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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Taking a Breath(er) and a Blintz





I know, I know.  I am in violation of the first rule(s) of blogging.  Stay current.Write. Stay disciplined.  Write, right away. Know your stuff, right?

Okay, enough with the wordplay, like playing with the food on your plate. 

Have you ever taken note in the movies how actors actually eat in dining scenes?  Imagine the impediment of the food on the plate, how unappetizing it really is, take after take. It’s cut! Then eat again.  So what we see on camera are just the nibbles, the tiny bites, taken furtively for the lens. Uck.  The spaghetti twills, that never leave the fork, that plate still full.

Writing sometimes feels just like that.Tiny bites for the scene, working through a full plate of ideas.  Uck.  It’s a beautiful day. Almost 10 a.m. And here I sit. At my keyboard.

When we say we have a full plate, we mean too busy – a state of perpetual distraction. 

I “meant” to be out at this time, breathing deep, balancing on one foot on a yoga mat in a class down the street.  But no.  I missed the 7 a.m. window there. And I “meant” to be outdoors at this time – digging in the dirt, pulling weeds from the garden, planning a trip to the nursery.  But not yet.  Through the window  in my room there’s a brisk spring breeze stirring the papers on my desk.  But here I sit, staring at a grey screen, tapping grey words on an electronic page, heading nowhere outside my own head, which is nowhere in particular. 

Some  of higher mind call this ‘the writing life.’ A form of self-imposed torture for many.   For others, as necessary to life as breathing.  For me, it’s a curious kind of give and take, more like a clinical exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  I’m no writer, I would say.  I’m not a “journalist!” I confessed to the 10 people   interviewed last night  in a roundtable discussion for an article - an article on the “Greening of Detroit” that I will spend the next week and a half : laboring. Writing.

I’ve made a life writing.  Like this, on days like this, meeting deadlines, set by the parameters or obligations of work  -  a job, where I sit most of the day . . . writing. Ad copy. Jingles. Press releases. Annual reports. Video scripts. Speaker notes. Exhibits. 

And now. . . in free fall, I write articles of my own choosing, setting my own “editorial calendar,” agenda and schedule to meet a monthly deadline, as the “founding editor” of a little e-publication of the Detroit Jewish Federation – we call it  (because I named it) myJewishDetroit 

Now there’s a declaration: I’m Jewish.  A Detroiter (albeit former Clevelander).  I work for the Jewish Federation – the “engine of philanthropy” as we say, for the Jewish community here. 

You don’t have to be Jewish to understand our mission: to care and tend to our families and the most vulnerable members of our community, to teach our children well, to work towards the greater good, a vibrant future for generations to come, to repair what is broken in this world.  And indeed, there is much that is broken here in Detroit, in Israel and the world over. And so we plow our fields, plant our seeds, persist in the work and the hope. When you got a big mission like that, well, honestly, there’s plenty of work to go around. 

My work goes just as so: tap-tapping on a keyboard, melting through hours, word by word, putting together small pieces of the Big Puzzle.

As our sages tell us – We are not obligated to complete the work, nor are we free to desist.  (Pirke Avot – Ethics of Our Fathers - 2:21, if you must know.)

And then we get these holidays – like today is Shavuot. Time out. I’m on holiday today, a holiday which I am not particularly observing, and one which seems something of an interruption of everything I have on my plate.

And so here I sit at work of my own choice.  I will proceed to the yoga mat and to the garden, in due time, perhaps within the hour. But for now, as I will, and as I must: I will post my own work

About Shavuot 


In case you are still wondering – as most people do -- Shavuot is the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jews. On the Jewish calendar, it falls 50 days after the second night of Passover and historically marks the new agricultural season, the Holiday of First Fruits. 

The food of choice for Shavuot, is cheese (most typically served as blintzes or burekas, Israeli cheese-filled dough pockets.) Why cheese: from Scriptures somewhere in Exodus, Israel is described as the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey.


Because, and just because,  a recipe is in order here, I offer my link to burekas, posted onFood52.  

For better blintzes than ever  I will attempt – I defer to a higher authority: Joan Nathan on  Chosen Blintzes for Shavuot.

Photos: Blinztes, Joan Nathan, courtesy of Food52   Burkas, VHenoch  
 & Thanks for stopping by. 

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