Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.


I maintain two blogs: Practicing Writing and My Machberet. Posts for both blogs show up on this page, but you can visit each blog by clicking on the appropriate link. It's also possible to subscribe to each feed.

Practicing Writing: Here you'll find updates on writing and publishing opportunities (especially handy between issues of our popular monthly newsletter). You'll discover ONLY opportunities that charge no fees, and ONLY publications/contests that will pay for your writing. The blog also shares writing-related news, resources, and quotations; book reviews; and occasional updates regarding this practicing writer's own work.

My Machberet: "Machberet" is the Hebrew word for notebook. Since it's also (appropriately) one of the very first words I learned in my first Hebrew school in Brooklyn (and, I confess, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remember), I've chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers

Monday brings the weekly batch of no-fee, paying competitions, contests, and calls for submissions—plus jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction).
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Sunday Sentence

In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

Perhaps, half a century on, in our own troubled time, we can appropriate that benediction as the resonant lesson of a brutal age.

Source: Jon Meacham, “50 Years After 1968, We Are Still Living in Its Shadow” (TIME)



Friday Finds for Writers

Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend. Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety. Continue reading ›

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Words of the Week

“We condemn unequivocally President Abbas’ recent statements rejecting the Jewish people’s connections with Israel, denying the legitimacy of a Jewish State of Israel, and promulgating conspiracy theories about the creation of the State of Israel. We condemn as well the Palestinian Central Committee’s affirmation of his views and its call to break relations with Israel. Such statements and actions undercut possibilities for a peace process that alone holds the path to a viable and independent Palestinian state. While the on-the-ground ramifications of these statements are still unclear, there is no doubt that these statements risk a new and very dangerous escalation of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

We continue to believe that the only future for a Jewish democratic State of Israel is to end its rule over millions of Palestinians. We urge responsible forces in the Palestinian community, Israel, the U.S. and international community, who remain committed to a two-state solution, to do everything feasible to restart movement in that direction.”

Source: Statement from URJ President Rick Jacobs.

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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Following My Own Advice

I’ve often thought that the most autobiographical line of fiction I’ve ever written is the one that reads, “Hannah hated hypocrisy.” And since I hate hypocrisy in myself as much as I dislike it in others, I try strenuously to follow in my own life the advice that I dispense. Thus, I’m happy to say that over this past weekend, I completed my latest “I Did It!” list.

Newsletter readers may recall my recommending this activity most recently in the January issue. It’s the creation of Lisa Romeo (disclosure: Lisa happens to be a book-promo client of mine at the moment). As Lisa explains:

As writers, we are too quick to dismiss our small(er) accomplishments, the small steps or steady strides that carry us forward toward larger goals. Especially at this time of year, we may be tempted to focus on what we didn’t finish, didn’t get done, didn’t accomplish–and then shoot straight to a new MUST-DO list for the coming year, one that too often smacks of recrimination.

First, let’s pause to look back and take note of the ways we’ve already begun moving in the direction of our dreams. The list is a way of noticing ourselves as DO-ERS.

A writer’s “I Did It List” is a clear reminder that there isn’t just one goal, one imperative, one project or avenue of development, or only one fun and enriching writerly thing to accomplish. My past lists remind me of what brought me fulfillment, of the new creative people who came into my life, and how I added to my skills, confidence, and understanding of why I write after all.

I’m not going to share my entire list with all of you, but I will offer a couple of observations that I found noteworthy.

First, I was astonished by how many items on my list had emerged unanticipated over the year. That is to say, quite a few of them hadn’t been part of any “resolution” or conscious plan at the year’s outset.

I was also impressed by how much of my list involved acquiring some new skill (loosely defined). For instance, for one freelance article, I finally learned how to record a telephone interview via smartphone (and, through another app, how to obtain a transcription).

At the same time, I realized that part of my “accomplishment” record rests on managing to sustain meaningful projects and activities over time, whether that’s a matter of creating and sending out new work; producing the monthly newsletters and more frequent blog posts; or continuing to attend conferences and readings (and launch parties!) that both enlarge my sense of the world in a variety of ways and help anchor me within a writing life.

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