Inspired by Shimshonit’s Foodie interviews, Ilana-Davita’s interviews last summer and by Hannah’s Cooking Manager interviews (links at bottom), I decided to come up with a series of my own. Who would be most likely to answer a series of questions, I thought? Writers! I decided to interview a few people about writing.
Thank you so much, Lorri M., for being my first one! Lorri M. writes the blog Jew Wishes; I greatly enjoy her book reviews, thoughts on current and past events, picturesque photos, and her warmth. About her blog she writes: “My only goal with this blog is to try to foster religious and cultural awareness relating to Judaism.”
1) When did you realize that you like to write?
I realized I liked to write when I was an adolescent, starting with poetry and short stories. I would write my thoughts down on scraps of paper, or whatever was handy for me to write on, whenever an idea for a line or two of poetry, or whenever I thought of a good sentence/s to use for a short story, so I wouldn’t lose the thought or idea.
2) When did you realize that you like to read?
I loved reading the moment I was given books as a very young child, even before starting grade school. I would browse through the pictures in the books over and over again, and learned to read simple words before I began grade school. My parents encouraged me to enjoy reading, and fostered my love of books.
3) Which authors influenced you in your youth? Which authors or writers influence you now? (influence of style or in life choices or both)
I am an avid Bronte sisters fan, both of their novels and their poetry. I have been since I was a young teenager. Jane Eyre is my all time favorite classic novel. I also enjoyed Jane Austen’s works. Their depictions of their surroundings filled my senses. I liked how they would bring me back to a time and place that intrigued and fascinated me, and remember hoping and dreaming that one day I would be able to visit those places, especially the moors of Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters. I have visited Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage several times, and have visited other cities that the Brontes sisters traveled to and lived in for a while. One can see why they wrote what they did about their environment…and the visits were so illuminating. I have also visited Jane Austen’s birthplace and homes.
The authors who influence me now are ones related to WWII/Shoah/Holocaust memoirs, Jewish Literature and Jewish authors. I incorporate these authors and their works into my daily life choices and in my own writing. Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Herman Wouk, A.B. Yehoshua, Sholem Alecheim, Amos Oz, Aharon Appelfeld, Belva Plain, Meir Shalev, and so many others, give me food for thought and discussion, and bring me illumination, both in the non-fictional and fictional prose and in religious radiance.
4) Have you ever taken a creative writing course?
I majored in English (writing) in college and university, and English Literature was my minor .
5) Have you ever studied journalism?
I took several journalism courses during my college days.
6) Do you find writing or talking an easier way to express yourself, or are both writing and talking similar vehicles of self-expression for you?
Both writing and speaking are similar forms of self-expression for me. With my writing, I can try to paint pictures with my articulation of scenarios I am trying to depict. With verbal communication, the articulation and expressiveness is fairly similar to my writing. I try to include metaphors, symbolism, and structure in my writing, that conforms closely to my verbal expressions.
7) Have you written short stories or poetry (or would you like to do so)?
I have written poems that have been published in small presses and publications, not major pubications. I have written short stories that have also been published in small presses, along with some travel articles. I am in the midst of writing two books, one is fiction and one is non-fiction. The non-fiction work is a family history of sorts, including detailed research other than genealogical research.
I asked Lorri to provide a favorite quote or poem. Here are her selections:
One of my favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt.
“A woman is like a tea bag — you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”
One of my favorite poems, entitled Epitaph, was written by the poet Merritt Malloy. It encompasses my own feelings and thoughts regarding humankind and humanity, and on remembrance and not forgetting those you love/d or those who came into your life and made a difference, no matter long a time or how short a time you might have known them.
Give what’s left of me away
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
And give them
What you need to give to me.
I want to leave you something,
Look for me
In the people I’ve known
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on your eyes
And not on your mind.
You can love me most
Hands touch hands,
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
That need to be free.
Love doesn’t die,
So, when all that’s left of me
Give me away.
Her poetry has been included in many Shabbat services throughout the years and throughout the country, including on Yom Kippur.
• • •
Thank you, Lorri, for sharing with us.
Here are links to interviews by the three bloggers I mentioned at the top of this post: