Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Yom Kippur

My rabbi at Temple Habonim asks the congregation to contribute to the family services for the high holidays. This year I faced my own sense of meaning, pain, and suffering when I had to have a mass removed from my colon on June 30th. This experience left me filled with gratitude in a way I have never experienced. During th elong recovery period, I looked at the physical and mental pain and struggle as joyful reminders that I got to live, rather than die, from what could have been a fatal prognosis. So I wrote this little blurb and I share it with all of you on this holy day.

  1. Everything is a gift.
  2. There is no such thing as “fair.”
  3. If life has meaning, then the pain also has meaning.
  4. There is an afterlife.
--David Baum, rabbi, businessman, orthodox Jew, and writer. 

David Baum states these 4 premises with regards to suffering. He invites us to view our suffering from a place that is without judgment or spite or anger. He invites us to view suffering and loss as not being about fairness or deserving. He invites us to approach it from the human place of what is—pain is a gift when we allow it to have meaning.

This has been a year of pain—of gifts—that has brought me closer to my family and faith and for that I am thankful.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Now what?

Since parting ways with my former agent last October, I have slowly allowed myself to widen the scope and perspective I have on writing and publishing. Over the course of the last 10 months, I've written several blog posts, a book review, articles, papers for school, and published a novel on SwoonReads.
Newest Novel!

As I begin the college application/essay season (my 13th as a college counselor/essay coach) and listen to countless stories of overcoming failure, I can't help but think of my own failures over the last five years (documented, here, on this blog).

Students who write about failure generally talk about what they learned or how a failure changed and affected them. They don't psychoanalyze themselves or their failures, and they don't try to figure out the why or even the how.

When I've written about failure over the last few years, I spent a lot of time on the why and how and not so much on the now what. When my students write about failure, they talk about the now what.

Finally, I am, too.

Now what?

My failures in publishing have caused me a lot of emotional pain and suffering because I had the mistaken belief that because I was doing all the right things, failure was impossible...So, when failure happened, I blamed myself—when, in fact, failing in publishing is a lot like failing to win the lottery.

No one controls the lottery.

I cannot control agents or publishers. I can only control myself and what I write.

So, now I have a new goal.

One reader.

That's it. Not how many books I've sold or how many comments I get or how much money I make (ha!). And, most importantly, not how many publishers I've submitted to (and been rejected by). My writing goals are to write what I want, make it the best I can, and then reach ONE reader who reads my work, whether it's a book or a blog post. From this post forward, I aim to reach one person with each piece I write, and I don't necessarily even need to know who that person is or even have evidence that they have read this, meaning comments or feedback through an email, etc.

I am going on faith. On hope.

So, dear reader, I believe that if you are reading this, you have been touched in some way, and I hope that you will come back for more (and maybe leave a comment ;)

I also hope that you are still reading this post because I would like for you to read my novel Till It Stops Beating on Click here.

Thank you, Reader, whoever and wherever you are.