Thursday, September 12, 2013


I can't sleep again. Happens periodically-- when I'm reliving days in which I screwed up, or redirecting scenes in a book till I get them right.

It's not a new thing. Sleep and I circle each other like boxers in a ring.

Now, I think it's because I'm between books. I finished my novel and can't keep roaming through its scenes like a mad director. Well, I can-- there's a bittersweet comfort to exploring certain scenes as if they're rooms in a house, seeking out every shadow, replaying critical exchanges. By now, I know every word they say, I see every picture on the wall, I hear their voices and smell the food cooking in the kitchen. Their songs have become my soundtrack. But this house doesn't belong to me anymore.

Soon, I hope, you'll enter-- drawn by the music and food, the bright colors, heat and laughter.

I hope you'll love it so much you never want to leave.

I'll slip out the always-open front door. It's so chaotic in there you'll never notice I'm gone. Neither will

my characters.

I'm standing at the crossroads. The new world is already playing scenes, waiting for me to yell, "Cut!" and rearrange characters and sets.

Damn, it's hard to leave the known world for the unknown.

But I need sleep!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Walking in Your Story

The legend goes like this: on the first sacred day the Great Book in the sky is opened. We are all there, marked on its pages-- not just our names but what we've done and haven't done. The Book remains open for ten days-- from the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

During these ten days we are being watched from above. We cannot hide. This is the time to forgive and ask forgiveness, to love and be loved, to give and receive, to tell the truth about ourselves and others-- no matter how much it hurts. These are the judgment days, here on earth, while we are alive-- while we can still change the course of the story.

That's why I love this legend: it's all about revision. It allows us the opportunity to rewrite what we don't like about ourselves. For ten days we walk through a spiritually charged world in which everything we say and do matters.

After the tenth day the Book is shut. The Heavens closed. We can no longer erase, highlight, cut and paste. For another year we must live the story we told about ourselves and follow it through ... till next Rosh Hashana, when the Book is brought out again.

I set my novel-- the one I just finished-- during these ten days. On the first night, my heroine looks out the door. Black wind blows. A shadow approaches. She doesn't know yet who it is but she knows it's meant for her, and she quivers with the weight of the secret she hides. She wants to run back inside and hide but the story has begun.