The Good News, and the Bad News (No Ugly News, thank G-d)

glixman31The Good News: I’m posting at my regular Wednesday time!

The Bad News: I skipped the last two weeks, even though Passover was over.

The Good News: Glixman in a Fix is officially for sale! Continue reading

Glixman in a Fix on Approach: Got the Cover for My Next Book & Checked the Proofs

glixman31Yesterday, I turned in my comments on the proof for my next book, the novelization of Glixman in a Fix. It’s weird reading something I wrote a couple years ago, already. I think the manuscript is in pretty good shape. We’re IY”H expecting the book to hit stores just before Pesach.

The good news is that I made myself laugh more than once, and I still find the characters charming after all this time. When I read the last page, I contemplated writing a sequel just so I could hang out a little longer with Mendel, Ari, Ilan, and Yehudis.

The bad news is that friends and colleagues are now telling me how they all want to buy my book. This leads to a potentially awkward conversation.

Some of the aforementioned friends and colleagues primarily have read my adult work. They read my essays in Tablet, my fiction in Inyan. I think that many of them expect me to sound the same in this book…but since the initial audience was so different, I sound very different in Glixman. I’m kinda afraid how they will react to it.

Readers out there, have you read something from a favorite author that just didn’t strike your fancy?

And writers, have you written something and then felt the desire to warn your usual readers away from it?

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

“You knew you wanted to do it, but you’d never had the courage…:” Writing in the second person

For some people, it’s bungee-jumping. For others, it’s swimming with dolphins, getting a tattoo, or eating fugu.

What am I talking about?

The thing you’ve always wanted to do, but were too chicken to try.

For me, it’s writing in the second person. When it’s done well, it’s so, so compelling. The reader is naturally drawn into the narrative, as they are a part of it. But when it’s bad, it’s like a poor imitation of a Choose Your Own Adventure book (I loved them as a kid, by the way). I remember reading a book that teaches writing which suggested that only the most gifted of writers should attempt writing in the second person.

Over the last few months, the second person narrative has appeared on my radar quite a bit. And for the first time, it’s in non-fiction.

I’m a huge fan of Erika Dreifus’s blogs, and that led me to some of her other writing. Among her corpus of work are several interlocked true short stories about her (yikes!) mugging in Central Park.

(You can read them, too:

What really interested me about the stories was Dreifus’s handling of her misadventure. While the events actually happened to her, she writes them as if they happened to the reader. Whether this was intentional or serendipitous, she discovered a way of writing about a traumatic event that happened to her with greater objectivity.

My new POV

A couple months back, I wrote a very self-revelatory story. It was the kind of thing that is so embarrassing to myself that I can’t be at all objective about it. When I wrote piece, I thought it was completely unpublishable, but shared it at my writing group nonetheless.

Surprise! Several members of the group had a very strong reaction to it, not because it was exceptionally well-written (it wasn’t), but because they felt the feelings I portrayed were very universal. So, they encouraged me to revise it.

Struggling to handle material that was a little too close for comfort, I tried Dreifus’s technique and rewrote my story entirely in the second person. I’d describe it as highly therapeutic. I was able to laugh at my foibles and not take the behavior that elicited my negative response so personally. I have no idea if the story will ever make it to publication. But the process definitely gave me a new perspective on my behavior.

The process also gave me a bit more confidence in writing the second-person. Now, I’m looking for the right opportunity to use it again.

Have you read notable works in the second person? Have you ever tried to write in the second person? Share your experiences as a reader or a writer below.

Prejudices, or how we pick what we want to read now, next or never

My sister attended Conservative rabbinical school here in L.A. back when I was a California greenhorn, still getting confused because the ocean was to the west instead of east, that people called flip-flops slippers and jimmies, sprinkles. At the time, I was exploring Orthodoxy, but shared many of my sister’s friends from the UJ (now American Jewish University) and her Conservative synagogue. Despite my move to Orthodoxy, I remain friendly with many of her friends and colleagues.

Recently, one of my sister’s classmates came out with a book. Naturally, I was excited, so I checked read the synopsis on Amazon.

Within 30 seconds, I decided that I couldn’t and wouldn’t read the book. Continue reading