How I met Betsy Lerner

by Tulasi-Priya on Sunday 29 January 2012

This is a bit of a cheat. Okay, it’s a huge cheat. This post isn’t about how I discovered Betsy Lerner. But I have to put something here, so until I write my own Betsy story, I’m throwing it out as a question:

How did you meet Betsy Lerner? By “meet,” I mean, how did you find her blog? As a bonus, you might also share what impelled you to stop lurking and start commenting. I noticed a whole slew of new commenters around the first of January. Maybe it was a New Year’s resolution for some writers: I will stop lurking and start commenting on Betsy Lerner’s blog. What got you to speak up?

That’s it. You can answer in the comments section or make it a post on your own blog, as you like. You don’t have to link to this post, but I’d love it if you do, so I can see how far this flies. You might also want to link to Betsy’s blog, just to let her feel the love.

Is this tacky? Am I ass-kissing? If so, join me; it’ll be fun. Consider it an early Valentine to our darling.

p.s. To all of my four followers: please inform your friends about this, so they can participate also.


Leave a Comment

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Averil January 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Erhm. I don’t actually remember how I found her or why I started commenting. I think I just followed a link and got addicted. To August, as a matter of fact, more than Betsy. I remember reading his comments and feeling this visceral snap, as though he was right there in the room. I have never experienced another writer that way, before or since. He’s got a lot of power; I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to discover where it comes from.


Tulasi-Priya January 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Yeah, well, August is a big part of the blog’s appeal, of course, but I read it everyday whether he shows up or not. If it goes on too long without him, I start getting nervous. What makes it worse is that I don’t have CLUE as to who he is. I have more knowledge of God Almighty than I do of Auggie. It just ain’t right.

Hmm . . . the source of his power. I think it’s the same source for everybody. He just lets it flow more freely than most of us. He’s also got this primal, animal/masculine, angry edge to his literariness (which is more a feminine quality). That combination is irresistible, no?

Actually, I think I know what the fascination is: you and he are very much alike. Eros and logos, playing off each other. He manifests the eros more in his overall manner, yours more in the words you write and the pictures that illustrate them. I think that that’s true to some degree for anyone who is fascinated by August.

The thing that’s between us is fascination, and the fascination resides in our being alike. Whether you’re a man or a woman, the fascination resides in finding out that we’re alike.

—Marguerite Duras

Don’t steal this, Averil (or anybody else); I’m using it for a future blog post.


Averil Dean January 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Yes, he’s more male than any man has a right to be. Must be all that porn.

And of course, I love Betsy now too. And Tetman, Teri, you and Shanna and MSB and CJ. Well, we could go down my blog roll and you’d see that almost all of my buddies came from Betsy. Our mama. She gave me a whole sandbox full of playmates, and I’m grateful to her every day. I didn’t realize how starved for friendship I was before I suddenly had friends.

Do you think we’d still be friends if we were real?


Averil Dean January 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Gawd. Typos.


CJ January 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I subscribed to Publishers Marketplace way back in ’09 when I was first agent hunting and followed a link from there to her blog. Posted right away. Relieved to find an agent who wrote well.


CJ January 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Now I go back for the writers I’ve met there–Averil, Teri, Shanna, MSB, you TP, Schitree in Scotland, not August I must confess. he has energy but sometimes what he actually says I find downright convoluted. Perhaps that’s passion, perhaps it’s reactionary. I’m interested most in strong female voices.


Harry iPants January 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I’m not someone who can ‘learn’ easily. My way of doing things, including writing, is to Not Think, Clear Your Mind, Float and Dream.
So, I always hated all learn to write books. Stephen King’s was great, it wasn’t full of crap.
Then for some reason, I was drawn to Betsy’s. Maybe it was the name, the colour, I don’t know. I picked it up, opened to a random page, and of course, Betsy sang to me in ways that no-one ever had.
I read the book, It helped me to understand me better than before.
A few months later, I read it again, then thought I’d have a look at her blog.
I’d never been interested in blogging, but at that time, my girlfriend had just started suggesting that I blog, which I thought was silly.
But Betsy got me in. Her intelligent posts got me thinking, and I found myself answering her questions, so I set up my own blog, just to answer for real.
And from there I found all you other amazing people, some of you something like me. It helps me to breathe.
It’s not that I don’t have friends in real life. I do. But not ones like me.
I wonder if Betsy even realises how much of a difference she’s made.
I hope so.


MacDougalStreetBaby January 31, 2012 at 5:11 am

I had finished Just Kids and felt a sudden pang to connect with Patti Smith, the need to share experiences happening often with me. When I Googled her, I found Betsy. I’m always fascinated when the path you thought you were following leads you somewhere entirely different. I agree with Harripants. All of this, all of you, help me to breathe.


independent clause February 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

MSB, your writing about Patti Smith is how I remember “meeting” you. It totally struck me. (I once was told I looked like Patti Smith, which I considered, and decided to take as a compliment. That and she likes men’s jackets as much as I do.)


Virginia Llorca February 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I don’t remember, but that is how I met you. I think I always commented.


Deb February 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hey TP, it’s me. Always late. I followed a link at SheWrites to Betsy. I was feeling abondoned and lost in a dark Finnish winter. I was trying to write, but couldn’t squeeze out a word. It helped to feel a connection somewhere. I think you were already there. I made some stupid comments, but didn’t get reamed, which was nice. Then Downith and I made a connection, then I moved back to the US and met Averil. And so it went.

I’ve always loved your compassion and wisdom and am so glad you’re putting your writing out here.


Tulasi-Priya February 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm

You MET Averil? Like, in person? Face to face? I’m jealous.


Deb February 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I wish! No, just seen about the web.


Averil Dean February 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Oh brother. The pair of you would be so disappointed.

The only one of us I’ve met–the only writer I’ve ever met, period–is Teri. She is BEAUTIFUL. One of the prettiest people I’ve ever met, and a complete sweetheart. You should be jealous of me.


CJ February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I am jealous of you.


Hope February 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

I can’t exactly remember how I found Betsy’s blog, either. Probably from SheWrites. But I remember meeting her when Forest For the Trees came out the first time–meaning that my friend, Linny, gave me a copy of the book, and I read it like I might read the Bible, if I were prone to do that.

I suppose I’m one of the lurkers who finally started commenting in January. Actually, I wasn’t lurking that long after becoming a regular reader. I think I finally commented after someone posted something rather inflammatory, but instead of getting hammered by the regulars, she was treated very nicely. Suddenly I realized there was a real community among the commenters. I’ve been uprooted too many times in my life and I crave community. Maybe that’s why.


Previous post:

Next post: