January 26, 2011
I’ve been waiting for Zeruya Shalev’s book Thera to be translated to English since the original Hebrew publication two years ago. After reading her other books, especially Husband and Wife, I grabbed the first copy off the Steimatsky shelves last week and have sunk into her brilliant, melancholy writing once again. The reason I like reading her so much is because she helps me open up my own writing and frees me to make random associations like she does with her superbly original metaphors. Read to write. Not to copy anyone else. Just to deepen your own original voice. Try it!
December 15, 2010
This is my dream – to sit cross-legged on top of a mountain, looking out onto a view of snow-capped peaks and grassy hills below. Of course I am paying attention to my breath and the mantra on my lips allows me to stay in the now. My mind never wanders to the past, never regurgitates suffering. My mind doesn’t flip to the future. I don’t play scenarios of winning the lottery or let fear reign in my brain, thinking of all the terrible calamities that could befall me and my family. I just breathe, in and out. I need for nothing and am grateful for every blessing bestowed upon me. Once I have sat for an hour in mindful mediation, I slowly stretch my body and make my way to the kitchen, and eat a bowl of rice. My only possessions are a change of clothes and a winter coat that fit into a backpack. I am rid of responsibility of matter, of insuring it, of worrying about losing it.
So why is then that I have just fallen into the high tech trap of purchasing an i phone?
July 12, 2010
“Would you like a massage?”
Would I? Ohmygod, of course I would with that crick in my neck. But how ethical is it to accept a freebie with so many others in dire need of a dose of TLC.
The lovely young masseuse can’t know that I’m only sitting here in Oncology with a drip in my arm because I feel more comfortable getting my bone-building meds with my doctor’s office up the corridor and the nursing staff greeting me warmly. I’ll flash her my wellness smile and shimmy my healthy head of hair. That should do the trick.
“I’m not sure I’m eligible….”
Flash, flash. Shimmy, shimmy.
She beckons. I follow. I know where we’re going – towards those rooms at the back where the very frail lie in bed receiving chemotherapy. Why is she taking me there? I don’t want to relive that episode of my life. Eight years have gone by and I’ve managed to forget that debilitating treatment, blocked it out of my mind.
The last room, that’s my old room. That basin, the one I vomited into time after time. The bed – my bed near the window where I lay dipping fingers and toes into icy water to prevent my nails falling out! And those sheets printed with the Shaarei Zedek Star-of-David emblem. Oh no! Its all coming back.
But hey! Is that Bach? So relaxing that the patients lying here are practically cooing. Or are those pleasure sighs of having feet massaged and legs caressed.
I sit head forward. No need to lie down for a neck massage. Oh those hands. Paradise.
“Aahhhh! That’s just the spot!”
While my sore muscles melt under the trained fingers of a volunteer Holistic specialist, I question, “What’s happened here?”
Turns out it’s all thanks to the family of late Member of Kenesset, Yuri Shtern, who offer cancer patients the same alternative treatments that benefited their Yuri during his treatment.
Oh no don’t take your hands away! It’s only a temporary glitch to pass me a flyer. Thank God she’s back to kneading my neck…it feels soooooo good.
The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center for Cancer Patients provides treatment for individuals suffering from cancer as well as for their families, at no charge, helping to ease the process and period of the illness.
“What a brilliant idea.”
“But it’s only really taken off here, at Shaarei Zedek. Other hospitals felt we were disturbing their routine.”
I know it’s a great department, progressive with doctors making the essential mind/body connection. Otherwise why would I have been offered a delicious slice of home-baked apple strudel upon arrival and a hilarious chit-chat with Bumpsy Mumpsy the clown?
I can feel healing heat flowing through her fingers into my whole being and there’s so much love surging with it. Praise the Lord. I can maneuver my neck to the left.
And to think I was dreading this hospital visit. Thanks to Family Shtern it’s been quite a treat. Imagine how holistic treatments can ease the anxiety of cancer patients and promote their healing. Please, open up your hearts and help facilitate the continuation of this wonderful program. It’ll really make a difference
Donations to the Yuri Shtern Foundation can be made by:
An international credit card may be used. For secure access press here.
Direct Account Transfer
Israel Discount Bank LTD, Bank No. 11
Jerusalem Main Branch, Branch No. 060
Account Name: “The Yuri Shtern Foundation,” Account No. 7092
Send a Check
Make your check payable to “The Yuri Shtern Foundation”
46/1 Shimoni Street
For a tax-free donation in the United States, a check may be sent to:
The Central Fund of Israel
c/o Marcus Brothers Textiles
980 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Attn: Arthur Marcus
In the memo, please note: ”For The Yuri Shtern Foundation”
Please let us know of your donation by writing us at email@example.com.
June 30, 2010
Oh fellow writers, having sent off a manuscript for perusal, how I feel for you and for myself now the torturous waiting game has begun. Paradoxically, liberation has come too in its wake. Day in, day out, I slogged over my fictional book that occupied me for years, sat at my computer and let my three characters speak for themselves. They were my life, my world, my companions; my everything. With one tap of the send button they’ve travelled into cyberspace and hopefully to the top of a slush pile in central London.
Finding myself free to read, to swim, to listen to the silence of my empty days, I ponder how easy it could be to get used to this non-writing life….
November 13, 2009
My son Josef has always been a performer. So really it comes as no surprise that he and his band Umlala http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OGrDQE2e4g have won the Israel national competition to compete in the international GBOB ( global battle of the bands) in London at the end of January at the Scala Club. http://music.walla.co.il/?w=/4516/1606370 Of course I’m going to see him singing in my home town. I just can’t get the smile off my face and i think that success of any kind is just a reminder that hard work pays off and the gates of heaven do open from time to time. So keep slogging away at your writing. Don’t give up.
August 22, 2009
Now I am reading ‘The Other Hand’ by Chris Cleave. Another masterpiece! How does a white man write as a Nigerian girl? Chris Cleave has helped me understand how to become my characters. I advise everyone to read if they want to write.
August 15, 2009
In order to write, I need to read.
It’s been a long time since I was inspired by a book. But upon return from my hols after reading Geraldine Brooks’s ‘People of the Book’, I began typing furiously on a new word doc, trying to re capture all the thoughts I had had while lying on the beach in Mykonos. It seemed so easy then, I understood I needed a narrator and in my mind I had it all worked out. But slogging away trying to put thoughts to paper is never as easy. still, Geraldine gave me a burst of energy to keep going and try something new.
People of the Book is truly a masterpiece of historical fiction with masses of research woven into the story. I couldn’t put it down and have learnt so much from the author. Thanks Geraldine!
June 4, 2009
Writing fiction after memoir is a challenge. Two years into a new project, the advice I received about keeping it simple and writing in the third person now seems so clever. But, I’ve always done things the complicated way around. My three characters who only express their thoughts in the present tense might work out, and on the other hand, might not. But what I’ve found is that whenever I rewrite my work and change tenses, I open it up to new possibilities. My tip for the day; don’t be afraid to experiment. Copy and pasting onto a new word doc gives us so much freedom. The previous draft will always be there anyway.