Yes, alas, tis true. My blog strikes at midnight, in the stealthy quiet of my bedroom, as I wearily close my eyes, the best blogging ideas begin to come forth. Trouble is, I'm half-asleep and I never, ever remember those thoughts in the morning. There must be some Freudian, or at least Pavlovian association here. Bed...Blog. Unless it's just alphabetical order.
In any event, the Twilight Zone nicknamed "Summer Vacation" has got me in its clutches, and basically, this paragraph-and-a-half is a long way of saying a short, "I apologize for neglecting my blog!" There! Am I forgiven?
There's lots going on in my life, most of it involving bored children and unmet deadlines, and always that striving for balance, sweet balance. I've just finished a couple of really interesting articles that you, if you are a valued Mishpacha Magazine reader, will enjoy (hopefully!) in the coming weeks. Plus, my new serial, Charades, has taken off with a bang. My characters have become so life-like in my head it's almost scary. The process of creating characters, for me, is like taking one of those tiny little pills, dropping it in water, and watching, fascinated, as this capsule turns into an enormous dinosaur or some other creature. My characters begin in my head as a little kernel of an idea, and then they take on a life of their own. This story is a fascinating one, to me. The characters and the dynamics at play are very intriguing, and the plot is going to take some very interesting turns. We'll see what reader reaction is like.
In any case, this isn't a blog full of insight or inspiration. It's just plain old me, saying hello, checking in to let you know that I'm still here, still committed to blogging even if my blog instinct is frustratingly, immutably, way nocturnal.
For those of you who may have noticed my dereliction in the blogging department, I offer only a humble apology and none of the conventional excuses ("I've been so busy!", "Had blogger's block!", "Cat ate the mouse!"). It feels good to be back, kind of like visiting an old romping grounds. Do I have anything of note to say today? Maybe yes, maybe no. I will only really know once I get started.
To catch you up on my life, in case you're interested, I've just ended my serial story, Shattered Glass. Due to circumstances beyond my control, the storyline had to be irrevocably altered, which caused no small amount of author and reader frustration. But nothing that happens in this world is purposeless. I have learned a lot from the experience and I am now happy to move on to the next project. Another spectacular serial waits in the wings, b'ezras Hashem (with G-d's help).
If you're in England, come see me on Sunday night, May 9th, in Manchester, or on Tuesday night in London! I'll be speaking about a very timely and magical topic, and it's an evening of "Life, Laughter, and Inspiration"--hopefully you can't go too wrong with that, huh? I'm looking forward to seeing the UK up close and personal. My children would like to know if I can make one of the Queen's Guard (I'm sure there's a different name for them, but too lazy to search for it!) soldiers laugh.
Well, I guess I just wanted to say hi and I'm back. Hopefully something more substantial will follow...
I had a blogpost here but took it down because I was worried that my venting might somehow get back to the person involved. (Thanks for your comment, Bikores. I had to take that down also--sorry!) I guess I could turn this incident and the implementation of my decision to take down the post into a lesson for life. Words are really powerful and we have zero license to use them to hurt other people. Even when we're upset. Ya get that, Riva? :-)
While I'm already on the subject of words and their power and being careful not to hurt other people through words, I just want to raise one issue that I've been giving some thought to. The dangers that the internet presents are well-discussed and very apparent, yet there's one angle that may be overlooked. That angle is anonymity. There's nothing so new about anonymously expressing opinions--people have been doing it way before technology evolved. But now, anonymous opinions are broadcast to the (sometimes unsuspecting) public faster than you can say "Click" and the writer need take no responsibility for ensuring that his/her words have been carefully weighed and measured. After all, she's not Leah Goldstein of Monsey, NY; she's shoegirl67 or TheMomma. He can mouth off about who he hates and why and still show his face at minyan the next morning, because no one would ever dream that BlueWolf is really Chaim Shmerel Hirsch.
There is, unfortunately, lots and lots of very bitter, poisonous, negative words circulating on the internet--some of it is downright hateful invective. These words are, sadly, being posted by people who, in their "real" lives, may be careful to adhere to the laws of proper speech and who would never come up to someone in the street and say the horrible things they feel perfectly comfortable typing onto their computer screen. Aside from the plain chillul Hashem (desecrating the sanctity of G-d's Name by behaving improperly, which leads others to denigrate Torah Jews and, a priori, their Creator, G-d) of Torah Jews penning words of this kind, there's also a question here about what kind of affect such diatribe has on its perpetrator. One's words, whether spoken or written, have a profound effect on one's soul and mind. Do we really want to internalize that vindictive, cutting comment we just posted on someone's blog (No, folks, this is not personal. Thank goodness, it seems only gentle, noble readers post comments on THIS blog. If anything, my frustration with posters is that people don't comment ENOUGH!)?
Maybe this "anonymity breeds contempt" phenomenon would make for a good psychological or sociological study. BIs there some kind of catharsis at work here? Some kind of Walter Mitty Meets the Web? The shy girl who never opens her mouth in real life is suddenly a big-shot know-it-all in the "kosher" chatroom, earning respect for her brash opinions. Is this okay? Is it wrong? Can it be fixed?
I think a good litmus test of whether something should or shouldn't be said is whether one is willing to say it without hiding behind a pseudonym. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Well, I finally did it--bit the bullet, took the plunge, grabbed the bull by its horns, hmmm, let's see, can I possibly dig up any other cliched maxims to further augment the absolutely trivial announcement I'm about to make?
If a writer blogs in the blogosphere and nobody responds, has she really blogged? Okay, not a perfect echo of the famous philosophical question regarding trees falling in forests, unheard, but a valiant attempt still.
About Riva Pomerantz
I'm a freelance writer, widely published in several magazines including the internationally-distributed Ami Magazine and Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly. Riva's work also appears on the award-winning website www.aish.com, amongst others. You can buy my books here.