by two good women – her childhood friend Annie, with whom she has recently reconciled, and the savvy teenaged Edie. The final revelation in this deeply moving debut will leave you stunned, satisfied, and reaching for a box of tissues.”  — Damhnait Monaghan, internationally published author of New Girl in Little Cove

“So vividly imagined, it was as if I carried the characters’ worries and hopes in my own heart. Set in an unforgettable landscape, brimming with insights, Bobbi French’s warm, honest prose makes even the most tragic secrets and events shimmer and lift.”    — Kelly Simmons, international selling author of six novels, including One More Day

“In turns moving and funny, The Good Women of Safe Harbour is a heartfelt story of a woman who is determined to live what life she has left as if it is only beginning. Whether for the tears or laughter, you’ll want to keep a Kleenex box handy for this one. In lyrical prose and with a character voice that sings, Bobbi French offers a story that’s all about forgiveness and the power of friendship between women. But this novel is also a call to reawaken the wonder found in the everyday world all around us. As Frances Delaney swims through her memories and surfaces reborn, she learns to make even the smallest experience count in her final days. In sharing that journey with her, you’ll feel more alive and so much more here, in this precious, shining moment. This novel is a reminder to pay attention as we move through our day, to phone a friend or sister, to find connection and touch and meaning in our ordinary routines. Because life is made of these moments.” — Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of The Almost Wife

The Good Women of Safe Harbour lets you meet Frances Delaney gently, almost formally. That’s a kindness. None of that prepares you for a book that, as it quickly reaches take-off speed, quite simply won’t let you go.”
— Russell Wangersky, author of The Path of Most Resistance

About the Author

BOBBI FRENCH was born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador. A former psychiatrist, she is the author of Finding Me in France, a memoir chronicling the year following her decision to leave medicine to pursue writing. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

When I was a young editor, before I was medicated, I had tremendous bursts of energy/focus/ intensity. My boss said I had two heads. I bought an orange silk blouse with a purple collar. I went to London for four days and emptied my bank account. i slept with two different men on the same day at the national book conference. What I liked best about mania was how my mind generated ideas. I couldn’t walk a block without getting a new idea. I still have tons of ideas, but they arrive in napkins instead of flames. Today, my YouTube trainer said, “I love intensity, but I worship consistency.” Amen.

What do you worship?

My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble

I’m like a bad boyfriend. I think about you but I don’t call. I love you but I don’t show it. I’m totally wrapped up in myself and my work. I figure you’ll always be there. I had the shittiest boyfriends on earth. They weren’t even boyfriends, they were platonic friends I not so secretly loved, three night stands, broken divorced men, bicycle messengers and moths.

What does this have to do with writing?

God Only Knows What I’d Be Without You

Something I’ve noticed a lot of writers do is what I call stepping on their own lines. It’s when you write a sentence or two more than necessary at the end of a paragraph or chapter end. It’s as if you’ve glued the thing down and then you have the urge to throw a nail in on top of it. It’s bad for a few a reasons: a) you don’t trust your reader. b) you don’t trust yourself. c) you forfeit the beauty of understatement d) you lose the moment. Every time I start overwriting an ending, I try to remember to dial it back. It almost always works.

How do you find your endings?

Give Me Your Answer Do

So I found a fuck buddy. And by that I mean a writer who I trust and with whom I’m exchanging pages. Thirty a month. The first of the month, like the rent and electric. I wasn’t exactly looking for it, but through the blog, yes this decade-old screed from my heart, brought the baby Moses in a basket to my door, or was he still clinging to the reeds of a river, or before that when cuneiform figures were pressed into tablets of warm clay. It’s exhilarating and scary and good to have a cross in the snow where better men than me have searched the tundra and were buried. Good to have a furry hood. We’ve only exchanged once so far so but it was hugely encouraging and helpful. And while I’ve always believed in the solitary, solipsistic, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, glorious solitude of writing, this is nice.

Do you have a writing buddy? If not, can you find one?

I Walked 47 Miles on Barbed Wire

I love people, but I prefer being alone. I am my own puppet show. Strings, puppets, stage, Geppetto. The sound of air clanging in the pipes. An ambulance horn wailing in the night. Have you met my ribbon box? I am madly in love with myself. I have everything I want. I have nothing I want. You look up and three hours have passed. Sentences. Paragraphs. Days. Years. I once had a young writer tell me that she didn’t work on spec. Everything I’ve ever done I’ve done on spec. I am not going to lie.

Who do you love?