My picture book, A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, has now been out for six years. With Shavuos just around the corner, I know that parents and teachers will be teaching about the holiday –some using my book, some not — and I thought I’d provide a few links to help them. Continue reading
So, earlier this week, I had a case of the blahs. I suppose I didn’t technically have writer’s block–the problem was more that I didn’t want to do anything, not that I couldn’t write–but the results were the same.
My best friend phoned. I told her my sad story. I didn’t want to write. I felt uncreative and just foggy in the head. She suggested I do something different, maybe go for a walk. Just don’t even try to write. Reboot.
The way out
For some reason, I’ve been getting back into art gradually over the last year. As a child and teen, I loved art, but like many people quit when I realized my mediocrity.
I’ve been taking a lot of photos lately, even framing them and displaying them in my home. I’ve done a bit of sketching, as well, although that tends to send me back to a place where all I see is my lack of skill instead of getting pleasure from exercising what skill I have.
Anyway, after my phone call, I was itching to make a collage. I didn’t give into the itch right away, but as my kids settled in for homework this evening, I grabbed a couple magazines and a pair of scissors. Continue reading
[T]he Canadian media scholar Darren Wershler…has been making some unexpected connections between meme culture and contemporary poetry. “These artifacts,” Wershler claims, “aren’t conceived of as poems; they aren’t produced by people who identify as poets; they circulate promiscuously, sometimes under anonymous conditions; and they aren’t encountered by interpretive communities that identify them as literary.”
…It’s not uncommon to see blogs that recount someone’s every sneeze since 2007, or of a man who shoots exactly one second of video every day and strings the clips together in time-lapsed mashups. Continue reading
Today is Hoshana Rabba, the last day of Sukkot, the Jewish Festival of Booths. In keeping with the more lenient final days of the holiday, my family has been trekking all over Southern California on outings. Today, I’m cooking, so between the challah baking and the vegetable roasting, I’d like to share a few thoughts with my readers.
A Writer’s Quandry
Yesterday, we visited El Pueblo de los Angeles, the original non-Indian settlement here in L.A. Last year, the Pueblo welcomed a new addition to its site on Olvera Street — an interpretive center for the América Tropical mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros that appears near the roof of what’s known as “the Italian Building.”
When the mural was unveiled in 1932, it immediately fell victim to controversy because of its anti-imperialist sensibilities. The most “offensive” images on the right half of the mural were quite literally whitewashed not long after it’s first exhibition, with the remainder of the mural being painted over four years later.
I was aghast as I listened to and read the details of the story. A white socialite pushed to remove an artist’s genuine expression of the Latino experience because it offended her political and social sensibilities.
Now, here’s the seemingly ironic part of the situation. I have a web page devoted to a “kosher reading list” and elsewhere have confessed to censoring my kids’ reading materials. My husband and I have effectively banned TV, Disney movies & Romeo and Juliet from our home because we don’t like their effects on children (see my comment in this link to the excellent post by Pop Chassid).
Yes, I am a self-described censor. Continue reading
In theory, I’m on vacation, make that staycation, with my kids and not posting. However, in the last week, two authors I respect both posted on a topic I’ve contemplated before: what is Jewish literature? Their ideas were both useful and inspirational. It’s worth reading the posts. You can read Libi Astaire’s post here and Erika Dreifus’s here.
On a related note, after a short hiatus, Tablet has started posting fiction again. I’m wondering if the complaints about whether their previous stories were examples of Jewish literature had an effect — both the recent pieces have been translations of Israeli authors.
Liel Liebovitz, on Tablet Magazine this week, argues that TV is for Dummies.
Like most titles, this one exaggerates Mr. Liebovitz statement: that even if TV has achieved more creative sophistication than ever before, it still fails to reach the majesty of the written word (or something to that effect). In his mind, books are still king. He bases his argument, as I understand it, on the inability of a visual art form to capture the interior life of characters, using a passage written by Henry James as evidence. In the first hour online, Mr. Liebovitz has received 19 comments on his article.
Well, I haven’t had a TV set in my home since 2000, so I can’t really attest to the increase quality of television programming in the last few years. Continue reading