21. Sociable Bridge: We need a bridge-club-based novel

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My dream scenario for the future of sociable bridge is that some good mass appeal novelist write a blockbuster in which she creates a fictional, decades-lasting bridge club as the gimmick around which to structure the novel and tell the story. With enough sociable bridge atmospherics to intrigue readers into taking up the game.

Here’s a ready-made scenario for any latent novelists out there, in a column by Mark Hare out of the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York.  It’s about a decades-lasting bridge group that began at Eastman Kodak Company in 1968 when they were hired right out of college for a new kind of job with great opportunities for women–computer programming.

They drift into having lunch together and decide to learn to play bridge on their lunch hour, which evolves into their bridge club and meeting one Thursday a month at one another’s homes–ever after. One of  the ten died in August, which was perhaps the event that triggered this evocative column about a group of women whose lives take different paths but in which “the bridge club was a constant.”

The column’s title, however, “Playing bridge was never their purpose” is totally inappropriate for its content. It must have been written by some editorial staff person who never played bridge (I once read that, crazy as it sounds, even famous columnists like George Will don’t get to write the titles for their columns).

Copy/paste http://www.democratandchronicle.com/fdcp/?unique=1319116821213 to read it yourself.

If you yearn to write a novel and are looking for a plot device? Here it is. Even a series of novels. The lives of ten women over four decades from new college graduate in a new and exciting job field, thru marriages, children, divorces, surviving until the death of one of them over 40 years later triggers this column–and their once-a-month bridge club meetings as the “structure” to tell the story.

Being a political junkie, if I could write a novel, I’d parallel the stories of the women employed by Eastman with what happened to their jobs and Eastman Kodak over those 45 years — last I heard Eastman Kodak was a casualty of globalization. Would give your novel gravitas along with bridge!

Perhaps that title-writing editor justified his title by this phrase from the column, “bridge has always been incidental to their gatherings.” And it is true, the column is about more than bridge–it’s about the changing roles of working women for one thing, life changes, and one death.

I say, while bridge may have seemed to be incidental, without the bridge game begun as a lunchtime diversion by a bunch of 20-somethings in their first job out of college, that group of ten would have scattered long long ago. Having ten members of a two-table bridge club was a plus for survival–members always have a couple of subs to call on if they can’t play that month.

Bridge is the great creator of four and five decade-long clubs! And that’s because . . .

1. It’s the best card game in the world even if you play casually and forget what’s trump–never boring.

2. Your presence is so needed whether a one, two or three-table club, it encourages group loyalty.

Please, somebody out there! Write that bridge club saga!







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