I went to bed late and got up late again last night today. I don’t regret going to bed late, as I stayed up Skyping E. because she was depressed. But I slept for a long time again and when I got up it was already afternoon. Eventually I came to enough to get dressed and daven (pray) and go for a run, but I got an exercise migraine when I got back, which stopped me doing as much as I would have liked today.
I did manage to do forty-five minutes of Torah study. I’m trying out a new way of dividing my time for Torah study. The weekly Torah (in the narrow sense of the Five Books of Moses) reading is divided into seven aliyot and I used to like to read one a day, so that I studied something from the Torah itself every day, but now that seems a bit counterproductive, as it only takes five or ten minutes to read most aliyot, so the actual time spent getting the place and getting into gear (so to speak) is disproportionate to the time actually spent studying. More importantly, now I write a lengthy devar Torah (Torah thought) from scratch every week it makes sense to read the whole sedra (reading) early in the week to give me time to think about it and research ideas. So I read the whole sedra today and will study other things over the rest of the week, although I think the sheer amount I want to do is probably too ambitious.
The other thing I’m doing is giving up on reading the Artscroll-published Tehillim (Psalms). When I got it (a birthday present, but one I requested, I think when I was eighteen), I did not understand the Orthodox world and did not understand that every commentary has its own viewpoint and worldview. I did not understand the real differences between the Modern Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox worldviews and did not know that I would eventually feel uncomfortable with Artscroll’s traditional approach, focusing on Medieval attempts at etymology and Midrashic readings, and that I would want a more conceptual approach, but one focused on the straightforward meaning of the text rather than homiletics, and that I would become sceptical of a lot of Medieval etymology. I can still use the book for reference, and for the opening remarks giving an overview each psalm. Hopefully moving away from the extensive commentary there means I can get back in the habit of reading significant amounts of NaKh (the post-Mosaic books of the Hebrew Bible) every week, as that is something that I enjoy more instead of getting bogged down in commentary that does not interest me.
I would also like to take some serious time working on the Talmud each week, revising what we studied in the previous Saturday’s shiur (class) and looking ahead to what we might study in the next one (although it’s hard to estimate how far we will get), trying to use the tabulating strategy I was taught to try to understand each sugya (section). I’d like to get this book to help Talmudic language, although it’s proving hard to get hold of (I try not to use Amazon if I can avoid it, plus if they have such a long delivery date, it usually means there going to struggle to get it). The Talmud uses language in a very precise way that can be hard to pick up without help. It’s really supposed to be taught by a teacher rather than learnt from a book. For example, the word used to introduce a counter-argument based on logical reasoning is different to the word used to introduce a counter-argument based on a superior proof-text. The book I linked to describes what particular words and phrases denote beyond their literal senses. To be fair, that’s the type of thing that the rabbi flags up to us in the shiur, but I know I will process that information better if I can see it written down.
I looked at some stuff online about self-publishing my non-fiction book about Doctor Who. Some of the stuff I knew already as a librarian, but some I didn’t and in some places librarian practice differs significantly from bookseller practice (e.g. about capitalisation of titles).
I am not sure whether to go with IngramSpark or Lulu. I went to a confidence course led by someone who used Lulu to print her books, which I guess is a recommendation, but on the downside Lulu’s costs are not clear because they vary according to the book’s length and requirements. IngramSpark has clearer prices. My gut instinct is to go with IngramSpark, but I’m not sure why I feel like that.
I also spent some time working on my novel, in two fifteen or twenty minute chunks. I would have liked to have written for longer. I’m slightly worried about writing in little sessions rather than longer ones, fearing it might make my writing disconnected, but with my headache and the other things I had to do today (listed above, plus cooking dinner, from a packet, as I had no time/energy for cooking from fresh ingredients) – it was not really possible to do anything more. Despite the short amount of time, I wrote about 850 words which was extremely good. I’m not sure if I’m writing more because I’m getting into the flow of the writing or because much of this section is autobiographical and does not require so much imagination, which is potentially a trap.