I wrote a draft query letter for an agent about my novel. The process was pretty terrifying. I asked E for some advice as writing a query letter seems to be a very different skill to actually writing a novel, more like marketing and (self-)promotion than creative writing. I feel a bit like I’m writing a job application, and those have not always gone well for me, although I feel more confident submitting sample chapters than having an interview. E suggested a few changes and additions, which I hope to add later in the week, as I’m pretty exhausted now (see below).

I also made a couple of very small changes to my manuscript, rewriting a few of mentions of real-world things that could get me into copyright/product placement trouble of one kind or another.

That all took about an hour and a half, including some procrastination time. This was unfortunate, as today was another slow day with lack of energy and low mood, particularly on waking. I hope I am not drifting back into burnout or depression, although there’s really no way to tell at this stage. I went for a walk, but it left me more drained than reinvigorated. To be honest, I was more invigorated by spending an hour working on my (rather long) devar Torah (Torah thought) for the week, which was longer than I really predicted or intended. It’s on a topic that fascinates me, but which hardly ever gets asked in the frum (religious Jewish) world, namely, why was it so hard to stop the Israelites worshipping other gods?

I also read another chapter of the biblical book of Nehemiah; I have an idea why so many of the chapters of this book and that of Ezra are just long lists of names, but they are frustrating to read. I think people who haven’t read Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) assume it’s all like that, but mostly it isn’t, it’s mainly Bereshit (Genesis) and the last few books that are full of name-lists. Somehow takes longer to read the name-lists than ordinary narrative too, which seems counter-intuitive; I suspect my brain takes longer to process unfamiliar words like names, particularly as relatively few names in Tanakh are ever repeated. Apparently the idea of naming a child after an ancestor hadn’t taken root at that stage.

11 thoughts on “Books, Sacred and Secular

  1. Sounds like an interesting DT this week! Looking forward to reading it. On a related note, the question of when naming children after ancestors became a thing actually sounds like a pretty interesting thing to explore…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a good question re: worshipping other gods. I don’t think that as a society today, we are all that different; I think we’re still into worshipping other gods (celebrities, lifestyle fads with cultish followings, etc.) in a way.

    My Bat Mitzvah parsha (which has no relationship to my birthday) was one with a long list of names. A real tongue-twister to learn!

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  3. I’m impressed that you actually read all of the names. Maybe the Israelites were tempted to worship other Gods because all the begats (or whatever their Hebrew name is) in oral Torah transmission were getting tedious…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eh, reading Nehemiah: Statesman and Sage on the Tube this morning and Dov Zakheim finds a lot of meaning in what seemed to me a boring list of people who built the walls of Jerusalem, so maybe there’s more to them than meets the eye…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Why was it so hard to stop the Israelites worshipping other gods? I bet God would like an answer to that one too!! That First Commandment has taken a lot of beating. (It is the First Commandment, right?)

    Liked by 1 person

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