Today, instead of Letters from Elsewhere, here’s a post about me, to catch up with some of the things I’ve done since… whenever.
The other day, I wrote two new verses to an old song. They’re inspired by a strange phenomenon: rain.
Look what they’ve done to my June, Ma
Look what they’ve done to my June, Ma. Look what they’ve done to my June. Well it’s the only thing they could do half right, And it’s turning out all wrong, Ma. Look what they’ve done to my June.
Look what they’ve done to my sun, Ma. Look what they’ve done to my sun. Well, they took some clouds and made them black And covered up the sun, Ma. Look what they’ve done to my sun.
Yes, it’s been raining heavily in various parts of the country, but not so heavily in Jerusalem. There has been flooding. One of the most afflicted towns was Sderot. You’d think they’ve had enough to contend with without the weather joining in.
It never rains in June in Israel. Don’t they know that?
If you don’t know the original song, I’m sure you can find it on Youtube. “Look what they’ve done to my song.”
…writing helps us cope with our ‘inside world’ in a therapeutic way. It allows us to explore our innermost feelings, fears hopes etc, in a safe environment, safe because we can stop writing at any time we want.
Sometimes internal and external worlds blend, like knitting, and writing can help with the unravelling.
Some time ago, readers of my blog asked me to write about every day life in Israel – about ordinary life that doesn’t make its way to your newspapers. I created a new category and called it, “Everyday life in Israel.” I had no intention of ever writing about politics or to take sides in any conflict. There are plenty of blogs that do that. They are written by people who are much more knowledgeable than I and hold much stronger views.
That said, the very fact that I live here, and chose to live here, says something about my opinions. I’m always amazed at the surprise shown in the media at the fact that general opinion in Israel is so much at odds with general opinion around the world. The reasons for that are clear to me.
We’re fighting for survival. Ever since the State of Israel was created in 1948, we have fought those trying to destroy us. We continue to do that now no less than previously. Yes, the means we have to protect ourselves have increased over the years, but so have those of all the other sides. I realise the rest of the world doesn’t see this as a fight for survival, but we who live here do, and that makes us think in a different way.
And we know the media lies. We have husbands and sons who serve in the army, who risk their lives to protect us, who risk their lives in an attempt to protect the lives of the citizens caught up in the place – Gaza – that has become such a mess. Clearly the thoughts and opinions coming from this knowledge will be different from those who believe those reports in the media.
So what is life like in a time of war/conflict? I can’t tell you what it’s like for those living in the south of the country where there are constant rocket attacks. I can’t tell you what it’s like for people who have to carry sleeping babies out to relative safety in fifteen seconds, although I do remember a previous war when we did have babies. I can’t tell you what it’s like to lose a son or husband or other family member. I can only tell you what it’s like for me, in one of the safest parts of the country.
I went to folk dancing twice this week in two different places and run by two different people. In the first, we danced to the usual songs but the atmosphere was not as usual. During a break, I sat with a group of people and the conversation was all about the situation. Did we know about the tunnels? How much did we know? Did we know about the mega-attack planned for the eve of the New Year holiday? And someone mentioned something I remember, too. During the ’80s, people who lived in Ashkelon often used to visit nearby Gaza City. They especially liked to buy the furniture sold there. I remember going there too, once, along with friends who lived in Ashkelon. No one felt afraid of going there. Times change.
At the other folk dancing group, the instructor managed to create a lighter mood. I welcomed those few hours when my mind didn’t dwell so much on all this.
Wars and conflicts have changed for me over the years. In the past, we watched the news in the evenings and went to work during the day, where we naturally discussed what was happening but otherwise got on with work.
Now I’m at home, and now there’s social media. I see a lot more of what’s being said around the world and a lot of what I see makes me sad. I’ve often been upset by being misunderstood (which happens often) and I’m similarly upset when my country is misunderstood.
I’ve never written a story that involves this conflict. My romance, Neither Here Nor There, doesn’t mention it. I’ve always thought I wanted to keep away from it, but now I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’ve exposed a bit of my inner world here. It’s not everyday life in Israel, but everyday life in Israel in times of war.
There’s plenty more that I could say and probably some that I wouldn’t say. I’m not about to give out my phone number, for instance, or talk about those closest to me. If you want to ask anything, please do. If you want to pick a fight with me, please don’t. This is not the place for it. You can write your own blog post. You can comment elsewhere. Attacks here will be deleted.
If I said I had a fear of public speaking, you would probably believe me. You’d probably say, “Me, too.” After all, most people do fear public speaking, and I should fear it even more than most. And it’s true that most sufferers of social anxiety do fear public speaking and many to such an extent that they would never dream of trying it.
Sorry, but I don’t. I feel much more at ease giving a presentation in front of a hundred people than talking to one person – not everyone I talk to, but most people.
Why? Because a presentation is planned in advance. When I know what I’m going to say, I know I can look at any number of people and say it. I’m not shy. A conversation is spontaneous. When you talk, you have to be able to think up things to say. While worrying about whether your clothes are suitable for the occasion, whether the other person felt the sweat on your hand when shaking it, whether the expression on your face fits the mood you should be in, you have to make up some witty, or at least presentable, remark. And I’ve never been good at multi-tasking.
So I’m not good at talking, and knowing that makes me more afraid of it. Also, knowing that most people aren’t afraid of it and don’t understand others who are makes me more afraid of making a mess of it. And talking, as opposed to public speaking, is something we all have to do – often. And I want to talk, too. It’s just….
I think I’d rather have had a fear of public speaking.