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

My first foray into playwriting: lessons learned about writing and directing plays for kids

As I mentioned last week in passing, I spent a good chunk of time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur preparing a play for the kids at my synagogue. The topic: the story of Jonah, which is read during the afternoon of Yom Kippur.

Jonah sheltered by the vine

Yonah waiting to see if Nineveh gets destroyed. He’s kinda hoping it does. How’s that for schadenfreude?

Now, I’ve always thought this story was packed with humor. I mean, G-d singles Jonah out for a little tete-a-tete and he hops on a boat headed in the opposite direction as the mission G-d sent him on? Then he sleeps through the ginormous storm that has everyone else aboard freaking out and get swallowed by a giant fish. Come on!

And when Jonah finally makes it to Nineveh, it gets even wackier. Continue reading

Tragedy! My lonely old maid of a story has been rejected once again.

I’m sure I’ve blogged about rejection numerous times at this point, but since I continue to collect rejection letters, why not continue blogging about them?

boy with letter

Mom! I think you just got another rejection letter!

Over the summer, I wrote a story that my husband adored. He likes almost all my stories, but this one he really, really liked. He particularly enjoyed the nasty anti-hero at the center of the story and the unhappy ending.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the way I’d originally executed my idea, so I set it aside for a couple months. Eventually, I brushed it off and polished it up a bit before sharing it with my writing group. They provided extensive feedback, and I acted on it, hoping that the new, much improved story would dazzle the editors. Continue reading

A picture is worth a thousand words: what photojournalists don’t want you to know about their images

Two recent articles are worth a peek for what the reveal both about contemporary politics and about the nature of photography itself.

The pieces–one in the Washington Post, the¬†other on Breitbart.com–describe misleading pictures published during the recent Gaza conflict. Most notably, photos of dead and maimed children were used by pro-Palestinian journalists in order to accuse the Israelis of being brutal assassins of the young. Whether you feel Israel’s actions were justified or not, Palestinian children were hurt and killed during battle (and so were Israeli children). However, further investigation revealed that one of the photos–said to portray a Palestinian child gravely wounded by Israelis–was in fact a child attacked by Syrian forces in the conflict in that country. And another child, supposedly killed by Israelis, was most likely killed by a Palestinian rocket that misfired. These are only two among many “photo-ops” that were intentionally mislabeled for political purposes.

ink bottle

If I spill some ink from this bottle, what will you see?

Of course, as the Washington Post article points out, the misrepresentation isn’t always by the pro-Palestinian side (although usually Israeli press just doesn’t publish images of Palestinians who are hurt or injured). And I don’t really want to get into the political aspects of this case. What I would like to do is point out how this issue goes far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Continue reading

How to find a kosher book: Nifty bit in this week’s HaModia

There’s an article this week about Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld in HaModia, and it mentions almost as an aside that he and his 12 year old daughter have started a website with books for Jewish kids.
I visited the site, and the coolest thing is that it is SEARCHABLE! You can look up selections by subject and by age of reader, as well as title and author. However, it does not contain all the books out there. I’m assuming it is a work in progress and I’m very impressed with what they’ve done so far. It would be a great resource, for example, for those looking to buy a gift for a particular child or looking to stock up for a school or classroom library.
The link is in the list to the right of this blog, as well, and will remain there indefinitely.
In other “HaModia” news…my all-time favorite serial (aside from the one co-written by yours truly…) wrapped up in that magazine last week. Hopefully, This is America! will soon appear in novel format in Jewish bookstores. I really hope so, as it will deservingly find more readers this way.