Please excuse me.
I haven’t only failed to publish a “Words of the Week” post this week.
I’ve also failed (again) to compile the routine post of “Jewish Literary Links,” which normally appears in this space every Thursday.
Maybe that’s because, nearly two weeks since October 7, nothing seems to be routine any more.
I have a document overflowing with links stashed away on a Word doc—and so many comments and ideas swirling around them. Way more than I do in a “typical” week.
But I’m also living very differently than I did before October 7. I’m constantly reaching out to check in with dear ones—in Israel, of course, but also here in the Diaspora. I’m trying to keep up with the News, especially directly from Israel, and with the news (including what other writers are publishing about the News).
I’m logging into Zoom for meetings and webinars more frequently than usual. I’m eating and sleeping a lot less. And, if I’m being honest, I’m consuming caffeine and alcohol a little more.
I’m trying to educate and clarify and provide resources and assistance wherever I can, sometimes publicly; often, much less so.
I’m trying to corral thoughts and ideas that could be future pieces, or posts.
But here in the USA, especially, life goes on. (One of the ideas I’ve jotted down: a poem, or prose poem, titled “Parallel Lives,” or “Parallel Universes,” featuring headers and subject lines from emails that I’ve lately received from Jewish organizations and publications—and from secular/mainstream ones.) As I’m drafting this post, I’m keeping an eye on the clock for an appointment with a student who couldn’t make yesterday’s office hours, and prepping for my next class. (I have discovered, however, that some elements of ordinary life can be sloughed away: I’ve essentially abandoned Wordle and Spelling Bee and a lot of other things that were once daily rituals. I don’t miss them.)
As fortunate as I am to be experiencing this moment from a safe and comfortable perch thousands of miles away from the blood and the funerals and the rockets and the sirens, I regret that I seem simply to have reached—or perhaps exceeded—my capacities.
Which is not great, because can there be any more urgent time for curating and amplifying significant content, as I “normally” due in these posts? Plus, I am recalling, with no small degree of guilt, a message that I received this week that made me tear up anew, telling me how much this blog’s dependability means to my correspondent just now.
But I promise to get back to you as soon as I can. Maybe I’ll even free myself from the old schedule and simply post when I can. (Imagine!)
And you can glimpse quite a bit of what I would be compiling here by following me elsewhere. (Please don’t ask me to explain why, but among the platforms where I’m present and active, you can probably find my relevant shares, most frequently, if you follow me on Twitter. Unless the algorithm has other ideas and keeps them in some virtual shadow-space.)
For now, I’ll simply remind you that the latest Jewish Book Carnival—a special solidarity edition—posted here on My Machberet just a few days ago. I’ll point you to a relevant resource that I shared on the Practicing Writing blog late last week. I’ll mention that author and Literary Modiin salonnière Julie Zuckerman is planning a free, virtual “Solidarity with Israel” event for Sunday, October 22 (learn more and register here).
And I’ll wish each and every one of you an upcoming Shabbat that’s filled with shalom.
Am Yisrael Chai.
Postscript: A couple of hours before this post was scheduled to go live, I read a brand-new piece by Julie Zuckerman. (As I said: I’m sleeping a lot less than usual.) It’s exquisite. So I returned here to include a link to “It’s Too Much: An Israeli Dispatch From a Midlife Mom,” published by the Midstory Magazine Substack.