A friend of mine told me that every time a relative of her published a book, he’d end up in hospital for two weeks prior to launch date from the stress of it all. I don’t think I’m that bad (BH…) but I certainly got very challenged last week.
Here’s what was going on: I’m actually trying to give this book a chance of being BOUGHT by real, live people, which means I’m putting a fair bit of effort into doing things ‘by the book’ and rolling out a marketing plan for it.
I actually quite like all that stuff, as I used to do it for a living and it can be very enjoyable and creative. When it’s not your own book you’re working on.
So, one of the things I was doing last week was trying to find websites that were a ‘good fit’ maybe for a guest post, or maybe for an interview, or a book review, or anything else that I could think of that would start to build the buzz about the book.
Dear reader, it was so hard!
Most of the websites I found that really spoke to me fell into two distinct categories:
1) The person had recently had a mid-life crisis and stopped posting
And / or
2) The person had recently had a mid-life crisis and was heading off the Derech.
For some reason, this hit me really, really hard, and I started to get that familiar feeling of not belonging anywhere again, and not really fitting anywhere, and having no real ‘place’ in the world, blah blah blah.
This stuff is always exacerbated in my family by Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, which starts Monday night, because my small family of four has very different opinions and outlooks about how best to celebrate it.
One of my kids is hardcore ‘dati leumi’ and told me she wants to join the army. (Thank God, I have five years still to pray on her, and ask God to talk her out of it.) She would buy 16 flags for my car, if I let here. As it is, we compromised on one.
Another of my kids went to Amona to protest a little while back, and currently doesn’t think much of the State of Israel (but would love to play loud music and BBQ in the middle of the Omer.)
My husband is still trying his best to be a proper almost-chareidi, and feels very torn about what’s the right thing to do vis-à-vis playing loud music and whooping it up. He has a shita that he’ll pray whatever the nusach is of the shul he happens to be in on Yom Ha-Atzmaut, with Hallel or without, without Tachanun or without, as he really doesn’t know what to think about it all, really.
I usually sit here in dread waiting for my kids to ask me ‘who are we celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut with this year?’ because the answer to that question has been complicated for years.
So all together, it can spark off a whole bunch of ‘belonging’ angst.
I told her about my ‘not belonging’ angst, how my family doesn’t fit any box, religiously, how my book doesn’t fit any community, how I can’t seem to find any websites that are the same as Emunaroma, hard as I try.
She gave me an awesome piece of advice: Stop looking at the differences, and focus instead on the similarities.
In the car on the way home, I was mulling this over, and it struck me that this piece of advice is the foundation of ahavat Yisrael and Jewish unity. Sure, there’s lot of things we could focus on in each other, and in other communities that really are icky and yucky. But the way forward is Azamra, Rebbe Nachman’s teaching to find the point of good in every Jew.
So, I’m giving it my best shot to try to find the point of similarity online, and to see if I can somehow flip my not-belonging into something positive and unifying.
Let’s be clear, that’s a very tall order. But I still want to try.