Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

Archive for October, 2020

To NANOWRIMO OR NOT TO NANOWRIMO?

National Novel Writing Month begins, as it has since 1999, on Nov. 1. I have always resisted joining, not that the resistance was so difficult, as I really dislike giving in to peer pressure, nor do I enjoy being told to write a certain number of words or else. The “or else” in this case is potential peer embarrassment.

So, what has changed, besides everything else, in 2020? You can see how well self-motivation has worked for me this year, during which I have added exactly zero words to my work-in-progress. I need external motivation, namely, a deadline. I have always found that when I have a deadline, I can get the work done early. No deadline gives me permission to procrastinate. And feel guilty about procrastinating, which leads to even more procrastination, in an endless loop. The ouroboros theory of writing is a lesson in futility.

As we say in Yiddish, I need a potsch in den tuchus in order to get my tuchus auf den tisch – a kick in the ass to get my ass off the table. IOW, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. And I’m not referring to cannabis.

So, who of you out there reading this blog have participated in Nanowrimo?What were your experiences? Did it give you that potsch in der tuchus that you needed to get moving?

“NEW NORMAL” FOR CLIMATE?

I believe we are witnessing climate change. Yes, it is true that weather fluctuates and even climate has changed over the eons. But weather refers to short term conditions; climate to long term ones. And those long term ones become the norm over the course of millennia, not in the 150 years or so since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Extremes of high and lows temperatures have increased and so have the frequency and severity of “weather events,” such as hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts and floods.

I am a birder and a gardener and have empirically observed (is that a tautology?) changes because of climate change. For example, 25 years ago, it used to be a big deal to see a Black Vulture here in So. Jersey; now I see them frequently all year. And I put up my hummingbird feeders earlier in the spring and remove them later in the fall. (“Hope is the thing with fathers.” – Emily Dickinson.) Plus, our frost-free date is earlier and first frost date later. I have roses still blooming, milkweed seeds germinating, and hibiscus and goldenrod blooming simultaneously.

The “new normal” is in constant flux.