Given the disruption to my sleep pattern lately, perhaps it’s unsurprising I struggled to fall asleep last night. As I don’t like drinking milk, normally I would eat porridge to make myself drowsy, but porridge is not kosher for Pesach (approved for Passover). I tried eating Pesach cereal with boiled water added to warm the milk, but it didn’t taste great. In the end I sat up watching Babylon 5 to relax, which may have been the problem in the first place – a lack of passive recreation can keep me awake.

I was a bit burnt out on waking. I actually managed to get up earlier than I expected, given that I fell asleep around 4am, getting up at 10ish, but I went back to bed after breakfast and got dressed slowly after that.

I spent much of the day enjoying not doing very much after the busy weeks before Pesach. I did a bit over half an hour of Torah study and spent forty minutes or so writing a devar Torah (Torah thought) that I’m not too happy with. I’ve used some of the ideas before, plus it’s mostly my own chiddush (original insight) which always makes me worry that (a) I might be completely wrong or (b) people might demand something more rigorously rooted in the traditional sources.

I went for a run too. It wasn’t a good one; after nine minutes I came back home to change from tracksuit bottoms to shorts because it was a lot hotter than I expected for late March. Then I got a headache when I restarted, but insisted on forcing myself to continue to 5K as usual. I was worried for a while that I was going to be sick, but a combination of painkillers, cooling strip and a load of water (in case of dehydration) and crisps (in case of loss of salt) seemed to help get rid of hit fairly quickly in comparison with some previous exercise migraines, but it came back later, although not as bad.

***

I wonder if I have a lot of undischarged anxiety at the moment, perhaps unsurprisingly given the way Pesach ramps up my anxiety levels. It was one of my reasons for going for a run. There may be some unconscious guilt too. Related to this, lately I’ve been thinking about why it’s so hard for me to think positively about myself, why I see it as morally wrong. I think I feel that I’m not good enough to deserve to think positively about myself; that even if I have good points, they are far outnumbered and outweighed by the bad ones; that thinking positively about myself just makes me look down on other people; and that thinking positively about myself stops my personal growth. I’m not sure what to do about this. There does seem to be a part of myself that thinks I’m one bad decision away from becoming a serial killer and that I have to beat myself up the whole time to (somehow) prevent this.

***

I’m still wondering what to do about my novel, currently sitting in its third draft and waiting for a friend to read it and give feedback. (Despite the title of this post, I’m not currently writing it.) I think my mistake was thinking I could write mainstream literary fiction. I’m beginning to feel I’m more likely to find my voice as a writer of middlebrow pulp fiction, which is what I read (and watch) a lot. Or maybe I’m just not a good writer.

I want to write Jewish fantasy/science fiction/mild horror, which is not a very crowded genre to work in, although I don’t know how many publishers would be interested if there aren’t many readers. My audience would be non-religious Jews and non-Jews interested in Judaism, or at least interested in fantasy and not averse to a Jewish setting and details (like Faye Kellerman’s detective novels set in the Jewish community). I don’t want to preach or go down the Narnia route exactly, but I’d like to deal with some of the questions that face contemporary Jews (or face me) in an exciting setting.

10 thoughts on “Running, Writing, Thinking

  1. I would start out with short stories in various genres to see what appeals to you, and what clicks with your writing style and goals. Others can more easily give input on short stories than on whole novels. I’m usually nice to myself, but it’s difficult to allow myself to be happy sometimes; the threat of disappointment and tragedy seems to loom over me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Margaret posted above, I’d just write vignettes or shorts on an interesting premise, or even just a little scene between interesting characters. Often, through those scenes, I can get a feel of what I want to write next. But you’ve written a novel before, so you know what to do. Wishing you all the best with your sleep though. Insomnia can be tough.

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  3. I’m sure your novel is better than you think. But also, if you feel inspired to write something else, there is no need to wait.
    I enjoy reading Faye Kellerman’s books. I do think she does a good job of normalizing the observant Jewish characters. There are things that annoy me at times. Like Rina being way too perfect a character. But I find the books enjoyable to read.
    I feel like you are a good person and that you are many steps away from being a serial killer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re: novel: thanks. My wariness about starting something new is that I would ideally like to get this novel published if I can, and I want to make sure it’s out of the way, one way or another, before trying anything new.

      I’ve only read one Faye Kellerman novel, but I thought it was quite good.

      Re: being a good person: thanks again! Although when people say to me online that I’m a good person, I always feel conscious that they only know me through what I choose to share and how I choose to share it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get it – blogging makes it very easier to share only select aspects of yourself. I do the same thing to make myself more likeable (and I don’t claim to have succeeded, but I know I haven’t shared the truly dislikeable things yet.) But I also think that over time, you get a sense of a blogger’s genuine self, you know?

        Liked by 1 person

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