Today I don’t have much to say other than achievements, which is good because it means I’m doing things more than I’m ruminating about things.
I had an early (by my standards) Skype call with my rabbi mentor. Usually when I speak to him, I have some kind of problem to talk through, but this time I just wanted to catch up. I guess I needed to speak to someone other than my parents, my sister and my therapist. It was good to catch up. He encouraged me to promote my Doctor Who book more, but I’m still not sure how best to do that. I wish I was more involved in online fandom, but, as I’ve said before, modern fandom = Twitter = scary.
I had a scary few moments when I thought I had lost the 1,300 or so words I wrote yesterday, then again when found them, but thought I had lost the first chapter of the novel. Chapter 11 had saved as Chapter 1 on both my laptop and my USB back-up, replacing the original Chapter 1. Fortunately I had another back-up.
I wrote for over two hours, with little procrastination (although a short research break). I wrote another big chunk, as well as cutting and pasting some sections into a different order. When I get into the “flow” like this, I feel that I could really do this for a career. Then I stop and think about my failed previous attempt at a career, the bouts of writer’s block, the difficulty of getting published (e.g. my Doctor Who book) and then it’s harder to feel positive.
It was a draining passage to write (domestic violence and rape), because of the emotional subject matter; because I wanted to do it justice as a heinous crime, not a trivial thing as sometimes happens when men write about rape; and because it’s one of the key events of the novel, so I wanted to write it well. I haven’t looked over it again since finishing for the day. I do feel vaguely worried about writing it, but I feel that if I want to write seriously about domestic abuse, I have to take it to its conclusion, otherwise it’s trivialising.
I found an interval between the showers to go for a run. It was reasonably good. I spent about an hour on Torah study too, which was also good.
This article was interesting, by someone who had had a very strict and repressive Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish upbringing and left her family to find a more modern and spiritual type of Orthodoxy. Quote, “I believe that He [God] is much less judgmental of myself than I am, or that my parents are. After all, he made me with all my challenges. I believe He sees my growth and that I am letting go of religious scrupulousness in order to find my true path to Him.”
I wish I could really internalise that viewpoint. Even though I did not have a Haredi upbringing, I find it hard to let my emotional self connect with HaShem (God) the way I would like. I don’t see Him as punitive per se, but often as distant, the Ein-Sof (Infinite) of kabbalah and philosophy, and also as constantly planning painful challenges for me which, regardless of how positive they may work out for me in the long term, are extremely unpleasant in the short term (which can last decades!) and make me worry that I will not be able to hold onto my faith and practice amidst adversity. There is a Hasidic idea that goes something like, “We’re not allowed to say that life is bad, but we are allowed to say that life is bitter,” and that’s a bit how I feel.
I have some idea how I ended up with this instinctive viewpoint, but that has not been much of a help in shaking it, and I don’t know how to internalise a healthier one.
The article I linked to is really to promote the group Project Makom, which helps Haredi Jews who want to leave their community, but stay frum (religious), to integrate into the Modern Orthodox community rather than leaving Judaism completely. I assume I would not be able to make use of them, as I didn’t have a repressive upbringing, I’ve just developed the mindset of someone who did; also, I think they only exist in the USA. I do vaguely wonder what would happen if I emailed them, but I’m not sure what I would say. So my search to find a community I would fit into goes on…