5.07.2010

Has it really been four months?

Apparently it has.

Things have been busy.

Yes, that's what they all say.

I think I've been using Facebook to share things of interest instead of this blog, but Facebook is clearly short-form, while this blog is clearly long-form. I miss long-form!

With what have I been busy, you ask?

(Thanks for asking.)

I've been attempting to study Torah full-time and do freelance writing/editing/development work part-time, but that's basically a recipe for disaster. In the end, I no longer write for pleasure; I no longer feel like a writer at all; I rarely write in my journal; and I feel like five billion other things are ripping at my concentration as I attempt to sit and study Torah. I am failing to enjoy learning Torah while I learn Torah and to enjoy my freelance work while I do my freelance work. The latter is somehow easier than the former, but not by a lot.

* * *

The following is a statement that I wrote about my life as a writer. It was true at one time. I am no longer sure that it is. But it's nice to read something that I felt so confident about at the time!
My life as a Jew and my life as a writer are intimately bound up in one another. My voice and the leadership roles that I have taken in the Jewish community have all been through my writing. As someone who was often relegated to the backs and sides of communal spaces as a child growing up in the Orthodox community, and who still feels strongly a part of that world through my allegiance to advanced Torah study, my voice is most easily, and least threateningly, shared through the written word.

My broad, overall goals as a writer are: to engage creatively with all aspects of Jewish life and learning; to share a passionate, caring voice that is eager to engage with both the enormously fulfilling and more heart-breakingly difficult aspects of being a modern, committed Jewish woman; to share my love for both asking questions and seeking answers; and to use my strong grounding in classical Jewish texts to struggle with contemporary issues.

One important sub-goal of my writing is to close the chasm between the emotional and intellectual selves in the world of Jewish learning. In my experience, too much of classical Jewish learning shuns the emotion in favor of the intellect. I seek to bridge that divide by using classical Jewish sources to shed light on our emotional inner lives, and through that, on the emotional truths that permeate so many classical Jewish texts, from Tanakh and its commentaries, to Talmud, halakhah, and its commentaries, to the siddur and its myriad commentaries.

Another one of my goals as I move forward in my continued involvement in the organized Jewish community, especially the community of yoshvei beit midrash—those who sit in the study hall—is use the medium of the written word to tease out the interplay between Jewish text study, Jewish prayer, and mental health issues. These complex relationships exist for many, but are rarely, if ever, spoken of in public.

That's it, really. Just sharing!