Eight Posts I Never Wrote

Dec 18th, 2009

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I’ve been something of a deadbeat blogger lately. I just don’t have the time…but that’s never a good excuse: Time isn’t something you have, it’s something you make. Yadda Yadda. In honor of Hanukah – and the gift of my Dear Husband taking everyone out and leaving me to brood / work / clean – here are 8 posts I jotted down during the past few weeks, but never finished writing:

    1. (…Dammit, I missed the Thanksgiving post. What a bum. Time is not my friend….) Which brings me to this:
    2. Do I want to grow old if I will not be sound of mind / functioning with dignity? After some difficult family stuff this month (and occasional mundane confrontations with my own apparent mortality…may not be a vampire after all…damn…), I’m not sure how I feel about letting only God say when I go, even though I hope I have at least half a century before I really have to think about this. (But by then, I may not be able to think…) How wrong is it to write: “If I revert to toddlerhood, please take me back even further” in your will? I know it’s not the religious thing to do. I’m just wondering about what the options are. (Way in advance, as usual.) Which brings me to two very old people who are the very opposite of helpless….
    3. Shameless plug #1: Stay tuned to this space for my post on a conversation between this man and my grandma, two nonagenarians with a lot on their minds. When I read Estes’s letter to Obama, (forwarded in an email chain to me and a million other people), it struck me as something my grandmother would have written, and I got an idea… After a few minutes of Google snooping and an e-mail, I found the guys to whom Estes dictated the letter (he’s too old to write with his own hand) and asked them to set up a call with my grandmother. These are two WWII heroes (from the opposite ends of that dreadful war) who are devastated by an America they feel has let them down. I thought they should “meet” to commiserate…and they did…Which brings me to this:
    4. This Time Magazine article about the Decade from Hell really got me in the mood for New Years, and toasting to better beginnings. I think back to where I was when we rang in the new millennium – where we all were – and I can’t believe it’s only been ten years. The world looks insanely different. Which brings me to Web 2.0.
    5. Seriously, to rephrase the old Twitter question: What are we doing? Some days I am on the computer for 8 long hours, working…I think. Writing, consulting on the right turn of phrase, Facebooking for fun and profit, *networking*, developing new leads, blablablah. …And finally quit way after dark, wondering what exactly I did all day and why. (Sometimes I get paid.) Are we just busy fools in our cyberofficespace? Or are we going somewhere with this? Sometimes I really want to be a farmer planting 140 stalks of corn instead. Which brings me to Dorothy Gale.
    6. I just finished reading a great and entertaining memoir by Lisa Fineberg Cook, a self-aware, spoiled, very smart and funny Jewish girl from LA who marries a world-traveling educator / adventurer and spends two years in Japan, completely out of her element. The better to introspect, my dear. The new bride ends up shedding many of her J.A.P.py notions, and learning a thing or two about how being a citizen of the world (and a wife) requires one to step into another’s shoes, regularly. (And that borrowing your best friend’s Manolos doesn’t count in this regard.) I will be writing an entire column on the book, and doing a Q+A with the author, sometime in the next month (Shameless plug #2), but what I want to say now is this: I once had the privilege to edit an excellent partial manuscript for someone whose journey took him in somewhat of the opposite direction…From a Zen, secular life in the US, to a bike tour through Europe and to Lebanon, to meet his wife’s Christian Arab family, and, ultimately, to Israel, where he ended up adopting religious Judaism. (As did she.) The writing was superb and the adventure completely unique, but he could not find a publisher anywhere. I ask anyone who will answer me: Will the Manhattan book establishment not even entertain the possibility that growth can also take one from the assimilated to the culturally particular? Is it a given that to be a “journey” it not only has to end in self-awareness and spiritual expansion, but in adopting something foreign? What if there’s no place like home? Would Dorothy Gale get published in 2009, having seen the other side of the rainbow, and choosing churchy Kansas because that’s where her heart was? Which brings me to Hanukah:
    7. Would I have been a Maccabee or a Hellenist? I ask this quite sincerely since I’m pretty sure Mattathias Cohen and Sons were more Judean Hilltop and less Tel Aviv Café…not even suburban Modern Orthodox. While we live (and my kids learn) in an Orthodox environment, Jewish-centered and centric, I can not claim to have taken secular culture out of our house – pretty much the opposite is true. Is it only living in Israel that allows us the luxury of consuming Hollywood and being broadly cultural, and not worrying for a minute about our identity or continuity? I’m thinking probably…yes… in the US I might have been a bit more of a protective / defensive Frumom. (Reason #687 for Aliyah!) I’m also thinking that the Hasmonean Dynasty in the Second Commonwealth didn’t do so well at the end of the day, once they grew cozier with Rome…but that I’m not canceling cable. Which brings me to:
    8. Happy Hanukah… (That is the holiday message between programming on my cable channels. Just saying. )

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