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…

My completely unsolicited review of “Megillas Lester”

After all my recent ranting and raving about Esther in pop culture, I watched a video this afternoon with the husband and kids that made me feel better. I’d first heard about it on Tablet, then on the OU’s website.

animated video kol rom

Megillas Lester–a hilarious film in the Purim Spiel tradition.

Kolrom media, who has produced a lot of music videos and shorts for the Orthodox audience (like the video for the song “Ana Avda” and a hilarious bit on Aish.com called “Sicko” about how NOT to do the mitzvah of visiting the sick), has just released a video about Purim that refers to all the midrashim and commentaries I talked about in my rant. And it’s funny. Although Esther doesn’t make an appearance. Even Mordechai barely shows up.

That’s because “Megillas Lester” is about a boy, Lester, who dreams he has messed up the Purim story so much that Esther doesn’t have a chance to become queen. And Mordechai doesn’t get a chance to save the king. So who will save the Jewish people from Haman’s evil plot? Continue reading

Writers don’t live on desert islands

A couple weeks ago, a writer I’m friendly with asked in passing if I’d finished revising my novel. I told her that I felt like the rewrite wouldn’t happen until I moved to a desert island. Until that point, there would be distractions: carpool, laundry, cooking, deadlines on other writing projects…and more carpool.

Moving to the desert island is no escape

It kinda got me down.

My writer friend suggested that I apply for a writing retreat. Not quite a desert island, but close enough. Continue reading

School is on and I’m back to work!

The kids are back in school, and I am back to work. For four days, at least.

school, classroom

When the kids go to school, Mommy gets to write!

Because of the unfortunate discrepancy between the Jewish calendar and that of the traditional American school, my children will not experience a full week of school this fall until October. That means that even though their summer vacation is over, my days of child-wrangling are not.

It’s really important to me to take advantage of time alone during the day. I cherish the time I get to spend with my kids over summers and holidays, but when they are home, I can only write at night. Unfortunately, I am decidedly a morning person. The quality and quantity of what I write is strongly affected by my kids’ days off.

So today I tried to be as productive as possible. I got to pray at length, spent a couple hours on a story, took care of some housework, and made sure to listen to some music.  As a treat, G-d sent a playdate for my preschooler to extend the quiet a little longer.

One of the areas I’ve decided to work on this new year is time-wasting, so I tried very hard not to lose too much time to unnecessary internet surfing or checking my email repeatedly. I fought off the time wasting habit better than I expected today.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? And Friday, for sure, will be spent minding my kids and preparing for the Yom Kippur fast. Sukkot will start just a few days later. But at least this evening, I’m wrapping up a workday feeling I did my best, B”H.

When the trolls try to drag those you love under the bridge.

knight fights troll

“Take that, you nasty troll! Maybe you’ll think twice before saying mean things about my sister again!”

I hate trolls.

Not the fictional kind. The internet kind. I’ve blogged about it before.

But now, my sister has published her first piece on Tablet. And the very first comment she got was from a troll. A mean, nasty one who called her names.

If getting mean-spirited comments from random strangers is bad, having your sister get them is worse. I’m irate! I’m disgusted.

I have commented.

Fair readers: go read my sister’s essay — and say something nice in the comments. (Even if it means you have to learn how to use Discus.)

K?

It’s the week of Shavuos!

Things have been a bit crazy in the Klempner household as of late. We’re already in the week of the Jewish holiday of Shavuos, the subject of my picture book, A Dozen Daisies for Raizy.

A few weeks ago, in honor of the 5th anniversary of Raizy, I asked librarians, teachers, and parents about how they’ve reacted to Raizy. Here are some of the responses:

From fabulous librarian Davida Levin, of the Torah Day School of Atlanta:

I love using the book every Shavuos with my K-2 library groups, and was delighted that several of the 1st and 2nd grade girls said that they also own the book.

This year we talked about what the daisies meant to the recipient and decided that they meant “I like you” or “I care about you”. The second graders were able to  say that the flowers were a reminder of Raizy’s invitation or offer of help.  This year I gave the girls the attached pages to fill in during check out time–one even suggested that you could send them to Hashem, but another was sure that Hashem can make His own flowers.

Here’s a copy of the handout she used. Feel free to borrow it, but give credit to Davida, okay?
Regular Binah and Inyan writer Rochel Burstyn says of Raizy:
I worked a few years ago in a playgroup and it was one of the kiddies’ favorite and the only ‘long’ one I could sit through!
Another fan of Raizy, Chani Fischman, wrote me to say:[m]y daughter has brought your book, A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, home from her school library a few times and we’ve enjoyed reading it together at bedtime. I like the fact that 1. The book is not too wordy (I hate wordy children’s books) 2. The pictures are vivid. 3. Subtraction becomes so clear to children without them realizing that they are actually doing a mathematical operation.

Last year, I gave out a couple craft ideas to create daisies for Shavuos following a school visit I did here in L.A. Here are a few more last-minute ideas, with an emphasis on projects that are particularly kid-friendly and can be done mostly with stuff you can find around the house:

daisy craft

Recycled kid’s project for Shavuos.

Have a great holiday everyone!