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Monday, August 30, 2004

On "Writers' Workshops".

I've never attended any such workshops.

They claim they'll teach you "techniques".

You get the "tools": A story should have a begining, a middle and an end.

Draw a map. Make a list of your characters. Use simple language. Make sure you're understood.

Stiffle your inner voice. Don't let it go wild. You're here to entertain. Just tell your story and let the editor clip the seams.

Teaching techniques is "murder to dissect" for me.

In my experience, as you plunge deeper, you do better on your own. I would say even that you have no choice but stay on your own and dive, or stay on the surface and play with friends, splashing water. Beware of writing workshops, stay away from journalism - so you won't get conditioned to think what does the reader expect, instead of paying respect to what you yourself are expecting from your writing - to stay true to your singular voice.

Don't support the book "trade", not as a reader and for sure not as a writer. This troll insults your intelligence, pollutes, endangers our culture and literary heritage.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Strike the root, but make sure you see it...

Upon reading another article on the problem The Other poses here and there:

In my whole life, I've never met a person of Armenian origin and still no one has managed to persuade me that "Armenians are" (actually all the list that some easy riders proclaim about the Jewish people).

As Franz Werfel testifies in his important Forty Days of Musa Dagh, it was, and unfortunately to this day it is still possible to manipulate and brain wash groups of people, to instill hatred toward The Other, the stranger, the minority.

It is my conviction that evil will continue to flourish as long as the Individual person won't accept responsibility to think clean of stereotypes, with a pure heart. Not an easy feat, indeed, but the alternative has proved itself as much more worse, throughout generations.

The same goes to ideas. It was not the idea of communism that failed, but the same trait of hunger for unlimited power which it was supposed to help strike at the root.

The idea of Zionism, as a liberation movement, is not to be blamed nor the idea of national liberation for the Palestinians, but again the same trait of hunger for unlimited power which turned upon all of us here in the Middle East crashing as a boomerang.

It is our responsibility as individuals , to limit power. We won't succeed in doing so as long as we accept manipulations and stereotypes.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Ben Gurion, Nixon, Bush, Sharon...

The more I read about USA, the more I feel really baffled - is it about USA or about my country?

When it comes to news on Bush - I'm completely in the dark. Are they misspelling Sharon's name?

Countries are easier to understand. Physically, Israel is small - USA is huge.

With Bush and Sharon it goes the other way.

No wonder I'm confused daily.

Then, the media. In Israel it used to be that every political party had its own newspaper.

Those were replaced later by independent, commercial media.

The journalist was entitled "the author".

No more.

Now we are back to square one, with a small difference. If at the olden times "the author" was the mouthpiece of the political party, directly - now the journalist is enjoying the services of the PR or Press Assistant.

To-night, reading Antonia Zerbisias, as re-published at the excellent truthout, I can only respond with the Hebrew slang, "I've already been in this movie"...

Probably the most troubling admission comes from Karen DeYoung, a former assistant managing editor who reported on the prewar palavering: "We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power," she says. "If the president stands up and says something, we report what the president said."

But since when is a presidential pronouncement The Word Of God? What happened to inquiry, investigation and, what's it called again, journalism?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Just Released!

Thanks to Helen, the multi-lingual aspect is getting enriched with the brand new Deutsch category.

Helen has volunteered a few translations from the English.

Your constructive comments and ideas are most welcome!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Emigrant or Immigrant - it's Vladosgrant.

Vlados has an English site, on Blogger, worth reading.

Don't miss it!

Have you ever been a prisoner?

My first impulse was to say, most indignatly, Of Course Not!


How many times in your life have you felt as if robbed of freedom?

Wasn't childhood a prison in more than one sense - the historical as well as the personal? And to this day - aren't you daily fighting inside your little cell, encircled by bigotry, stereotypes, wars, work, abuses, fears...

Since last week, Palestinian prisoners in Israel are on a hunger strike. Why, and what are their demands you may read at length in the Israeli media.

Collective Wisdom

This site is not one voice, as a proper blog should be.

A polyphonic compilation, a basket full of wisdom.

Some of them you might have heard already, like this one:

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

A good place to come when life seems too much for you.

Friday, August 13, 2004

What really happens in Iraq?


We know so little - we grab each piece of direct information.

CBFTW was an anonymous soldier in Iraq. Still alive, hopefully, yet no more anonymus.

You might have read his "My War" blog.

I've read him for the first time only today, following a link for An Interview with an Iraqi Man.

He says he was not armed when he interviewed him.

And the Iraqi man? Full of praises for the US army and goverment he is indeed.


Once I had a Palestinian plumber working some in my house here in Tel Aviv.

He promised to come on a certain date.

When I finally got hold of him and asked why had he promised since he knew he won't be able to make it, he said:

"I didn't want to insult you."

Reading that interview I assumed the Iraqi volunteer did not want to insult our soldier, so he told him what he knew was expected of him to say. Then CBFTW did not feel like insulting his readers, so he told us what he seemed to perceive as most pleasing to the ear of the uninitiated.

Not an easy position for both of them, not a happy one for all of us involved in this tragic existence nowadays.


Reading further into the blog, I was perplexed, since the guy was all along writing from his guts, with much courage, intelligence, sensitivity and a great natural talent.


Then I came upon on the previous post:

In this episode CBFTW is called to order by his officer. They won't censor him, but he should show his post to his commander, prior to publication.


Why now? The guy was blogging for two months already.

A few posts down, the answer stares you in the face:

A most graphic, detailed report from the scene of war led entirely by USA troops such as our blogger- in stark contradiction to the CNN reporting of "Clashes between police and insurgents".


CBFTW, why do I decipher in the last three letters of your name the acronym for "F. The War"?

Or is it "Cool Brother Forsake True War"?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

On Being an Unpaid Writer

Everybody seems to be still full asleep - the first bus, the closed eyed shutters in the buildings, the butterflies in my green garden.

On the electric wire, two young crows, a wing distance between the two of them.
She's looking straight ahead.
His head is turned towards her, his beak moving.

My window is closed, I cannot decipher the crow crow monologue, yet for sure I won't open the window and invade their privacy.

She stays still, unmoved.
He ventures two tiny steps closer.

Immediately she takes flight, disappearing among the trees.
He stands still, his beak raised to the rosy fingered sky.

Then off he flies. Where to?

read it in Russian; in Polish;

Incredible Cheap Beer

I know close to nothing about Iran today or since the Islamist Revolution.

I know some about suffering complete, immediate, fully conscious fear of annihiliation.

Burried deep in my heart and essence, rearing it's trembling head daily throughout this modern brutal existence.

Like a soothing balm to the soul come noble people from the forty corners of the world and say, Let's stick together.

Happy new year, Universe.

No, no: MultiVerse.

Incredible Cheap Beer

I know close to nothing about Iran today or since the Islamist Revolution.

I know some about suffering complete, immediate, fully conscious fear of annihiliation.

Burried deep in my heart and essence, rearing it's trembling head daily throughout this modern brutal existence.

Like a soothing balm to the soul come noble people from the forty corners of the world and say, Let's stick together.

Happy new year, Universe.

No, no: MultiVerse.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Let me tell you...

Working on my manuscript I had to find out about present Dachau.

Remember the days you had to go to libraries, search through your dictionaries, encyclopedias, friends' or university libraries, under the bed...

Now all you have to do is, search the net. In a couple of seconds Google will Aladin-style bring you whatever you ask, and much much more.

All of a sudden before your eyes glitters a jewel. It's like looking at your garden and suddenly discovering some beautiful leaves of an unknown plant.

Here she is. Another free spirit in our boundless blognation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Have you been to Bilbao, Spain?



In the beginning, when HILAI wasn't even a seed, just an idea burning in my bones, I met in NYC with the Director of The New Israel Fund.

I was told right away that first of all I must create a non-profit organization.

Never heard of such a creature. The only ones in Israel at that time, almost the only ones, were created and run by political parties, or Ministries, to bring in more funds to their coffers.

"And the most important thing, is to get a distinguished Advisory Board."

"Are you kidding? Everybody in Israel likes to give advise, asked or unasked."

From one to another I managed to recruit some big names. Why not? They liked the idea - to establish an artists colony in the Galilee, with artists and writers contributing to the community, during their short stays, in peace oriented cultural activities.

Additional volunteer help brought in Saul Bellow, Aaron Copland, James Rosenquist.



I arrived in NYC, this time to have an initial meeting with some donors.

In my pocket was James Rosenquist's phone.

Kindly, he invited me to his house.

A house indeed. Three floors.

"Why not stay for dinner? I've already invited a few friends."

I was sleeping at a volunteers' family, out of town.

He said, "Never mind, there is enough room here for you to sleep."

At that time Rosenquist's studio was at an airplane shed in Florida. So big are his works.

In his NYC house he had torn down all the interior walls, probably to make room for a piece or two of art...

I slept in that huge space of a whole floor in which the only furniture piece was a large bed.

I well remember that I was sitting for awhile at one of the large windows, with a tear in my eye, asking myself what I was doing there instead of just writing, at my own modest home, the way Rosenquist devotes his life to art alone.


Two gifts were offered me on that visit. Only one of them I took along.

Rosenquist, in his kindness, offered to create a silk screen of several hundred copies, for us to sell and benefit the project.

What burned under my fingers then was to start the work itself. I was to invest one year alone and time was running out.

I ended up working on Hilai for eleven years. Would it have taken a shorter time if only I had chosen to invest my energy in raising money for the silk screen printer?

In the afternoon, while we were conversing, he got an urgently expected phone call, apologized, took it for two seconds, and then immediately made another one as short as the first, and turned the answering machine on.

Until then, after such a call I would write down in my journal that I should call so and so later on.

No more.

It does save time, even if not years. Above all it buys some peace of mind.



If only Bilbao was across the street here...

News from France

In today's Haaretz English edition - an interview with Lantzman:

noted that Jean Paul Sartre once said, "anti-Semitism is not an opinion; it is a crime" - and was right. "Today, however, anti-Semitism is an opinion. Just as there are people who don't like meat or a certain fabric, there are people that don't like Jews."

I would rather say anti-semitism is a generalization, racist, masked as an opinion.

Rationalizing insanity is the hallmark of all racists responses to the complexities of life.

The challenge life poses to every human being is, has always been, to avoid the crowd, to stand up to the maddening crowd.

Stop stop stop!

My USA fellow bloggers, I won't interfere as long as you discuss only your elections, after all it might only affect my life...


"We will never be seen as an honest broker as long as we support Israel - are you suggesting we no longer support Israel?" (Comment 20)

By "Israel", Do you mean Corinna and the majority of the Israelis who honestly want out of the territories and back to sanity - or our present misleading government?

All you need is to Support Sanity. There are a myriad of ways to resolve conflicts. A leader up to his ears in wars might seem resolute, but resolution in itself is not such an impressive quality. We need leaders resolute in a sincere quest for rational solutions.

I was just reading now about the Vietnam war at a few Israeli academic sites while simultaneously educating myself about our own wars here. It is completely amazing to see how generation after generation was led by the nose by leaders admittedly clinging to their chairs.

You have a choice - be gullible now, again and again, and then tear your hair twenty years from now, or learn from that past and act, resolutely, here and now.

You know what the problem is?

Honest people cannot even grasp, let alone internalize, that dishonesty exists.

It keeps us blissfully eternally surprised.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The Reason I'm not running for Presidency

I read at BlogCritics that the "books industry" is cooking some trash bent on smearing the Democrats' candidate name.

Now you see why I'm not running for Presidency either in USA or in Israel.

As of to-day now I'm the sole owner and writer of my life stories. At no account I'd allow a good-for-nothing z-rate scribbler steal my precious property!

Diogenes' advise:

Buy some candles and start your own search for Truth.

If you find it, wake me up.

Monday, August 2, 2004



Manipulation is based upon a truthful piece of information mixed up with some well calculated misinformation, deviously delivered by Know-all Power, at well chosen times, straight at the door step of the weak and ignorant Me or You.

The hidden message: "Do not change horses while riding uphill!"

Not all proverbs are wise. If the horse is incompetent, the only way to negotiate your way to the top of the hill would be to change that horse right away.

An universal challenge.


It used to be that everything American reached us ten years later: MacDonald, homeless, consumerism, you name it. Even New Age fads.

Now it's the other way: Same tactics were (and are) used here in Israel before election and/or any internal political crisis.

If the prophesy comes true, you won't be able to say you were not warned or that Goverment was idle.

If it doesn't, then it will show you just how great Goverment is.

It's a win-win tactic. As long as people choose to be gullible, Father Fear will eternally lead us.

So how do we discern?

Ask not how your goverment can lead you into submission, Ask how you can lead your goverment into admission (to unbiased Truth).

Easier done than said...