I’m baaaaack…

I’m still not entirely back into my writing schedule, but Passover is over, and the kids are back in school.

Returning to writing after a yom tov is always a bit sketchy, but Passover is the worst. The prolonged break — due to the need to clean for the holiday, shop, plan and cook the meals, and then celebrate the entire 8 days — somehow transforms my brain. It doesn’t act like a writer’s brain does anymore. I almost feel like I am not myself. Not in a sad way, in an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” way. Like I’m a different person at this time of year.

Thank G-d, I’ve had a little editing work to get me at my desk, and that means I have been somewhat productive the last two days. And I know from the past that, eventually, the writing will come. It better: I’ve got a book review to write tonight or tomorrow, and then I would like to return to my latest project.

I keep thinking about my “not writing” brain, which appears sporadically throughout the year. Even on Shabbos, my brain doesn’t switch to this state, at least, not entirely. Vacations sometimes do it even when not accompanied by religious holidays. Prolonged contact with my kids, and the need to take care of them with few breaks, often flips the switch.

In my “not writing” phase, I don’t really get many writing ideas, and if an idea somehow confronts me, I don’t feel an immediate impulse to get it down, which is my usual reaction to a good idea. I often feel preoccupied by housework in this state, not just by necessity (a holiday looming just ahead or guests on the way) but because I actually crave it. In a down moment, I find myself repairing the torn knee of my 9 year-old’s pants, not scribbling a poem in my notebook.

It’s different than being “blocked.” If I’m blocked, it’s distressing. If I’m blocked, I WANT to write, or at least to be able to say I’ve written something at the end of the day, but the words aren’t coming. On the other hand, when I’m just “not writing,” I don’t care if I didn’t write. It’s like I’m not a writer any more.

Does anyone else ever get this way? Just temporarily?

Need a little reading material for the intermediate days of Passover?

Check out my new short story, available to read online

The Jewish Press published my magic realism (laced with sci fi) short “An Old Fashioned Girl” a couple weeks ago in its Olam Yehudi supplement. Unfortunately, I was expecting it to run a week later and only found out after that week’s edition had left the stands.

The good news is that my friend (and fellow writer) Yehudis Litvak helped me locate the story in the online edition. You can read it here.

It was my absolute favorite story to write, by the way, pure pleasure. Unfortunately, it garnered four rejections before it got picked up for the Olam Yehudi. I had to cut the text a bit for the format (which is shorter than the word count in most other Jewish magazines), but the story stood up pretty well, I think. Got a comment? Let me know by shooting me an email or commenting though my website.

If you are celebrating Passover, enjoy the rest of your holiday!

Pesach Limericks for Maggid (because I need a break from my kitchen right now)

beccakinla:

An oldie-but-goody. And I’d love to hear some limericks by my readers…just post in the comments.

Originally posted on Rebecca Klempner:

pyramid of giza, exodus On the way outta there!

Many of us have memories of childhood seders. Even when the memories are fond ones (like these shared recently by Jessica Soffer on the Prosen People blog), we were often confused by the Maggid section of the Haggadah. I’ve pried myself from the kitchen to share some wacky Passover poetry to read a the seder during Maggid, hoping it’ll help.

Chag kasher v’sameach, chaverim! (“Have a kosher and joyous holiday, friends!”)

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Journaling exercise: confronting whatever is keeping you from writing, in writing

So, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve got some personal issues going on at the moment that held up my writing for a while. Basically, I wrote no new fiction for three weeks, and very little of anything else printable, which for some people sounds like nothing, but for me was pretty traumatic. About half the time, my brain felt like mush. The other part of the time, I felt anxious and stressed-out — which is not a state in which I can be very creative. I spent inordinate amounts of time alternating between staring at blank Word Docs and spacing out in front of article after article instead of writing anything of my own.

Anyway, one day last week, I was feeling particularly stressed out and recalled something I’d read about before about “writing away stress.” Continue reading

Posted by Anonymous

Okay, this is really not being posted by Anonymous. It’s plain ole me.

Writers live in the same world as the rest of you, which means we have to live with the people who read our work.

Yesterday Hevria began to post a series entitled “Truth And Dare.” The first post was by the outstanding writer, Chaya Kurtz. Entitled, “Backlash,” Chaya described the artistic desire to bare her opinions for all the world to see, but how when she did this, she suffered from the subsequent reactions that readers had. Today, sometimes she censors herself.

Anyway, it’s a fabulous post, and I recommend you read it, as well as the other pieces in the series.

When I commented on her post, a topic came up in the conversation I had with Chaya that has been on my mind lately — that being, is it right to publish anonymously or under a pseudonym? Continue reading