The Fifty-Ninth Word


I thank you, G~d.

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’!

It’s true.  The Christmas decorations are….coming down.  For Easter. It might be time… (In explanation, I live in the Wisconsin woods.  Not too long ago I had four feet of snow outside my doorstep. Merry Easter.)

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…

~Stephanie, tbd.



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