Words that are terrible but hold the promise of a not-so-terrible novel about life, love, loss, and bureaucracy in and out of the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan.
Now, to sleep. And then, perchance, to edit. Thanks for your patience.
Painting of Russian writer Evgeny Chirikov by Ivan Kulikov, 1904.
Last time I wrote a book, I was able to blog as I wrote. This time, I’m finding it very hard to divide my attention between blogging, Facebook, Forever 21 clearence e-mails, and actually working on something important. Oh right, and work and school and occasionally feeding Mr. B.
I want to finish the first draft of my novel. So bad.
So I’m leaving this thing here that counts how many words I’ve written out of total to let you know how long until I write my next blog post. You can still find me on Twitter in the meantime, or check out the blog archives at the bottom of the page.
Thank you so much for your continued patience on account of my insanity.
I usually work on my novel in this position: sitting on the train on the way to work or from work, notebook on my lap.
Despite the fact that I’m surrounded by people, it’s a really lonely way to work, as writing usually is. The ideas come hard and the words come harder. In half an hour, I can do around 600 words, which is nothing in the scope of 90,000.
“As far as I’m concerned, the world exists just to give me new material.”
-My hero, Dave Barry, last night at the Philadelphia Free Library.
I first started reading Dave Barr’s syndicated column when we got the Patriot-News delivered on Sundays back when people still go the news delivered. I was maybe 8? Everything he wrote, I thought was hilarious, even though I didn’t understand some things he wrote, and I wanted to write funny things just like him.
He is one of the first people that made me laugh out loud when he wrote things.
Barry has defined a sense of humor as “a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge.”
Almost everything you need to know is here:
Barry’s editors dispatched their man to New York to give the Times its comeuppance. Barry returned with a wicked 4,000-word story in which he gently pointed out that Ed Koch’s Manhattan was a carnival of urban decay and drug paraphernalia, too. Where the Times‘ storyhad been heavy-handed and sober, Barry was impish and hilarious, reporting, “[W]e immediately detect signs of a healthy economy in the form of people squatting on the sidewalk selling realistic jewelry.” The denizens of Times Square, he observed, were “very friendly, often coming right up and offering to engage in acts of leisure with you.”
Dave Barry is an American treasure and helped make me Who I Am As A Writer (which would be an excellent name for a band). I am so privileged to have seen him live.
Not my own, yet, but still, just in time for Rosh Hashana, I’m legit published. Along with Kate, Farrah, and a bunch of other talented people from all over the country, writing about what it means to be Jewish to them, from all sorts of angles. All credit for the hard work of collecting our scribbles and actually pushing this thing through goes to Stefanie .
“[The book] is a collection of personal essays and memoirs from Jewish 20- and 30-somethings from across the country. Each contributor brings a unique perspective as they tell their self-defining Jewish story.”
At once confrontational, comforting, and hilarious this is the definitive ‘Who am I? and why am I?’ book for Jews of our generation. I can only hope to one day contribute to a collection this rigorous, this touching, and this important for the question of our identity as Jews.” –Mayim Bialik
“I’m not a Jew…I’m just Jew-ish.” – Vicki Boykis
Can you guess what my self-defining Jewish story is about? If you guessed medical anxieties or God’s wrath, you’re a great guesser, but that’s not it.
Other, less stupid stories include: “Converted to Reform” by Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, “The Rumors of Her Death” by Libby Ellis Lowe, and “A New Kind of Jewish Geography” by Perry Teicher, about the Jews of the CIS republics.
Website is here. Book is available for purchase here.