Getting booed at Tablet and my first appearance in The Jewish Press

I had a bad feeling when my editor at Tablet — who I really love — sent me an email telling me that my latest essay there (about how I unintentionally set my hand on fire but believe it was no accident) would run on Tisha B’Av.

Being an Orthodox Jew, I pretty much regard that as the worst day of the year, so I was immediately filled with a sense of foreboding. And it now seems I was right to be Continue reading

Story out this week in Binyan: “A Vision of the Future”

The saddest day on the Jewish calendar will be next Tuesday.

Tisha B’Av arrives on Monday night and observant Jews around the world will fast until sunset on Tuesday to commemorate the loss of both Temples in Jerusalem. Many other tragic events have befallen the Jewish people at this time of year, throughout history.

Today, we see war in Israel, and an upsurge of anti-Semitism has popped up across the globe.

A story to help your tween or teen through this tough time

Now, more than ever, we need to unify with both our fellow Jews and with human beings everywhere. The message of my latest story, “A Vision of the Future,” in this week’s Binyan Magazine (inside Hamodia) is just that: Continue reading

Liked Wired for Story? 3 articles about brain science and creativity

I already blogged about the delightful Wired for Story. Recently, I read some other articles about what neuropsychology tells us about writing. I thought I’d share the links to 3 of them with my audience members today.

1) Why do writers while away hours in a cafe?

From Psychology Today: We’ve all heard the jokes about writers hanging out in cafes. (For the comic representation of this trope, see Bo’s Cafe Life.) Does lingering in coffee shops really promote creativity? Continue reading

When you’re sorta on vacation…and sorta not

So, I’ve got a couple kids home with me this week, and two more will be home starting next week. I’ve been spending a lot of time with them doing all sorts of fun stuff — hiking, museum-hopping, long walks — and it’s nice to be doing things other than gazing into my computer screen.

Just when I’d cut back on my writing, the war in Israel started, and my brain’s been feeling a little overloaded by all the bad news. I kept feeling horrified by all the reports, and yet unable to pull myself away from a screen.

Everything in my head feels jumbled up at the moment. Writing has gotten hard for me lately in a way I’m not used to. I’m having problems getting the words to flow. It’s like my brain needs to detox.

This week, I’ve had to leave the computer behind for long stretches, and it will remain that way until September. The only work I will be doing is the most essential, mainly writing episodes of my serial and preparing rewrites requested by editors for already accepted pieces. I’m hoping the little break will help me snap back to normal.

When school resumes in the fall, I’m expecting to work almost full-time, writing. It will be the first time I work full-time at anything other than being a wife and mom since my first child was born. I feel like I need to rest in the coming weeks before this new phase of my life starts.

I’m hoping to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, getting exercise, absorbing smells and scenery and sounds. I’m hoping to enjoy my family, just enjoy them, their company and special-ness. It’s like my creativity needs fuel, and the tank needs to be topped off.

I wish I could stop writing altogether for the rest of the summer, but with the serial looming over me, that’s going to be impossible. So, this vacation isn’t really a vacation. But at least it’s something.

 

And in other publishing news…

I sent a post to Kveller for their Raising Kvell blog, and they published it this week. It’s totally the opposite end of the spectrum from this week’s Tablet piece:

  • non-controversial topic,
  • short,
  • I wrote it and it was published in a week, without the several months of editing required by the other piece.

It’s light and fun, but also meaningful. Check it out. You know, if you wanna…

The new Tablet story my editor is afraid I’m going to get hate mail for

My newest piece is up on Tablet. When I submitted the pitch several months ago to the Life and Religion editor, Wayne Hoffman, he cautioned me: do you really want to do this?

The topic of the essay is a controversial one in the Jewish community — women wearing Tefillin — and he was afraid I’d get a lot of trolls. And probably some genuine hate mail, to boot.

My original proposal was a much wider topic — the denigration of traditional feminine roles by many “feminists” in the Jewish community. I shot off the query letter in a fit of pique after yet another feminist looked down her nose at my lifestyle and basically told me I was so persecuted I didn’t know that I was persecuted.

The first draft was a mess: too big, too venting, too…too…everything.

I have to really give credit to the very special Mr. Hoffman, who asked the right questions and nudged me in the right direction until I could be proud of the resulting essay. We cut most of the first draft, and narrowed the topic considerably, then tried to focus on the positive aspects of the story.

Anyway, I hope you check the essay out and share and comment and all that.