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

Coming clean: sometimes you’re supposed to do housework instead of writing

G-d wanted me to do the dishes this morning.

I finished a large-ish writing project yesterday, then pulled open another document to begin the next assignment. I got the first paragraph written, and then every ounce of creativity in my brain dried up. Okay, I had a couple ideas, but they weren’t RIPE. More like literary fetal tissue than the next baby ready to be birthed.

Those who know me or who regularly read my blog know that I rarely get writer’s block. I usually have more ideas in my mind than really is good for me. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night, because my mind is so busy that the ideas are dripping out my ears.

kitchen photo

See this immaculate kitchen? Clearly not mine.

I spent the rest of yesterday taking care of my kids, feeding them and hubby (not to mention myself), and finishing Bird by Bird. (More on that later this week.) Then I had a Tiferes meeting, but before I left, I checked my email. A girlfriend would be dropping by Tuesday morning.

Oh, no.

You see, my back had been out, and then there had been Shabbos, and then I was writing on a “finish ASAP–please!” type deadline. Result–my house was a wreck. Continue reading

The Giving Tree

The giving tree [Book]

Just wanted to share an interesting post on MetroImma.com about the book The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

http://www.metroimma.com/forum/topics/i-hate-the-giving-tree

The author of the article is very concerned about Silverstein’s understanding about giving. Personally, I agree.
Right now we are in the period of Sefira, between Passover and Shavuot. In the first week , we learned about the sefira of “chessed,” giving and lovingkindness. Through the idea of interinclusion, that each sefira contains aspects of the others, we learn that giving must include “gevurah,” which is strength and restraint. We need to know–both as mothers and as human beings–that strength and restraint are required even when we are giving.
Do you agree with Silverstein or the MetroImma post? Please share your comments below.

My Two Special Grandmothers

This is a little poem I wrote in honor of my mother and mother-in-law. It’s only loosely based on reality, but my mother is really from Baltimore, and my mother-in-law really is from Israel (born in Alexandria, Egypt). I felt it was important to tell the story of a little kid who is partly Ashkenazi and partly Sephardi, because so many families are now “mixed” like that. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Savta moved here from Israel.

Bubbe grew up in Baltimore.

Both of them now live in the United States.

When I visit, Savta says, “Mami, you are chamood!”

Bubbe calls me zees.

I love to visit them both.

On the phone before the Sabbath, Savta says, “Shabbat shalom!’

Bubbe wishes me, “a gut shabbes.”

Both of them pray that I grow up well after they say the brachah on their candles.

On Rosh Hashanah, Savta rushes to the beit kanesset.

Bubbe runs to shul.

Both of them sit quietly with me to hear the shofar.

In the fall, Savta drapes colorful rugs in her sukkah.

Bubbe hangs Indian corn from the schach.

Both of them string up the decorations I made in school.

Savta rolls cotton into wicks and pours olive oil into Saaba’s Chanukah lamps.

Bubbe places tiny wax candles into Zeyde’s menorah.Both of them set the Chanukiahs in front of the window for everyone to see.

On Purim, Savta sends me baklava and halva in my shalach manot.

Bubbe floats kreplach in my soup.

Both of them remind me to use my gragger when I hear “Haman”.

Savta checks her rice before Pesach.

Bubbe tosses hers into a sealed cupboard.

Both of them crunch through their matzah at the seder.

While I sit on her lap, Savta tells me about when she was a girl in Egypt.

Bubbe tells her bubbe‘s story of fleeing Russia in the night.

Both of them are happy to live in a free country.

My two special grandmothers are as different as can be.

They came from different places with different history.

But together they helped to make one special ME!