April 20, 2019
For the umteenth time, I started writing my book. Two days ago I began, my session ending with fifty nine words written. Small potatoes in the written world, that land of writers. But it was the best fifty-nine words I had written in quite a long time. All the writing self-help tips were spot on. I knew. I knew I was writing the book. I just knew. After all these years, I was finally writing the story.
Today I have written seven hundred words more. It felt like nothing. I stopped when my head began to swim and the world pressed into my conscience. I promised myself to stop paying attention to word count as I continue, but I had been curious. I had been scared that this writing attempt was like the others, just another dead end road. I would once again begin, then I would once again either find or devise my roadblock. I would once again dead end myself into a writers block. It was a heck of a mindset (I apologize for the language).
But two days ago I wanted to begin again. Eventually, I kept thinking, that when I finally find my writer’s voice, I will write. And my book began in my mind. It began to weave. Therefore, I celebrate not only the two days worth of writing sessions but the compelling force I had felt. I knew. And today I did not feel my day had begun until I continued writing.
It is Passover today. And Saturday. And Four Twenty. I think I am cool for about twenty seconds that I can feel rather modern or urban-esque in its reference. Yes about twenty-one seconds and a roll of the eyes from my son tells me otherwise. Thank goodness because at fifty-three it seems a person could put forth a great deal of effort into that facade.
I know I cannot “carry” that image but I can happily entertain myself with twenty-one seconds worth of an embarrassing version of urbanesque. Aka my cosmopolitan charm. I am a bit laughable in that department especially since I am neither cosmopolitan or urban and the jury is still deliberating on the claim to ‘charming’!
Vayomer Eliohim. I rolled those words around my mouth, listening to my voice pronounce differently while listening to several YouTube videos. I decided then to also listen to my own internal critic. (Sometimes to be self-critical is a good thing. Sometimes.). I not only wanted to learn Hebrew but I wanted to teach myself to learn differently. Yes, I embrace my scattering thoughts. Yes I embrace my focus. Yes, I embrace my energy and drive to detail. But do I ever really ‘get there?’ Or, am I constantly making excuses?
I decided I wanted to ‘get there.’
I wrote in my last blog about learning Hebrew through those two words, Vayomer Eliohim, “G~d said.” I pictured myself picking up the language. Well, I saw myself possibly learning the language, with a mountain of emphasis on ‘possibly’. But if I did pick up the language (translate: If I really wanted to learn), I would do so by my roundabout way. I would pick up phrases. I would learn Hebrew by studying through the Bible. After all, it would be a knowledge acquired through and with faith. What could be better, right?
Um, hello Steph. That is not going to work. As noble as that may seem and as much as I told myself so, the methodology of learning a language means I needed to begin with a logical starting point. I began with counting one through ten.
The first time I heard the numbers, I thought that there was no way I would learn them. Nothing was familiar, the sounds seemed alien and there were no bridges between English and Hebrew. Plus I felt a bit belittled. “C’mon. I’m how old and I am studying how to count to ten?” Yes. Yes, I am.
The first time through, I did not even parrot back to the pauses in the video. Twice. Nothing from my mouth. Three times. Four. I repeated six. I could not think fast enough to repeat until the number six. “Shesh,” I said softly. My first Hebrew number. “Shesh” and I turned off the video. I was frightened. I had had no clue what lie in front of me. I knew nothing. But I wanted to know.
So I began counting while I drove. In the weeks since I last wrote, I counted and counted. I showed off for my son who with wit and obligation will tolerate his mother. Then I listened to more of the Hebrew Bible for the sounds and the flavors of a language which seem locked in my tongue.
Four days ago I began the Hebrew alphabet. While I ironed, I listened. “No way,” I told myself. I kept listening. I remembered when I needed to board up window openings at the Matthias building. Four years ago, with winter approaching, I constructed rather artsy boarded blockades in four, ten by eight foot, second story window openings. I had been frightened, sure of disaster and failure, yet I convinced myself I needed to proceed. And I did. But I always need to withstand first moments of total fear.
The alphabet was no different. Total fear. Silly, is it not? I kept ironing. I repeatedly listened to the same lesson. Never repeating aloud. And then I did. I softly began again.
The miracle of these past weeks is not only in the languages and in the writing, but I am finding my own learning. I did not excuse myself from logic. I did not excuse myself.
Most importantly, I no longer needed to or desired to. I would rather fail a few times.
Happy Passover. Happy Easter.
But mostly, lots of love. I wish you love.
With a kiss, of course…