What do you do when someone comes to stay and doesn’t leave?
It happened once in my childhood home. My parents felt imposed upon, but they didn’t say anything. After all, she was family, albeit distant. So they put up with her for two months until she finally returned to South Africa.
Social anxiety has been my unwanted guest for fifty years. I haven’t just told it to leave; I’ve fought against it. And lost. It never went back to where it came from – wherever that is. So now I’ve accepted it’s here to stay. In fact, I’m making friends with it and turning our relationship into a partnership.
If it weren’t for social anxiety, I wouldn’t have created the book
My world and your world. Their world and our world. Where am I? Where are you? Where are they?
Somewhere, further down in this post, I will talk about tomorrow’s book launch. If you don’t want to read my prattle, you can go there now.
Things used to be easier in the old days. Worlds kept themselves separate. Facebook brings them all together. It’s hard.
One minute I’m reading about the topic that’s uppermost in the mind of all Israelis. Three teenagers were kidnapped by terrorists. Parents look at their children, knowing it could have been them. How can a sixteen-year-old cope with being held by people who want us all dead?
The next minute, without even scrolling or clicking, I see a joke and I try to laugh. Then there’s a beep and I have to read and comment on a totally unrelated topic. Yes, have to, because it’s part of my job of being a writer. I have to look away from my world and become part of yours for a while.
Yes, I know it’s happened to you, to. There was 9/11, 7/7 and all the rest. But when those things happened, all the worlds were feeling similarly shocked. Now, it’s just us. For everyone else it’s business as usual. Who cares about three boys?
Then there’s their world: the world of those who are euphoric over the news. I see that, too, when people post their pictures and comments, before I look away in disgust.
But I really wanted to talk about another world, one that is right here in Jerusalem. The other day, I walked into the haredi world to take pictures. But when I was there, I didn’t feel good about photographing them, even though no one took any notice of me at all.
I hurriedly snapped a few photos and escaped from another world where I don’t belong.
Esty, the heroine of Neither Here Nor There, did belong there. She grew up there. Her family and friends and everyone who knew her expected her to remain in that world for the rest of her life.
And they expected her to meet her future husband two or three times, sitting far apart from him so as not to touch him by mistake, before making a decision about whether to spend the rest of her life with him.
In my novel, I don’t make any judgements. My characters make judgements occasionally, but mostly this is a novel of discovery. The characters find out about the other world on their doorstep.
I’ve said enough for now. If you want to join in tomorrow’s festivities, which will include a competition, go to this Facebook page. You can join it now.