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NaNoWriMo: Day 8

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Total word count to date:17121 and it’s starting to get harder and harder to write.

Michael has arrived in Israel, been terrorized by a dog more than actual terrorism, has met his host family’s kids, and had his first day out in Tel Aviv.  Now, as the sun sets, he prepares for a dinner party that his family is having so he can “meet” this girl that Genya wanted to set him up with.  In light of this,

1.  What is the worst thing that could go wrong at a party where two people are artificially arranged to meet each other?

2.  What kind of food to serve at such a gathering, and are the girl’s parents eager to have a potential suitor from America?

This weekend, I stumbled across two articles, neither of which are particularly encouraging to my writing process.  The first is advice to aspiring writers from John Irving in which he says that he would shoot himself if he were 27 and currently writing a novel, and the second is from Wall Street Journal, of writing habits of famous authors.  All of them are pretty painful and I can completely relate.  Maybe someday someone will write about me, “She used to sit at her computer, screaming at herself that pretty much everything she wrote was horrendous, then wrote a hundred more words, thought horrendous again.  But now she is a bajillionaire novelist who has frequent lunches with Orhan Pamuk and Junot Diaz, teaching them how to write,  and laughs all the way to the bank in her black BMW.”

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  1. I don’t know if I have anything valuable to add to #2 — but for #1: Either the person arranging for them to meet realizes during the course of the party that he/she has a deep, heretofore unrecognized love for one of the people i question — or, one of them busts out in excruciating hives due to the cologne their surprise date is wearing.

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  2. 1. the person coming to the party intending to meet someone in particular, becomes madly smitten with another guest or a sibling/relative of the intended match.

    2. food…that depends on the day and the family…you mentioned a dinner party, so it is not Shabbat, right? Is it Motzei Shabbat? If so, then I would do a light buffet dinner, leaving the guests to roam the space and not be confined to a seat. Are there other guests or is Michael it? I was once at a Motzei Shabbat dinner in Israel (hosted by an olim family friends of my relatives) and there it was a typical Russian “zastol’ey”, devoid of any mention of Havdala (somehow I thought that there would be one, not sure why I expected that…silly me, especially since the dinner started long before sundown) going way late into the night and complete with lots of toasts and putting unsuspecting young people on the spot, for whatever reason.

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  3. It probably doesn’t quite fit this story, but I’ve been to a few parties set up to introduce people that failed because one person left very early and the other arrived very late. Another situation I’ve seen is that very few people attend and one of the two people, but not the other, wilts under the spotlight as they try to hold a very self-conscious conversation while everyone is listening (and taking notes so they can criticize later). And once I went to a party that (I found out later) was held to introduce me to a woman, but the introduction was done much too casually (you know, to avoid putting pressure on me). I never quite got around to talking to the woman I was supposed to meet. Afterward when people were asking me what I thought I was saying, “Who?”

    I sometimes find it easier to write if I pretend that I have already been paid for the piece and it will be published under another name so that no one will be able to find out I am the one responsible.

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  4. #1: they actually know each other already, and have either a) slept together and it was terrible or b) had some sort of rude altercation in traffic/in line at the store, etc

    #2: either the parents go all out with ‘local’ food they think the American will be impressed by (or same thing with their ethnic background food) or try to make typcial “American” food to make him feel comfortable and it’s all weird variations of cheese-whiz on crackers.

    Are they happy? Depends. Do they think he’s stealing their daughter away to a foreign place where they won’t ever see their grandkids? Or rescuing her so she’s somewhere safer? (Or do they think everywhere in America is full of handguns where people are randomly gunned down?)

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  5. About #1, i’d have said what could be worse than having a blind date family party, but then again I also agree woth what Tzipporah said.

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  6. Thanks, everyone, for your responses! The scene is not Shabbat but a Tuesday night, and the situation ended up being more of the wilting scenario that Rick suggested. The food was tasty, I think. Roasted chicken..mmm. But the company was painful. Sorry I couldn’t respond to everyone individually today, but I wrote almost 3,000 words yesterday and I am wiped! On to today’s blog post and writing!

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