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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Summer School!

I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to take an intensive Hebrew class. And this summer, I have that chance.

I’m taking a beginning course that meets three hours per day, four days per week, for a total of 15 sessions this month. (Four sessions down, 11 to go!)

Homework I did over the weekend, handed in on Monday, and received back yesterday. The teacher wrote, “Very good!”

I plan to write something essayistic about this experience once it’s over. Please stay tuned!

Freelancing in the 21st Century

It had been a long time since I conducted a phone interview.

But last Friday, I found myself interviewing a fairly Famous Author for a new freelance assignment. (Yes, I’ll spill the details when I’m able to share the piece.)

This interview marked my first time using both the Call Recorder app (and yes, I received permission from the interviewee before activating the recording) and the Rev transcription service. I’m grateful to my fellow “How to Pitch” alums for their guidance in our little Facebook community. (I wasn’t even the one who posed the recording/transcription questions. I was just lurking. See what one can learn when one lurks? See how useful Facebook can be?)

My Annoying Summer Cold

Confession: I’m having a bit of trouble concentrating on work because I have one of those annoying summer colds. (I know–small potatoes. As far as health problems go, I’ll take it in lieu of plenty of other things.) But if you have any tried-and-true home remedies to recommend, feel free to share. I have a couple of big weekends coming up. I’d love to feel better soon!

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  1. Ginger tea made by steeping peeled shavings of ginger root in very hot water together with the zest of an orange or lemon according to taste. Add good quality honey to taste. Sip hot. Don’t use too much ginger at first. Increase the amount according to how you tolerate it. Get well soon, Erika.

  2. For your Hebrew education, you may enjoy the Israeli TV series שטיסל. Two seasons are available online at http://shtisel.com/en/season-1/

    The benefit for learning Hebrew is that the Hebrew dialogue has subtitles in Hebrew. If the actors are speaking too fast, you can pause the video and read the subtitles. Also you can hear the pronunciation of written Hebrew.

    I’m told the Hebrew has an Ashkenazi accent because of the Orthodox setting but I don’t know if the accent poses a problem for learning. I found the depiction of the everyday life in Israel fascinating all by itself. And lemurs in episode 1.

    • Yes–when I finish “Srugim,” I’m going to look for “Shtisel.” The additional subtitles sound helpful!

  3. Hi Erica
    I am jealous! I am too old to take any classes.
    Best wishes
    Walerian Domanski

    • Walerian, you are not too old. I have been immersed in fiction/essay class at Uni of Iowa’s writing orogram since May 15. On a short break now. Next week the second MOOC begins, poetry/playwriting. Participants from all over the world. My writing practice has been energized. I will soon be 76 and still eager to learn.

  4. I’ll second Clive about ginger root. Also good for inflammation.

    Another Lebanese standby is fresh sage leaves steeped with black tea. I know it is summer, but they also recommend good ol’ home made chicken soup.

  5. Zinc for your cold, but take it with loads of food. My ENT doc is adamant about this for any virus: wash your nose twice a day. No need for fancy apparatus–a syringe and warm salt water will do.

  6. Hi Erika,
    Feel better soon. I, too, third the ginger tea recommendation–taking it every two hours is really helpful. A clove of raw garlic or two a couple of times a day is also great! Of course, one important thing is to rest as much as you can.

  7. I love all of these suggestions. (I just wish I had the energy to do the requisite shopping! ;-))

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