Betsy Robinson, author of funny literary stories about flawed people, is a perpetual seeker of truth.

From books to music to theater and fine art, from online TV to DVDs, this blog takes a look at current culture through a spiritual perspective ó with a touch of humor.

Materials under the "review" tag are a mix of free review copies (books, DVDs, etc.) in exchange for a review, to library copies, to materials and tickets I've paid for.


A Really Bad Hair Day (Feb. 13 blog)

The Art of Collapsing (Feb. 6 blog)

Life is only temporary says Evan Handler (Jan. 28 blog)

The New World of Finance (Jan. 28 blog)

All about growing up in a cult (April 16 blog)

Fierce Giving (Jan. 8 blog)

(Copyright © 2008-2014 Betsy Robinson. All rights reserved)

Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Why I Didnít Write the Great American Novel Last Week

February 2, 2009

Tags: Unemployment, Cost Cutting, fun

I would have. Really. I have a great idea and I even started on it about a month ago after I got canned from my job. (Please donít tell the Unemployment Office, because they might dock me for self-employment.) I wrote a few pages on the computer, but then the sound of the fan ó that relentless mechanical shriek ó made me stop. Then I wrote some pages longhand, but I ended up with so many cross-outs and arrows that I couldnít read it.

Then there was the man in my bathroom. Just try doing your morning ablutions with a tile guy three inches away renovating the apartment on the other side of your wall. Bathroom rituals and writing go hand in hand, so no way could I write the great American novel last week.

I would have written after the workmen left for the day, but I had to spend time being angry at Bernie Madoff and all those guys on Wall Street who took million dollar bonuses. Then I had to worry about finding a job because I donít have a million dollars because thatís what the Unemployment Office says Iím supposed to be doing. (Damn that Unemployment Office!)

Then I had to worry about what might happen if I donít find a job, and thatís when I thought, wow, what if I got a surprise phone call from the MacArthur Foundation naming me a genius? After all, if I concentrate on it like they say in The Secret, thatís a real possibility. And concentrating took up so much time, how could I be expected to write?

After I got done concentrating on my MacArthur grant, I had to lie down on my couch and think about eating to restore my energy: to cook soup or make a salad; or perhaps to buy fixings for soup and salad. And by the time I was finished thinking about those things, my goodness, it was time to walk my dog. So I just didnít have time to write.

Then I discovered that the reason my new state-of-the-recession cost-saving magicJack phone connection made everybody sound as if they were speaking with a vibrato from the bottom of a well is not that the gadget is inherently bad; itís that it was drooping. Itís a heavy little thing, and its girth caused it to slant coming out of the USB port in my computer. I propped its fat chrome housing up with my little Swingline stapler that Iíve had since I was 12, and suddenly the connection was so clear that I had to make amends by telephoning all the people Iíd complained to.

And thatís why I didnít write the great American novel last week.

Maybe this week.

Selected Works

Big Moose Prize-winning novel
a funny, sometimes sad, story of negotiating life without a clue

New on Kindle--a funny book for foodies who are committed to self-change through self-awareness
an epistolary memoir ... sort of
A funny and moving little book for anyone who's had a mother or struggled with being human.
anthology of stories and plays
includes Darleen Dances and stories below

1-act play

short story
the problem with worrying about the future

true story
Why I don't believe in death.

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