I will provide excuses for my blog absence later, but in the meantime, here is your 5781 Klempner family (yes, it’s a group effort) “fake news”letter.
I’m hoping those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashanah enjoyed yourselves. We enjoyed the holiday here, even though it definitely was different than in previous years.
Those of you who know me in person or via social media may know that I’m a sucker for good puns, so the custom of Simanim Ilsa, eating symbolic foods often based on puns involving their names, is always fun for me at dinner on Rosh Hashanah. This year, almost everything I served the entire holiday had to do with the simanim. We ate traditional favorites like apples and honey, dates, and fish, but we also ate things like asparagus (so we’d be spared any harsh decrees), celery salad (for a raise in salary), olives (so we’ll all live though 5781), and chicken with mushroom sauce (so next year we’ll all have much more room–currently, we live in a very small space for a family our size). My kids helped a bunch with the cooking (my youngest thought of the pun for olives), and we got the year off to a sweet start.
I haven’t really been looking for writing gigs the last couple months, because dealing with my family has been absorbing a lot of my time and energy, but every once in a while, an editor will reach out to me, and that’s how I ended up in Jew in the City twice in quick succession. The topic I chose for Yom Kippur is affliction and the half-joking comments I’ve heard widely for months along the lines of “Can’t they just cancel all fasts this year because we’ve been afflicted enough?” The jokes *are* funny, but there’s a deeper way to look at them, and I hope I framed my thoughts clearly in that piece. Click here to read that new article on Jew in the City.
I’m hoping that as things settle down, I can get back to writing some fiction. It probably won’t happen till after Sukkot, and not long after that will be NaNoWriMo. Hmmm…
Readers of The Jewish Journal and followers of the Accidental Talmudist will find me this week in their “Table for Five” feature. This week’s topic is the first mishnah in Masechet Rosh Hashanah, where we are told that there’s not just one Rosh Hashanah, but four!
It’s always tricky to participate in this kind of event, since you don’t know the approach other participants are going to take to the topic (and I for sure don’t want to repeat what someone else says), but it looks like I managed fine this time. If you want to see my response to the prompt, you can find it here. Print edition is due out tomorrow.
I really did end up writing barely a word during the summer, but the moment that my kids resumed school, I got hit up for some pieces by editors who know me. The first one to run went up on Jew in the City last night. Click here for the link.
I’ll hopefully post again soon (maybe with haiku!) but first a confession: I have barely written a word since my kids started summer vacation.
If I start to talk about my feelings on this topic, there will likely be tears involved, and I’m not in the mood. Perhaps I’ll post about it later.
However, I did write something right before school was out, and it ran in Tablet Magazine last week. “Game Over” is a personal essay–a nice, short read–about playing board games on long, summertime Shabbat afternoons and how a recent losing streak revealed a bit more of my inner ugly than I would have expected. You can read it here.
I was feeling a little cranky earlier today. Okay–more than a little. I’ve hit the point in a particular revision which I’m working on when I have to start writing new material, not just tidying up what was previously written. And I found out this morning that a program which wants to reprint one of my books will be doing so *at least* another year in the future (I was informed I’d made their list a year ago). The program comes with a stipend for authors, and I would love to receive my cash sooner rather than later.
So, yeah, feeling demoralized.
Anyway, last week, I’d noticed that the sales of my first book, A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, had gone up. The book takes place on the day before the holiday of Shavuos, which I figured was boosting sales. I also tried to work a little social media muscle to make sure people knew the book was back in print and how to reach it. I decided at about noon today to check where sales are at THIS week. Continue reading