What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly hop/meme with four simple headings. Anyone can write a post and add the link to Jaime’s blog.
What I’m Writing
Now 510,700 words in my WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest, and Chapter 64, “Lucky Number Nine.” I think this’ll be the shortest chapter yet, even shorter than “Siberian Sojourn.” Some chapters needed to be very long, like “The World of Tomorrow” and “A Xenial Welcome,” while others work best short, sweet, and to the point. As long as the book finishes up under 600K, I’ll be happy and won’t worry about the length ballooning out of control. It was always envisioned as a very long book.
Lyuba and Ivan’s ninth and final child, Tamara, has just been born on Lyuba’s 42nd birthday, a beautiful, peaceful, healing antidote to the nightmare birth of Sonyechka three years ago. From here on out, I feel the rest of Part III will fly by, since it’s now so focused around the WWII timeline. I don’t have the heart to kill any of my young servicemen in battle, but one of my two Marines is going to lose an arm at Saipan. Not looking forward to writing that chapter!
What I’m Reading
The usual, articles for my classes, and research for my writing.
What Inspires Me
Last week the brother and sister I babysit noticed my new jack-o-lantern earrings, and I had to explain to them that I celebrate Halloween. They hadn’t realised one can be religious and still celebrate a non-Jewish holiday. There’s a concept I read about in So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids, by Jean Kilbourne and Diane Levin, where children create movies in their minds to understand adult concepts. When they get a new piece of information, instead of completing changing their ideas, they simply add a new scene to their movie. That’s what this felt like.
Obviously, I’m not going to tell them they should celebrate Halloween, or go into detail about my religious and family background, but I’m glad I was able to show them that some religious people take part in secular culture. I told them I don’t celebrate Christmas, don’t eat non-kosher Halloween candy, and that I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (but not my reasons why). The 8-year-old boy seemed to understand better when he said there are some Jewish holidays his particular group doesn’t celebrate, like Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), though they celebrate it at the school.
They were surprised to hear I really celebrate Halloween, but not judgmental or hostile. Learning is best when you’re not accusing someone with a different POV of being wrong, or trying to convince someone not to do or believe something. It wasn’t as easy as explaining what my writing callus is, that the little white dots on my left arm are chickenpox scars, or even where my stuffed frog got his name from, but I got the gist across and we moved onto something else. Children really are blank slates, not set in their ways. Now they have an example of a person they like, whom they know to be religious (albeit not 100% Orthodox), who loves Halloween.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I took some pictures of the apartment as it looks since my soon-to-be-officially-ex roommate has been absent. Once she’s officially, legally gone, I’ll buy another bookcase. I’m not sure what I’ll use to hold my records.
You can take someone out of Pittsburgh, but you can’t take Pittsburgh out of someone! So happy the Steelers finally kicked some ass in their last game after that embarrassing losing streak.
All those extra books need to go on their own shelf, as do the records I put on top. Those are only a small portion of all the records I have.
Contrary to the sexist myth, there actually are women who love the Stooges! The stuffed dog is named Roscoe, and the cat (who meows when you squeeze his throat) is Manfred. The teddybear is a music box, with a jagged hole on the right side of his head from when my brother threw it out of his crib. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it still plays, after not having tried to wind it up in at least 10 years.
I love Halloween. The tablecloth can be used year-round, since it’s not specifically a Halloween design. (And unlike my ex-roommate, I actually bought a circular tablecloth instead of trying to fit the table with something made for a square shape.) I was so happy to buy those placemats, since my old roommate is vehemently anti-plastic. I bought the purple candlesticks in Yerushalayim, on the overrated Ben Yehuda Street. Personally, I thought the shopping on Agrippas Street was a lot more interesting and vibrant.
More plastic! The juice glass sets I’d wanted to buy were made in Turkey, so I put them back on the shelf like hot coals. (As an Armenophile and Armenian ally for 18 years and counting, I boycott Turkish goods on principle.) These glasses were a lot cuter and cheaper. Since they combine three of my favourite things (purple, spiders, and Halloween), I’m going to use them year-round.
My love Davy has seen better days. He’s 25 now, and Real. I probably can’t repair him at a stuffed animal hospital, since he’s not plush. I can easily stitch up the rip in Simon’s side seam, but Davy probably has no hope of looking sort of like new. And yes, 25 years later, I’m still in the habit of naming my stuffed animals after people from my favourite bands!