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Archive for July, 2010

I grew up thinking and feeling that being Jewish was not such a great thing. If you read Becoming Alice you’d know why. As I got older I found out that other Jewish people felt like I did … for different reasons. It took me a long time to discover that Jews were like all other peoples, very much the same in lots of respects and very different in others. As soon as I decided that Jews were as good as anybody else, I was totally O.K. with my identity.

Fast forward several decades in my life to now … to yesterday actually. A friend of mine sent me an email with a link to a YouTube piece that she told me not to miss. It was a video of a group of American people from a Jewish Home for the Aged that were taken to Israel. These people were between the ages of seventy-eight to niney-two. All of them were mentally alert although many had physical problem which required walking with canes or walkers, and some were even wheelchair bound. All of them had a portfolio of drugs with which they had to travel. Of course, attendants accompanied the group and cared for them as they toured Israel.

This group went to many important sites, such as Yad Vashem, etc., and met with the mayors of many towns to learn about current events and conditions as they are in that country right now.

Two things struck me so strongly: their drive to go on this arduous and difficult trip despite their physical problem and the joy they all expressed by being with their people. They received so much positive feeling from their identity. I wish I’d have had that as a kid.

This has reminded me of a friend I had many years ago who envied me for my identity. I didn’t understand her at that point in time and asked her why? Her answer to me was that she was a product of many cultures: Welsh, French, Italian, Protestant, Catholic, etc. “I feel like a mongrel dog!”

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Times Have Changed

I was at a birthday party this weekend and was reminded about the world being different having come a long way since I was a kid. I met an eighteen year old girl who was able to converse with me as if she were my age. I won’t tell you what that age is … but it is some multiples of hers. I couldn’t have done that when I was her age, not could anyone of that age I knew. Perhaps it is due to television or the internet or the exposure to the adult world that kids have now. Compared to my adolescence, these kids have come a long way.

As the party progressed, we sat down to dinner and I was seated to a lady who is a Canter. A Canter? I thought only men could be Canters. Not only was she a Canter, but she was able to officiate at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and Bat Mitzvahs. I thought of that phrase used by feminists, You’ve come a long way, Baby!

I remembered back in time when I took my first paying job and found out my immediate supervisor was a lesbian. I was terrified. What’ll I do if she thinks I’m cute? Eventually I found out that she was in a committed relationship with a long term partner. It never occurred to me that I might have had the same problem if my supervisor had been a man. Had that occurred to me in today’s world, I would have never given it another thought … at least not until the supervisor, female or male would have made a move on me.

Yeah, we’ve come a long way since then. Perhaps the glaring example of how far we have come is to know that we have elected the first African-American president. Yeah, maybe fighting for equality does pay off … but let’s not forget how much farther we have to go.

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One of the easiest A’s I ever got in college was in an Statistics course. Looking back on it now, I wonder if I got that A because the instructor had an eye for me. Right after the final exam, he asked me out on a date. Unfortunately, I did not have an eye for him. There is such a thing as chemistry and it just wasn’t there. Luckily I got that A before I had to reject him.

Getting that A in Statistics confirmed my feeling that neither my left sided brain nor my right sided brain dominates the other side. So naturally I am compelled to check my statistics on all sorts of things on the internet, such as my ranking on Amazon, how many books Becoming Alice is selling at this point in time, and how many people are reading what kinds of blogs I’ve posted on this, my WordPress blog. It seems that many of you are interested in the one entitled Relationships.

So I went to Amazon’s list of Tags to see what books are written about Relationships. I have yet to find one, other than my book, that is not about male/female relationships, dating, fun on Match.com, being dumped, getting over being dumped … Need I go on?

Obviously I made a mistake listing Becoming Alice under that heading. I should have gone to Family Relationships where we can see not only husband/wife but also father/son, father/daughter, mother/son, and mother/daughter all trying to get along. I wonder if there are tags for each one of those relationships.

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I am in the process of dabbling in this social networking thing. I’m not sure I have the personality to really get out of it all that it is cracked up to be. I’m not looking for any long lost high school friends, or for that matter, college friends. I have lots of current friends with whom I have much more in common. Sometimes I wonder if the girl I was way back then was really me.

Nor do I find it interesting to read about what someone had for breakfast or how much trouble it is to go grocery shopping when they’d rather be writing their novel. That novel, or course, would be the next greatest American novel written.

And … I am really annoyed by the fact that a zillion posts are written by people who are trying to sell me something. But lately I have stumbled upon an interesting discussion, one which asks a writers’ community the question: when can a writer consider himself/herself a success. This question has produced quite a bit of steam. It has pitted one opinion against another, diametrically opposed to one another, and has turned into a classical power struggle between the two sides, each claiming to be right.

One writer claims his sales of 500,000 books has given him the right to consider himself successful while another wrote, “I consider myself successful each time someone other than a relative or a friend buys my book.”

Now, I know it is true that one must sell thousand of books to be considered by an agent, or editor, or publisher for any kind of contract for his/her work. And I also know you must sell thousands of books in order to make any money. I also understand myself well enough to know that my expectations for Becoming Alice were such that I fall in the category of the writer who feels successful with each sale of his/her book. Luckily I have had many, many days when I have felt successful.

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The Ventura Book Festival will be this coming Saturday, July 17th from 10am to 4 pm. Becoming Alice and I will be at the Ventura County Writers Club table, Section D. Come say hello

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Latest Interview

It’s been posted. My latest interview’s at http://authorsunleashed.blogspot.com/2010/07/interview-with-alice-rene.html

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This blog was going to be on an entirely different subject today until I heard the morning news. I usually have Good Morning America on while I stumble toward my first cup of caffeinated coffee and listen to the rundown of the world’s problems while I get my wits about me. The producers of this show usually break up the serious matters on the world stage with some lighter fare. This morning human interest segment dealt with the story about how an octipus was used to correctly predict the winners of a semi-final soccer match in South Africa. Today they called upon a Dachshund puppy to pick the winner of the upcoming final soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands. This puppy was to pick one of two clearly marked dog bowls filled with puppy chow, each sporting the flag of their respective countries, for his morning’s snack. When left to go to one of the bowls, thus picking the winner, he avoided both of them and went toward someone in the audience. My feeling exactly … when it comes to soccer matches.

Several of the following news items were of a serious nature and then that series was broken up by a segment dealing with “the vampire craze.” Bingo!! Didn’t I just write a blog about that? With a street full of screaming teenage girls as a backdrop, the announcer told us the new vampire phenomenon is biting your loved ones neck to show the depth of your love. The more love one feels, the deeper the bite he inflicts … to the point of drawing bood. Give me a break!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so judgemental. I remember the days of “necking” and proudly sporting “hickies” at school. Perhaps we just didn’t love one another as much as today’s kids. However! Our announcer added this activity should not be taken on lightly. The possibility exists for contracting HIV, hepatits, etc. or serious infections requiring hospitalizations.

It all leaves me asking, “what next?”

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