Betsy Robinson

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Betsy Robinson

Goodreads Author


Born
in New York City, The United States
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Member Since
March 2011

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I grew up in New York's Hudson Valley and have lived in New York City for forty-five years. I was an actor for more than a decade and did an amazing array of ridiculous jobs to support that art. Then I became a magazine writer and editor. Now I am a book editor specializing in spiritual and psychological topics. But I write fiction--specifically, funny literary novels about flawed people. My novel The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg won Black Lawrence Press's 2013 Big Moose Prize and was published in September 2014. My first novel, Plan Z by Leslie Kove , won Mid-List Press's First Novel Series award and was published in 2001.

Radio host Jonathan Schwartz tells an anecdote about Stephen Sondheim: When asked if he was happy about
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Betsy Robinson That is very weird. Something has gone amiss and I've alerted Black Lawrence Press. It's listed on Amazon for more than $100 from another seller. But…moreThat is very weird. Something has gone amiss and I've alerted Black Lawrence Press. It's listed on Amazon for more than $100 from another seller. But while this is getting sorted out, you can buy it directly from the publisher at http://www.blacklawrence.com/the-last...

Thanks for alerting me to this problem!(less)
Betsy Robinson The Goodreads site is very confusing. When you rated the book, a pop-up would have come up asking if you wanted to review it, but it is very easy to…moreThe Goodreads site is very confusing. When you rated the book, a pop-up would have come up asking if you wanted to review it, but it is very easy to miss. Now that you've already rated it, try going to https://www.goodreads.com/review/list.... That is the list of books you've rated. I suspect on the far right side of the listing, there will be options to view and edit the listing. Choose edit, and insert a review to go with your rating. I hope this works.(less)
Average rating: 3.88 · 227 ratings · 103 reviews · 7 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Last Will & Testament o...

4.23 avg rating — 52 ratings — published 2014
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Conversations with Mom: An ...

4.25 avg rating — 16 ratings — published 2011 — 4 editions
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Plan Z by Leslie Kove

3.45 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 2001 — 2 editions
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Jakey, Get Out of the Buggy

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 6 ratings2 editions
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Girl Stories & Game Plays: ...

4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2005 — 2 editions
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The Trouble with the Truth

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3.72 avg rating — 139 ratings — published 2015 — 3 editions
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The Practice: Dee and Bea's...

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4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2017
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More books by Betsy Robinson…
The new documentary about Mister (Fred) Rogers, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, could not be more timely. Some of the seasoned professionals at the Directors Guild screening last night wept—with longing. Mister Rogers's message was simple: Be Kind. A Presbyterian minister, Fred Rogers never "preached." He just loved. He looked deeply into the eyes of children and said, "I like you just the way you a... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on June 08, 2018 21:00 • 8 views

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The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
" Julie wrote: "Antoinette: Yes. You want to read this book."

Ditto.
"
Betsy Robinson and 170 other people liked Matthew's review of The Virgin Suicides:
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
"I had to take some time after reading this and do some deep thinking before I could review. It is such an unusual story - good, but dark and full of nooks and crannies for skeletons and other vermin to hide. It is hard to say I enjoyed a story lik..." Read more of this review »
Betsy Robinson and 4 other people liked Kelli's review of The Virgin Suicides:
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
"Disturbing, engrossing, extremely well-written. I felt like I went back in time, like I was there, like I was hiding in the next room while my brothers and their friends plotted and spied and dreamed. Simply amazing writing, though not the most up..." Read more of this review »
Betsy Robinson and 7 other people liked Susan's review of The Virgin Suicides:
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
"Set sometime in the early 1970’s in a Michigan suburb, this is the disturbing story of five sisters who all commit suicide over a year. Told from the point of view of a group of neighbourhood boys, now men, who were infatuated by the girls, it is..." Read more of this review »
Betsy Robinson made a comment on her review of Eggshells
Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
" Mike wrote: "Wonderful review, Betsy. glad to see you enjoyed this one so much."

Thanks, Mike. Wonderful book.
"
Betsy Robinson rated a book it was amazing
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides
by Jeffrey Eugenides
recommended to Betsy Robinson by: Julie
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All readers bring to their identifications their histories, and in this book, who you identify with—the voyeurs or the object of their voyeurism—may inform your reactions. If you identify with the people who are looking, you may feel uneasy, uncomfor
...more
Betsy Robinson and 51 other people liked Debbie's review of The Mars Room:
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
"When a friend asked me whether I liked the book I was reading, I told her, “It’s refreshing! A novel about women in prison!” I was dead serious. It was only after my friend was losing it, laughing so hard, that I realized how weird my comment was...." Read more of this review »
The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg by Jimmy Misfit
" Is it Kafka-esque, Larry? "
Betsy Robinson started reading
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides
by Jeffrey Eugenides
recommended to Betsy Robinson by: Julie
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Nothing But the Night by John  Williams
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More of Betsy's books…
“Dear Mom,
I'm as tight as a girdle. How do I accept love?
--B

Dear Potato Face,
Just say 'thank you,' then shut up.
--M”
Betsy Robinson, Conversations with Mom: An Aging Baby Boomer, in Need of an Elder, Writes to Her Dead Mother

“When I see heavy dramas with no comic relief, I don't think they're honest. I don't think people go through life miserable all the time; in fact, if you're very miserable, you giggle a lot at the oddest things."
--Carl Reiner in "The Trib”
Carl Reiner

“I mean, if you have any idea of any kind of complexity or immensity or destiny, of general order, you're put in a position of nothingness. And I think this is true. I don't think I'm anything; I never have thought that. Whatever it is that activates it is a certain kind of energy that goes on. But the effect is ridiculous; it's absurd."
--Lincoln Kirstein in "The New Yorker”
Lincoln Kirstein

“The longer I am a writer--so long now that my writing finger is periodically numb--the better I understand what writing is; what its function is; what it is supposed to do. I learn that the writer's pen is a microphone held up to the mouths of ancestors and even stones of long ago. That once given permission by the writer--a fool, and so why should one fear?--horses, dogs, rivers, and, yes, chickens can step forward and expound on their lives. The magic of this is not so much in the power of the microphone as in the ability of the nonhuman object or animal to BE and the human animal to PERCEIVE ITS BEING.”
Alice Walker, Living by the Word

“The spiral is a spiritualized circle. In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

“You must remember what you are and what you have chosen to become, and the significance of what you are doing. There are wars and defeats and victories of the human race that are not military and that are not recorded in the annals of history. Remember that while you're trying to decide what to do.”
John Williams, Stoner

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This book club has been around for more than five years and we have read everything from " The Kite Runner" to "Jane Eyre". This is not a stuffy book ...more



Comments (showing 38-87)    post a comment »

message 87: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Paul wrote: "Hi Betsy,

Caught your cameo in Secaucus 7 today. Very cool. I hope you had a good time doing it.
I was surprised that the film held my interest after all these years. Some of the dialogue was awkw..."

Hi Paul, glad you enjoyed it. I had a great time doing it. A bunch of those people were my college time friends.


message 86: by Paul

Paul Secor Hi Betsy,

Caught your cameo in Secaucus 7 today. Very cool. I hope you had a good time doing it.
I was surprised that the film held my interest after all these years. Some of the dialogue was awkward but, overall, it came across as more than just a product of its time.
I was also surprised to see an interview with John Sayles on the DVD in which he said that he didn't think that The Big Chill ripped off Secaucus. I always felt that Kasdan took the premise of Secaucus, slicked up the characters, gave them higher financial status, and ran with it.


message 85: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Paul wrote: "Hi Betsy,

Thanks for the friend request. Good to know that we share a love for A Confederacy of Dunces and Percival Everett's books. Our opinions on Stoner differ, but that's ok. A number of my ot..."


Paul wrote: "Hi Betsy,

Thanks for the friend request. Good to know that we share a love for A Confederacy of Dunces and Percival Everett's books. Our opinions on Stoner differ, but that's ok. A number of my ot..."


Thanks for accepting the friend request, Paul. I grew up in Briarcliff Manor, NY, and I have friends around where you are. One of the actors in Secaucus (we share my one scene in that movie--a bar scene; I'm the girl who's not so bright) lives in New Paltz, and he has a new poetry collection out which is pretty good. I'm not a poetry reader, but I liked this little book. It has a sense of humorA Swindler's Grace. I look forward to sharing more Percival Everett with you. --Betsy


message 84: by Paul

Paul Secor Hi Betsy,

Thanks for the friend request. Good to know that we share a love for A Confederacy of Dunces and Percival Everett's books. Our opinions on Stoner differ, but that's ok. A number of my other Goodreads friends love it, and that's part of why we're here - to share opinions.
Interesting that you grew up in the Hudson Valley. I've lived in the Hudson Valley for most of my life.
Also, I saw Return of the Secaucus 7 years ago in a theatre in New Paltz and liked it very much. I'll have to watch it again and see what my present day reaction is.
Happy reading (and writing).
Regards, Paul


message 83: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Big Brother wrote: "Hi Betsy, thanks for the friend invite. Looking forward for the friend-invite. Love the dog in comment 65 below ."

We can name the dog "Loki"! Nice to make your acquaintance, Big Brother.


Sidharth Vardhan Hi Betsy, thanks for the friend invite. Looking forward for the friend-invite. Love the dog in comment 65 below .


message 81: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Mike wrote: "Thanks for the friend invite the other day, Betsy. Looking forward to perusing your book shelves and future discussions. Happy reading in the mean time."

Same to you, Mike.


message 80: by Mike

Mike Thanks for the friend invite the other day, Betsy. Looking forward to perusing your book shelves and future discussions. Happy reading in the mean time.


message 79: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson James wrote: "Hey Betty,

Thanks for the friend request"


Thanks for accepting, James. --Betsy


message 78: by James

James Hey Betty,

Thanks for the friend request


message 77: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson I've added "Read Book" excerpts to all my books. Just discovered this nifty feature. I'm a little slow. The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson Conversations with Mom An Aging Baby Boomer, in Need of an Elder, Writes to Her Dead Mother by Betsy Robinson Girl Stories & Game Plays An Anthology of Stories and Plays by Betsy Robinson Plan Z by Leslie Kove by Betsy Robinson


message 76: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson I took my dead mother, author of The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth to BookExpo America this year, and I wrote about it: http://www.fiftyisthenewfifty.com/a-c...


message 75: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson If anyone is coming to BookExpo America, please visit me. I'll be manning the Editorial Freelancers Assoc. booth on 5/28 from 1 to 5. It's booth # 2732.


message 74: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson I watched an episode of Younger where the protagonist, who works in publishing, takes a book from the slush pile, reads it, likes it, shares a PDF with her book club, who then write about it on Goodreads! Where did the book cover come from? How come nobody asked the author -- whose name does not exist in this plot -- about permission?


message 73: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Just published an essay on RewireMe.com. My Dogged Life. All about what I learned from my maltese Rosie, who used to be my mother's dog and therefore my sister, but then came to me, so she was my baby. Complicated relationship...


message 72: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Just posted on Barnes & Noble's blog: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/tw...


message 71: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson A lovely review for The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson my mother, Edna Robinson's novel at the Historical Novel Society: http://historicalnovelsociety.org/rev...


message 70: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: The beachfront was deserted and iridescent under the moon. We could hear our feet slushing through the sand and the soft splash of the water. The sand was still warm from the day’s sun, so I sat down on it and scooped great handfuls, letting it pour languorously through my fingers. Arthur stood, watching me.
15% off for first person who uses code MQ2QT5YV126YX at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-t...



message 68: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg:
I slept comfortably on two child’s single beds pushed together, covered by one blue and purple and yellow and orange butterfly quilt. I had lost most of my clothes in Mrs. Mendelson’s fire, so I stored my meager wardrobe in a small maple armoire.



message 67: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: Sometimes we would have enough room there for all the stuff. But most times, living room chair space was yielded for crates of Dresden china and Danish glassware and stacks of original editions supported by ornate silver candlesticks and clocks and gilt-framed nudes and landscapes and Chinese flowers.



message 66: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: It's impossible to hold in one tiny human brain.



message 65: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson I wrote The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg because I needed a good laugh. I got laid off from my editing job when the recession hit, and I needed a story to channel all the emotions I felt: resentment, hurt, anger, etc. Writing this book was completely exhilarating and fun. Here's me when I'm writing.



message 64: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg:
“Yes,” said Don Pedro, looking at me from his doorway.
“How do you do?” said I. And when he didn’t answer, “I have a weight problem.”
“You are very fat,” he said, gesturing for me to come into his house.
The doorway opened into a sunny, plant-filled parlor decorated with earth-toned art that I assumed he had brought from Ecuador. This was not what I had expected.



message 63: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: When you were dead, you didn’t know you were dead. And then, though we didn’t say so, we both thought of our mother, who neither of us could remember, and all of a sudden we were holding hands.


message 62: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Q: Zelda McFigg, I understand you are relentlessly promoting your new memoir, The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg. Why on earth should people spend their hard-earned money on fiction?!

A: Dearest Idiot, To answer, I will defer to a fellow thespian, auteur, and original thinker, Mr. John Waters:

"Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. And don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! And for goodness sake, read Zelda McFigg."

Now guess which part of that is fiction.



message 61: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: “Catherine, won’t you please sit down?” my father said. “It may be quite a wait.” She perched on a corner of the sofa, grasping its arm with clawed fingers. Her cheeks looked like cement. “Try to relax, Catherine,” he said more kindly.



message 60: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson "We are the one part of creation that knows what it's like to live in exile and that ability to turn your face toward home is one of the great human endeavors and great human stories." —David Whyte
15% discount for first person to enter code RCSFQ1VV9FLTP on http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-l...


message 59: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson 25-yr anniversary of Edna's death—from Editor's Note to The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: The visions of my mother perched on a black iron chair with a quilted back, in the upstairs “study” of our custom-designed Ed Barnes house, are burned into my childhood memory. The flat-roofed, square-box, unheatable construction, with huge picture windows, no curtains, and a kitchen the size of a closet bore no resemblance to the traditional homes on our dead-end street.


Life changed, jobs changed, sickness came, and on March 26, 1990, my mother succumbed to leukemia and emphysema. She never got to publish this novel, or the one she was working on when she died. She left all her manuscripts to me…


message 58: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: My mother, who was a morning person, never understood my waking fear. As far back as I can remember I’ve had it: At the buzz of the alarm clock, I’d be electrocuted into consciousness, my heart in my mouth.



message 57: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: “We have caramelized onion brie en croutes, crab cakes, and lamb kibbeh on warm pita bread,” said Dean Pruitt, pointing to a setting of sterling silver platters on his sideboard. “And please help yourselves to drinks. You must be parched after the drive.” Donny, Templeton, and Peggy crowded around the sideboard filling their plates, while I held back, observing as a mentor should.



message 56: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: The photograph album of my memory is monotonous: First, me—skinny, stringy-haired at various ages, but always pale with fear—standing in front of some strange woman’s desk, offering a progressively dirtier, more cluttered card of transfer. Then, me—in a party dress, hostess at a birthday party—smiling emphatically into the half circle of my small guests, whose faces I had seen once before in my life. My father’s recipe for blending us quickly into each community was to throw a birthday party for Ben or me, and invite our whole class the day after we joined it. Some years Ben and I celebrated as many as four birthdays apiece.


message 55: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson All these comments are about the same book and character The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson:



message 54: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: As he took a mouthful of the highball Hubert had just delivered, my father’s face went humorless. I invited Louise to come with me to the kitchen to get some ice cream. “Darling, do make it a smallish portion,” her mother called after us.


message 53: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: Walt Edelman was shorter than I, a gnome-like thing with over-sized bleached teeth protruding from a flaccid, ever-flapping behemoth mouth. Imagine that over-rated ingénue Julia Roberts’s mouth on a four-foot boy with an under-sized cantaloupe head, topped by spiky, over-processed brown hair and tortoise-shell eyeglasses. This is what I had to contend with every day in seventh-grade English class. Is it any wonder I lost control?


message 52: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: I'd endured one-and-a-half long months of invisibility and discontent when, as the temperature—and I—approached a broiling point, I came to a momentous insight: I knew what was wrong with me. I was almost fifteen, yet still had not experienced a love affair!


message 51: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson I have always wanted to own a bookstore. I worked in one during high school. I have transcended my bias against the amazonians and have used their tool to finally have my dream: a teeny tiny shoppe. Betsy's Books : books by authors who write funny, well, movingly, authentically, or are just plain entertaining


message 50: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: Donny was to be at his dean’s residence in Trumbull College at twelve o’clock…“If I’d have known I’d be stuck in a stinky car for five friggin hours, I wouldn’t have come,” announced Peggy as she pushed open the door. “What is this, a friggin castle? Is this where you’re going to live, Donny? Why don’t you get a place off campus so at least we can have some privacy when I visit? God, my skirt is all wrinkled. Where is the bathroom?”


message 49: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: When anyone asks me where I’m from, to save time, and because we lived there the longest, I say Winding Hill. We lived in a stark, square, white stone building with twenty rooms—ten huge and ten tiny—set on a plateau halfway up Winding Hill Road, like an enormous headstone.



message 48: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: Principal Appleton was also the shop teacher, and his office served for both positions … His desk was an ongoing construction that shop students added to during the first class of each new year. “Watch out for the table saw,” he warned, directing for me to take a seat.


message 47: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Some really fun questions in this interview at AndiLit: What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood? What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?


message 46: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: “The picture had been about a very poor, beautiful maid (Loretta Young—uniforms by Adrian) who falls in love with the very rich, handsome son of her employers (Robert Taylor—referred to three times by other characters as “the scion of a wealthy industrialist”) and the difficulties (there were four of them) they have in readjusting their social inequality. The theme of the vehicle was that Robert Taylor photographed very well smiling, but that Loretta Young looked best smiling through tears.”


message 45: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson Zelda McFigg, star of The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg, finally attracts the audience she craves!


message 44: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: “I soon learned that job opportunities for ex-temp/ex-thespian/ex-prop mistress persons were few, so, ignoring my antipathy for children, I gratefully accepted the post of part-time hall monitor in the Moose Country Middle School System.”


message 43: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: “I whispered that my brother and I, and a sister, had been welded together before our birth. Ben was bigger than I was since our sister and I were so weak from fighting with him to get free, that when we had broken off, we had to be stuffed back into our mother.”


message 42: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: “Posthaste and predawn I vacated my emergency shelter at the Crappy Motel (not its real name), leaving an IOU along with an extremely apologetic note, and I used my remaining funds to purchase a bus ticket to the northern regions where talk was minimal, housing much cheaper, and the main industries were snowmobiles and moose.”


message 41: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth: “A family of males—dominating or unprotective as they may be—was no blessing to a female intent on magnetizing the attention of other males—males who would value her for who she really was.”


message 40: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: “All right, class, will you please step down from your desks and windowsills?” I implored my third period class. “Be seated please!”



message 39: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson These look like our TV in 1958 when Edna Robinson wrote The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson The Trouble with the Truth. First person to use code KGKQ9V2EE1B93 on BN.com will get 15% off the book. On your mark, get set: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-t...


message 38: by Betsy

Betsy Robinson From The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg by Betsy Robinson The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg: After eight years of temp work to pay for my own tiny apartment and my no-longer-free acting classes with Matilda’s ex-boyfriend; after a string of successful performances as all manner of creatures and sentient inanimate objects in the ex-boyfriend’s experimental avant-garde showcase (no pay) theatre productions; after acting daily in this adventure called life, I just knew I was ready for Broadway.


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