I felt drained again on waking and didn’t really feel alert all day; rather hungover and burnt out. It’s possible that I did a lot yesterday and have burnout today, although I didn’t feel like I did much. It was hard to get going.


I’m worried about the plot of my novel, and making sure it isn’t inadvertently sexist in its handling of the abuse theme. It’s harder than it looks, because novel structure, the need to unite plot strands and provide closure, is forcing the plot one way, when I think that anti-sexism should push it another. The real problem is that the abuse plot is a sub-plot when it probably should have been the main plot, but that would be a very different novel, and one I probably couldn’t write. The other problem, of course, is that we like fiction to be neat and polished, whereas life is rambling and messy.

One possible solution, albeit a drastic one, is significant rewriting. At the moment the main character narrates his story in the first person, and these chapters alternate with the secondary character’s story in the third person. If I rewrote the first person chapters into the third person, I’d lose immediacy and the idea of narrating a story from the point of view of someone with high functioning autism (which was the starting point of the whole thing), but might restore balance to the narrative overall. It’s something to think about, anyway.


I would have liked to have gone for a walk, but we’re closely shielding Mum at the moment, as her surgery is tomorrow, and so we’re not going out at all at the moment. I was psyching myself up to go to shul (synagogue) on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year, which is in a little over a week), but I don’t think I’m going to make it. I think this will be easier for me, psychologically, than for other people, as my issues have often kept me at home on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in the past, so I’m used to the idea of davening (praying) alone rather than with a community and missing out on singing and a lot of the prayers that are only said with a community.

I spoke about this with my therapist today and she suggested building up to going to shul, doing some things that I find a bit easier first, like going on a shopping trip indoors and around other people. I’ve hardly been shopping in the last six months, so that would be a good idea.


Other than that there’s not a lot to report, just the usual (Torah study, devar Torah, therapy, ironing, reading a book on writing).

8 thoughts on “Writing and Shul

  1. It seems like it’s important to keep the autistic main character in first person. I hope your mom isn’t feeling too nervous about her surgery. How are you and your Dad doing? I dislike going to the store these days, but the therapist’s advice is good. Desensitizing ourselves to the presence of people, especially crowds, takes some effort, even for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure what you mean when you say you are concerned about your writing coming over as sexist and are therefore considering re writing in the 3rd person. Is this because your lead character is expressing views you don’t share or because you do share them? Your best writing is probably your most instinctive writing. I wouldn’t worry too much about writing rules or what other people think. (Have you ever read The Piling of Clouds by Edgar Mittelholzer? Deals with a very controversial subject but from the perspective of the perpetrator. It is a very hard read — hard on the reader — because you are led to try to understand what could lead someone to act in a certain way — and instinctively we don’t want to understand, just condemn.)

    On the other hand I am probably totally misunderstanding you. Is there any one you trust who has a good understanding an appreciation of writing who would read a chapter or two and give you feedback?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With the sexism, it was more that I worry that the female character, who suffers severe abuse, comes across as an auxiliary in the male character’s story rather than a character in her own right, which I feel she should be. Possibly I’m over-thinking this.

      I haven’t read The Piling of Clouds, but from what you say, it reminds me of the Jorge Luis Borges short story Deutsches Requiem, which is written from the perspective of an unrepentant Nazi war criminal justifying his actions.

      Unfortunately, I am not sure there is anyone who could read it at this stage. E. read some of the early chapters, but I’m not in contact with her at the moment.


  3. For what it’s worth I’d be happy to read your writing if you thought it might be helpful at some point. (I have in the past proofread and given feedback on friends’ and relatives’ dissertations but not fiction). However, you might want to find someone who has a literary qualification. Have you ever thought of joining the Society of Authors? Or sought advice from one of the many writing groups/organisations that already exist (e.g. National Centre for Writing)? I am sure there is somewhere you can get good feedback from a qualified person without having to pay a fortune.

    Liked by 1 person

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