I wrote a book called THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. It's an advice book for writers, though it's more about what makes writers tick. For four years, I blogged every day about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. I post less frequently now, but hopefully with as much vitriol. Please join in!

    Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I’ve learned one thing about writers, it’s this: we really are all alone. Thanks for reading. Love, Betsy

  • Follow me

  • Archives

I’m Letting You Down Everyday



On the way to work today: a black suede high heel boot folded over in the street, a pug in a shearling coat, a tiny girl in white, a pyramid of golden apples, a man sleeping on a handicap ramp, a hipster in a tight brown suit, a swarm of Citibikes, a father walking his son to school, holding his lunch box, a couple steps ahead.

Tell me about your morning.




Why Can’t You See This Boat is Sinking



When you write about a room, what are the details that make their presence known? A white bowl with gold fish painted on the inside, a gray radiator, New Yorkers from the year one. Nesting tables missing one nest. Do you see them or make them up? To they enhance the story, magnify the themes or characters. A water bottle, a yoga mat, a dictionary stand, the Game of Life. Do you choose the details or do they choose you. That’s a trick question. You choose. Striped curtains of gold and red that fall to the floor and then some.

Is god in the details.

Grow Old With Me



Write what you know. Do what you like. Try to be a good person. Hold the door open for the person behind you, even if he isn’t there. Make crust. Hem your pants. Floss. Kick ass. Write thank you notes. Drink eight glasses a day. Hands at ten and two. What you were, who you are,  the perfect child.  Can you write what you don’t  know? Can you know yourself through writing?

What do you know?

People Stop And Stare They Don’t Bother Me

When I was in junior high school everyone loved this history teacher, let’s call him Mr. Mustache. He was hip, he was funny, he perched himself on the edge of a desk and spoke “frankly.” He was the most popular teacher in the school. I hated him, thought he was a phony, his lines predictable and folksy. Then everyone fell in love with the movie, E.T. Not for me. So fucking saccharine.
You can disagree with me. My whole life, I’ve had this perverse streak of hating everything everyone loves. With the exception of Broadway, the Thanksgiving Parade, and a nice bowl of primo weed.

What do you hate that everyone loves?

I Miss the Earth so Much I Miss My Wife



It’s the end of year and that can only mean one thing: best of lists. The New York Times released its top ten books of the year and one hundred best books. I can’t believe my fucking Bridge Ladies didn’t make it. Or was it published last year.? Who can fucking remember. I never wanted to be on a best books list anyway. Give me an Oscar or give me nothing. And you shall have it in abundance!

What’s on your top worst list besides Dunkirk, Starbucks low fat bacon sandwich and Larry David’s return especially the episode with Salmon Rushdie,


Like a Fool I Went and Stayed Too Long


inkwell-porcelain-blue-signed-louchetTwo first-time authors in the last few months asked my advice about what to sign in people’s books at their readings. For The Forest for the Trees, I wrote: Keep Writing! For Food and Loathing, I wrote: Love and Doughnuts. And for The Bridge Ladies, I’d sometimes write: Don’t forget to pull trump. Or I’d write: Learn Bridge.  Or: Are You My Mother. Or: Get My Daughter Drugs! Or: Fuck me dead.

What do you sign?

You’re Amazing Just the Way You Are


What would it be like to paint or sit in an orchestra pit? Or Bruno Mars moving like silk. What would it be like to audition, stare into the face of a director and casting agent in a darkened theater. You are a monologue, a pair of tap shoes, the horse hair on Cezanne’s brush. You discovered the filament, the fiber, the fringe on a red velvet curtain, burnished and dusty, ropes of gold. You have no idea what your body beholds. You can’t remember your name. You cannot sculpt, or sing, or make anyone laugh.

What do you wish?