The Ups and Downs of Writing Life

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

Cheer Up a Friend (and Yourself) with Snail Mail

Want to know how to surprise a friend, whether they are in quarantine across the country or one of your “far away/so close” neighbors who you saw daily in pre-quarantine days? Want to cheer up someone totally alone in their home due to COVID-19?

SEND THEM SNAIL MAIL.

Last week, I had done some coloring of “color yourself” postcards my daughter had, and then sent off little haikus on them to some people who thought would appreciate them. I got texts and emails and phone calls from people thanking me for them, and that was yet another nice human contact (albeit remotely).

But by the end of three days of coloring, my hands were super unhappy with me.

I spent a big chunk of this week doing some deep cleaning and a lot of organizing. I found a slew of cards and old stationery! Now I can send off more little notes and haikus w/out coloring first!

Want to know how to write a haiku?

Usually, the first line is 5 syllables long, the second is 7, the third is 5. There are other configurations, and honestly, you don’t have to be strict with yourself. The tone is sometimes nostalgic or full of pathos, but often, they are funny.

Here’s an example of something appropriate for a neighbor:

I’m sorry I can’t
bump into you in the milk
aisle. We’ll schmooze soon!

(If you choose to use mine for your card, PLEASE ATTRIBUTE IT TO ME.)

If you want me (for free!) to help you workshop your first attempt at a haiku to send to a friend or relative, drop me a comment. WIN_20200430_12_41_08_Pro

Me with some of my stationery find from deep in a file cabinet!

10 ways to use your writing to add more lovingkindness to the world

First, pardon me for the super-Jewy intro. I promise this post will get to writing by the end. Over Shabbos, I was reading this:

The book AHAVAS CHESED – The title means “Lovers of Lovingkindness.”

It’s one of the many books authored by Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim (which is the title of his first and possibly most celebrated work).

Ahavas Chesed is about not only how to do acts of lovingkindness, but also how to LOVE to do them. The book has an interesting structure. Continue reading

3 Ways to use your words charitably–How to help people in need from far away

Yesterday, it took me hours to get myself writing. Instead of typing at my keyboard, I was numb with fear for the residents of Israel (and, in fact, for the children of Gaza, whose safety is in jeopardy–regardless of who is jeopardizing it, which is a political question I refuse to address here). It’s only a couple weeks since Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard of the U.S. People lost homes, places of worship, jobs, every material good they possessed. And here I sit in California, comfortable and in no immediate threat of danger. There are no sirens warning of incoming rockets blasting in my neighborhood, and the rain outside is just a sprinkle.

On this blog, I write about words, and how to employ them. Today, I’m going take a break from discussing professional writing to give 3 ways you can use your words to help people in Israel and the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

1) You can blog to raise money for a (legitimate) charitably organization who will be helping the victims of Sandy (such as the Jewish charity Achiezer and the secular  American Red Cross).

2) You can write a letter or email (or post on a Facebook page) to a friend in Israel or in New York (or other Sandy-affected area). If you don’t know what to say, just say, “I want you to know I’m thinking about you. I’m far away, but you are not forgotten.”

3) You can write something to bring goodness in the world–a letter apologizing to someone you hurt, intentionally or not; a letter to someone lonely; something kind and beautiful. Then mail it.

 

A Friendly Newsletter for Special Kids

A couple of months ago, I discovered an ad in HaModia for a newsletter called “Chevras Chaverim.” It’s a little magazine for Jewish kids with special needs. We’ve received the first two issues, one before Rosh HaShanah, one before Sukkot. Each newsletter contains several “departments,” tailored to the needs of kids with social skills problems, sensory processing disorder, and the like. The organizer loves feedback, and wants kids to submit things for publication. The subscription is free for now and you get it by emailing “Chevras Chaverim” at Chevraschaverim@gmail.com.