Posted on January 26, 2017 by betsylerner
Just finished my last reading on this mini-tour. I finally caved and got a Kit Kat. I’m crashing. It’s hard not to hate on myself. In fact, the better I do, the more I hate. It’s just an old song, a sad reflex, a folie a deux between me and myself. And it’s not all that bad either, just a familiar old friend showing up when you least need it. No mini bar. MSNBC 24/7. A young woman asked why I went into publishing instead of becoming a writer. Why did I become a bicycle instead of a fish? I have to get out of this dress.
How am I doing?
I need to get out of this dress.
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Posted on January 25, 2017 by betsylerner
Today was a double-header. A reading in the morning and the evening. That’s a lot of Bridge and Betsy. I’m chillin’ now with MSNBC in an overly warm hotel room in Fort Lauderdale. No mini bar. I love the ladies who turn out for these events. They’re major readers and book buyers. It’s easy to make them laugh. They come with their stories of daughters who don’t talk to them, mothers who criticized.They ask a lot of the same questions: what does my mother think; has my daughter read the book, how long did it take to write? Are you working something else? Tonight a first: a fan gave me doobie!!! My mother was not amused.
What did your mother do to you?
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Posted on January 24, 2017 by betsylerner
In a few days, I’m meeting with six students in a MFA program for one-on-one sessions to talk about their writing. They have each turned in twenty pages of their novels-in-progress. I read the pages today and was struck by a few different things. First, the pieces were diverse. When I was in graduate school, everyone wanted to be Raymond Carver or Anne Beatty. Everyone was trying to write the same story. These students were all over the place: sci-fi, elliptical structure, parallel stories, confessional, absurdist and one I can’t describe. It was the stippling of a trout, a column of stacked clouds, a choppy sea dotted with grey-blue seals. They all seemed free.
What kind of writer are you?
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Posted on January 22, 2017 by betsylerner
Buckled down this weekend and got some serious revision done. For me the key is putting the pages down for a week or so and looking at them fresh. Putting the pages down, stepping away from the car, is really hard. Losing a connection with your work is kind of terrifying. What if you can’t reconnect? What if, when you check in, it’s an unmitigated disaster? Some writers say it’s all about the revision.
What say you?
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Posted on January 18, 2017 by betsylerner
Who’s still in therapy? Not me, but I need it more than ever. Here’s why I won’t go back: I’m tired of the moi. I see all the therapists of Christmas past dancing in front of my eyes, mocking me. I see the couches and vacations in Turks and Cakes that I paid for. I think about all the pain that pools into an hour, the Persian carpets whose threads I counted. I might as well start smoking and drinking again. Coke Zero. You have to stand up sometimes. Sometimes strength means asking for help.
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Posted on January 17, 2017 by betsylerner
I cleaned my desk today and organized a desk drawer. That should give you some indication of the suck ass day I had trying to patch a few sentences together. Why am I alive? Why do I want to do this more than anything else? Why can’t I ever be happy? I wish I went by Elizabeth. Betsy Barrett Browning. Betsy Harwick. Betsy Bishop. Betsy Gaskell. I wish I went to Nova Scotia after grad school and married a potter. I actually separated large from small paper clips. I threw away pens that dried up and pencils that went stale.
How be you?
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Posted on January 16, 2017 by betsylerner
Big front page article about how much reading means to President Obama. As if it didn’t already hurt enough that this beautiful man was leaving office. This man who loves Shakespeare, and Emerson and Toni Morrison. He invited five writers to the White House: Colson Whitehead, Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith and Junot Diaz. I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the list and not just because it didn’t include me. I feel like the list could have been a little more provocative, different genres, or just weird.
What five writers would you invite to the White House?
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