All posts tagged: writing

Writerly Advice from Best-Selling Author Scott Turow

You must treat your art as you would any other job: Show up everyday! This might be the number one golden writerly advice. We repeat it to ourselves; stamp it in capital letters above our desk. And no matter how many times and versions we hear the same advice, it is never enough. On Tuesday I attended a master class by the best-selling author and attorney Scott Turow at Israel’s Bar Ilan University. Turow mostly writes crime and mystery novels. His books have been translated to over 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies. Also a successful, practicing lawyer, he writes about what he knows (golden advice two). His first publication was a non-fiction book as a first year Harvard Law student: One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School. And yes, he wrote it while studying at Harvard Law and it became a best seller. In his lecture Turow touched on many topics from the writing life to the doom Amazon has brought on the publishing industry to the …

A Smartphone Addiction Saga

Do you ever feel like you are less focused than you once used to be? Is your attention span shrinking? What do you do in those seemingly “dead” minutes while waiting for the bus or a friend to show up before a date? How do you spend those 15 minutes between awaking and actually getting out bed, those moments spent standing by the stove waiting for the soup to heat? My hand automatically reaches to my iPhone and wherever Facebook ushers me. There comes a sudden curiosity to Google “cooking with fresh turmeric” when I don’t even have turmeric—or hold that thought! Let me look up how to spell infinitesimal, because why not do that right now, in the middle of the street, as wait for a green light? Lately I notice that my concentration scattered. I check my email in the middle of writing an essay, answer Facebook messages half way into a book, and before I know it, I am reading about the latest adventures of ISIS or watching a TED video on …

When the Muses Block your Creativity

A few weeks ago, a Muse hit me on the head—not with a magical wand but with a book. It was on one of Tel Aviv’s few gloomy days. A grey wind blew outside my window, making the thought of any venture outside even more depressing than staying in. A writer’s block had occupied all corners of my keyboard. I must get out of the house, I told myself and hopped on my bike. I rode through Allenby, dodging low clouds and loud busses to arrive at Halper’s Books – one of Tel Aviv’s hidden gems for used books in English. I didn’t have a book in mind. One should approach used bookstores like an antiques store; you never know what you will find. At this point you are probably expecting me to reveal that I discovered a special edition of The Wasteland or Anne Karenina, soiled by coffee stains and breadcrumbs left from their previous owners. No. I bought almost-new copies of The Road (saw the movie but never read the book) and Alain …

A World through Transcultural Eyes

With globalization a trend of the past, cultures are no longer clashing but rather mixing, people are no longer stationary within the traditions that they are born into, but rather constantly evolving. Over two months have passed since I arrived back in my apartment in Tel Aviv. Once again there is a drawer designated for my underwear and I reunited with my electric toothbrush. Almost every day, I run into friends and acquaintances on the street. After all, Tel Aviv is a microcosm for cosmopolitan urban living. They ask if I have “returned.” I don’t really know what to say. I am here. For now. I don’t know if I will stay, how long I will stay, where I will go when I go. And I am fine with not knowing. My dear friend Aditi’s wedding in Portugal provided the perfect excuse for flying back to this rusty corner of the world. (Posts on Portugal are in the works). But I had other reasons, too. In Mexico, I realized that a year of gallivanting around …

On Dreams and Husbands

THE LAND OF DREAMS | There was a huge, open-air camp. Singing plants and illuminated chilis sprouted from magicians’ hats and everyone offered dreams for barter. Some wished to trade dreams of travel with dreams of love; others offered dreams of laughter in exchange for sad dreams to release a long-needed cry. A man walked about looking for the bits and pieces of his dream, which was shattered by someone who smashed into it: He collected the shreds of his dream and pasted them together to make with them a banner of colors. The water bearer of dreams carried the water in a vessel on his back and dispensed it in tall cups to whoever got thirsty while sleeping. A woman wearing a white tunic stood on a tower and combed her tresses that reached her toes. The comb shed dreams with all their characters: the dreams were born from the hair and glided out into the air. Excerpt from _El Libro de Los Abrazos_ by Eduardo Galeano. Trans. Nathalie Alyon “But how is Nathalie going to find a husband …

Traveling Alone in Distant Lands. Afraid?

I can think up many a reasons for packing up my apartment and traveling to the other side of the world by myself. I want to learn new languages, understand other nations, see the rainforest, and climb strange mountains… But the real motivation for leaving home is to learn one thing: to be alone. I’ve always had this romantic notion that to be a true artist—whatever that truly means—one must have a personality that thrives on solitude. I imagine a painter locked up in a basement for days, weeks, months, working on her masterpiece. Or picture Virginia Wolf shooing away servers in her country retreat in Sussex, in self-imposed imprisonment, to think, to write, to be alone. After John Steinbeck finished college he was broke and needed to find a way to support himself that afforded him the time to write. The 24-year old aspiring writer accepted a job at a large estate in Lake Tahoe as its sole caretaker. “It required that I be snowed in for eight months every year. My nearest neighbor was four …

How I Quit My Job to Travel and Write

I am about to embark on a cliché. Two days ago I handed in my resignation to the manager of the research institute where I have been working for almost five years in order to leave my settled life for that of a nomad. With no plane ticket purchased, nor a clear idea of where my round-the-world trip will commence, I declared that I am leaving, flying away to travel the world and write. “What can I do to change your mind?” my manager asked. My decision seemed impulsive to those around me and it was, considering that I woke up two days ago with not much more than the intention of eating breakfast and driving to work. Yet this has been something I have been fantasizing for many years: to leave my comfort zone in Tel Aviv where I have a home, friends, a job and journey into to the world alone. But all of that doesn’t matter. Each word that is written in this first blog entry is a testimony to the ordinary within …