Shabbat Shalom. This entry isn’t going to be as formal as most, because the week’s over and I don’t really have anything like that to say. I have actually been rather preoccupied this month.
Some of you may have noticed that I am not attending as many events around town lately. That is because I am taking place in NaNoWriMo—otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Though it’s not a strictly Jewish event, it’s a great way to meet people in the D.C. area. I’m sitting with a few of them right now at a “write-in” at Mayorga Coffee! 😛
The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel—50,000 words—in the course of 30 days. Founder Chris Baty started the project 10 years ago in order to stop being the future “one day” novelist and to finally set himself up with something that every aspiring writer needs—a deadline.
Now, tens of thousands of people from across the world sign up to challenge themselves to this project. We keep ourselves motivated and connected to the larger community through chatrooms and podcasts and video submissions, as well as local meet-ups called “write-ins.” And although I don’t usually tout myself as a Marylander around these parts, I have to brag because Maryland is leading the regional wordcount. Soon, we’re gonna overthrow Seattle and be #1! 😀
Oh, and just to let you know, my novel does deal with Jewish themes. My main character’s father is a Jewish lit professor who is haunted by the fact that most of his family perished in the Holocaust, and then MC’s best friend (a Christian) just married her high school (Jewish) sweetheart. The relationship between MC and BF’s hubby is stronger than I originally thought it would be, however. Things might get interesting.
So, that’s where I am right now. In the meantime, Thanksgiving is coming up, and I thought I might refer you to one of my favorite holiday stories, Molly’s Pilgrim.
The story centers around a young Jewish girl, Molly, who recently immigrated to the U.S. with her mother. At Thanksgiving, Molly is assigned to create a doll of a pilgrim and once explaining the task to her mother, she is given a doll resembling an Eastern European Jewish immigrant.
At school, Molly, who is already teased for her poor clothes and mother who can only speak Yiddish, is subjected to more humiliation until her teacher realizes what has happened. She teaches the class that Molly and mother are modern day pilgrims; just as the Puritans once found freedom here in the 17th century, so now do the Jews.
Obviously, this story is written for a young audience in order to teach the lesson of tolerance, but it gets me every time. My mother bought it for me several years ago, and I suggest all other Jewish mothers with school-age children do the same! Keep the spirit of reading alive. 😀
Back to writing. Happy holidays, everyone!