Last week, the Orthodox Women Talk Roundtable debuted at Keshet Starr’s blog, and this week Rivki Silver is hosting. On this week’s roundtable (you can find it here) we discuss preparing for and celebrating Shabbos when there are kiddos running around the home. I read lots of great insights from the bloggers included. Can’t wait to find out what the next question is! Anyone who wants to contribute a question — about life as an Orthodox woman, Jewish motherhood, or the like — can send it to Rivki through the “Contact Me” link on her blog.
Today, I’d like to share with you this interview with Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein, the author of the upcoming picture book I Live With My Mommy. This new, groundbreaking picture book for the first time focuses on growing up in a single-parent, Orthodox Jewish home. I learned about the book through its illustrator, the gifted Dena Ackerman, and upon my request, she hooked me up with Tzvia for a bit of Q & A via email.
RK: What led you to write about children living with a single mother?
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
The kids are back in school, and I am back to work. For four days, at least.
Because of the unfortunate discrepancy between the Jewish calendar and that of the traditional American school, my children will not experience a full week of school this fall until October. That means that even though their summer vacation is over, my days of child-wrangling are not.
It’s really important to me to take advantage of time alone during the day. I cherish the time I get to spend with my kids over summers and holidays, but when they are home, I can only write at night. Unfortunately, I am decidedly a morning person. The quality and quantity of what I write is strongly affected by my kids’ days off.
So today I tried to be as productive as possible. I got to pray at length, spent a couple hours on a story, took care of some housework, and made sure to listen to some music. As a treat, G-d sent a playdate for my preschooler to extend the quiet a little longer.
One of the areas I’ve decided to work on this new year is time-wasting, so I tried very hard not to lose too much time to unnecessary internet surfing or checking my email repeatedly. I fought off the time wasting habit better than I expected today.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? And Friday, for sure, will be spent minding my kids and preparing for the Yom Kippur fast. Sukkot will start just a few days later. But at least this evening, I’m wrapping up a workday feeling I did my best, B”H.
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.
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.
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
People often ask me this question: How do you find time to write? Other moms work outside the home, sometimes full-time, yet my extremely-part-time and mostly at home writing puzzles them. Life as a FT mom is so wild and wacky, my head buzzes with ideas that could make great kids’ books. Doesn’t yours? This is how to get the ideas out and coherently on paper: