Posted on September 15, 2013 by betsylerner
Just want to mention that I spent four hours in Temple and forgot to atone. Spent the entire time thinking about writing, my writing, the writing of others, the cover of the NYT book review, a new client I shook hands with, the way my eyes feel most of the time which is dry and achy and sometimes slightly pulsing. The lady in front of me had a lace doily folded in the shape of a piece of pie and pinned to her head with a bobby pin. But it came loose and the pleats on the doily were hanging precariously off her head, the bobby pin also hanging on for dear life. Really, pray for my sins and pray for the dead with all that going on? Please, ladies, attend to your doilies! I beg of you.
What distracts you from yourself?
Filed under: neurosis, The End of the World as We Know It, Writing | Tagged: doilies, writing, Yom Kippur | 31 Comments »
Posted on September 1, 2013 by betsylerner
Did you finish your memoir, your novel, one lousy stinking poem? Did you read War and Peace? Rescue a dog? Yourself? Did you jump on the Yonana craze? Lose a notebook with all of your best work? Did you pick peaches? Fuck your wife? Fuck up your life? Did you take up cycling? Wonder why you couldn’t write. Did you talk to a woman at the farm stand? Was your family trapped by a rabid raccoon who attacked your dog and bit off half your finger? Did you think about everyone who died? Did you imagine their airless life? Did you give money to the guy at the entrance to the highway because his sign said he was hungry and for once you felt more compassion than fear? What does it take to write the sentences of your life? To live inside the mole hole? And come out with that grin on your stupid dirty face.
What did you do on your summer vacation?
Filed under: self-loathing, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing | Tagged: despair, peaches, raccoons, Summer, vacation | 59 Comments »
Posted on August 11, 2013 by betsylerner
Went to a museum today, saw some paintings that could have been old friends. Went to a play and fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke a young man shouted something about jumping into the Danube, and then the actors came out and bowed to to weak applause. The painting is impervious to my feeling; is that possible? And what about the double play, the white cotton nightgown with spaghetti string straps? A Japanese bowl perfectly decorated with blue pansies. Is it likely that painting coffins in rust and red, the painter dreamed his death by his own hand? Or the beautiful rear end of a woman in an orange towel making a bed, packing a suitcase. This is the story I tell myself. A grandmother in a yellow sari dotted with mirrors the size of quarters stands beside Christina’s World as her daughter snaps a picture on her iPad. The actor playing Wittgenstein is almost dashing. He is the last thing I see before I fall asleep.
4:40 a.m. Anyone up?
Filed under: Survey, The End of the World as We Know It | Tagged: Birthday, Hopper, Rothko, Wittgenstein, Wyeth | 33 Comments »
Posted on July 31, 2013 by betsylerner
August. The month of my birth. The month of Helter SKelter. The month Jerry died. Guess who’s elevating? August, the beloved curmudgeon, cursing out some feckless bank teller. Vivian, creative genius pottering. Stacy Horn back to press. SSS on it. What was the world we had? Slipped away. Came back when most expected. Least longed for or the other way around. I am waiting for a kiss. A sweet embrace against a brick wall where we made out in 1985 and 1986 and then broke up and I wrote four last songs. What about two solid weeks to revise the document I call Fuckmedead. What about a dog’s leg resting in the crook of your arm? When did wheelhouse come into the parlay? Not in my mental house. Not in this physical body. I have lost the thread. So what? The thread lost me.
Are lost, lonely, bitter, broken? Are you a real writer?
Filed under: Uncategorized | 37 Comments »
Posted on July 7, 2013 by betsylerner
I didn’t know David Rakoff well, but that didn’t matter. Whenever I ran into him, always in the Village, he made me feel like a long lost friend. That was just one of his great gifts. And when we promised we would get together, have lunch, in that beautifully insincere New York way, that was okay, too. Because David made you feel so good and laugh so hard in those ten or so minutes that you chatted, you felt this crazy love and inexplicable closeness to someone you later realized you didn’t know all that well. Once, when I asked how his writing was going, he said it like pulling pulling teeth, then his famously arched eyebrow preparing the punchline: out of his dick. I thought he said this spontaneously, just to me. Later, I would learn that this was one of his signature lines. Author, actor, mime, wit, clown, deeply subversive, elegant, and though he would hate to hear me say it because it sounds so pretentious, profound.
This morning I read this article about him and I couldn’t stop crying. He died a year ago, on my birthday. There is no connection in that tragic coincidence. And yet I grasp for anything, astonished that we are mourning him at 47. That his greatest work is being published posthumously. So when I cry and whimper about how poorly my own work is going, at least for now I will try to remember that I have the opportunity to try harder, that I have life in me, and health. That every mundane task is something I can appreciate, like this morning, doing the laundry, separating the dark from the light.
Filed under: Uncategorized | 26 Comments »