Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Group Therapy

Every other Tuesday for the past two years I have been meeting with a wonderful group of men and women...my writing group. For years I have felt a real need to sit down and write. A story. I love telling stories.

But writing them takes skill and craft. So I began searching for a teacher...a mentor. And then one day D. showed up and filled that gap in my life. I am so grateful.

The first year everyone helped me write my first novel, My Heart Told Me...the story of my grandmother and mother.

During that year by honest critiquing and gentle prodding, my group brought me to the point where one day I said, 'My G-d! I'm a writer!'

A year ago last June, I had to close the doors on my learning center. For fifteen years we helped learning disabled children to stay in school and get the grades they felt they deserved.

But the intifada killed us. With each bomb that went off, less and less students appeared for their lessons until we had to admit that there was nothing more to do, but close our doors for good.

During all those painful months, I kept writing. And every other week, I went to the group. We read each other's work. J. is writing a terrific science fiction novel...now isn't he brave! K. is writing a fantasy fiction storybook for kids that is gorgeous. A. is writing the story of her life and is wading through her past history with courage and a sense of humour. The new lady in our group M. is writing about a man who is painfully shy...a novel that I could never write myself and one that I am amazed at with every turning page. That leaves A.L., the other man in our group who is co-writing a children's book with me. Lovely thing that takes place in the 50s somewhere in Kentucky.

And finally my novel. Emma Shelby is No More. Emma was orphaned at seventeen. When she got a scholarship to study at Wayne State in Detroit, she packed her bags and left Cleveland for good.

Her entire life changed the day she met Rafiq Moussa, a Lebanese Muslim from Dearborn.

I have been writing this story for a year now, never thinking that all my research and insight into the Lebanese mind and culture would come and play out in front of me on the television and over the radio.

I know Rafiq Moussa...I know his family...I know his culture. But Rafiq's family left Beirut long before the Hizbollah took over.

Rafiq wouldn't have let the Hizbollah endanger his family. He wouldn't have sat by as the katyusha rockets were fired from behind his apartment building. He wouldn't have put his babies to bed knowing that at any moment the Israeli's could and would retaliate.

And then I had to laugh. Here I am defending Rafiq Moussa.

It's eerie writing about a Lebanese family while in real life we are at war with them.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it turns out.

The novel, I mean. We all know how the real life story will end. The good guys climb up on their white horses and ride off into the sunset.

I wonder if they'll remember to take Emma with them.

Have a great day...stay safe...thanks for dropping in.

5 Comments:

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous the guv said...

Whoa, Giveret !!!

As your literary agent, it is my fiduciary responsibility to ensure that your interests are best served.

Towards that end, I am now advising you vis-a-vis the appropriate, and most effective, manner of flogging your unfinished novel.

Madam, the blurb you recently offered your many blog readers was tantalizing, but hardly sufficient. Next time you mention your book, flesh out the advertisement. Sexual innuendos, promises of violence and mayhem, and mention of exotic recipes are strongly suggested.

Further to your blurb, I feel obligated to tell you that you could have done without the reference to a white horse. With the exception of polo players, members of the Westchester Equestrian Club, and a handful of deviants and weirdoes, NOBODY buys animal books.

The bottom line here is gargantuan sales. We want this to be a best seller, and are aiming to reach millions of readers all over the globe. We want to reap handsome financial rewards.

Towards that end, Giveret, I am firmly advising you NOT TO DIVULGE THE NOVEL'S ENDING ( Or, as I believe you wrote, " I will tell you how it all turns out" ).
For, if you do, to put it In technical jargon... You'll end up working your tuchas off for babkehs !!!

The Guv

 
At 9:47 PM, Anonymous eugenia said...

I am Rena' friend, somehow got on your BLOG, encourage Rena to continue writing , please do the same , but MOST IMPORTANT STAY SAFE< STAY STRONG WITHOUT YOU IN ISRAEL WE ARE NOTHING HERE IN THE U.S.A. love shalom Eugenia

 
At 7:28 PM, Anonymous k said...

Great Marallyn. Thanks for sharing this with us. Shabbat Shalom. I'll be in touch next week. Love, K

 
At 7:29 PM, Anonymous david said...

Dear Marallyn,
Good one!

You have such a wonderful way with feuilleton (go ahead, look it up) writing. I really take my hat off to you.

By the way, this D. fellow sounds like a nice guy. I'd really like to meet him some day.

Keep up the good work and shalom al kol Yisrael,
David

 
At 7:30 PM, Anonymous m said...

Marallyn!

Thanks for sending this. I enjoyed reading about us all and especially about my novel

 

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