Monday, May 20, 2013


I've got this manuscript out in front of me like a desert and I've got to find its oases. That's what revising is. Did I pack water? No, sir. I thought this was going to be a tropical vacation. I brought my two-piece and a big sun hat. I feel my skin at this very moment getting burnt.

Years ago when I left for Israel in September, I thought I'd want my parka because, you know,  Pittsburgh was cooling down at that time and it took up so much space in my suitcase I didn't even bring shorts and I walked through Mahane Yehuda sweating in long pants like a caricature of a German tourist, a falafel in one pasty hand.

The sun felt like a thing. My only Hebrew words at that time were, "Where is the Malali family?" and they weren't even a real family, there were in my Hebrew language workbook. I'm not good at predicting the future.

I learned Hebrew. And that proved, when I came home, to be preparation for forgetting Hebrew. See what I mean? Revising, when it's going badly, is just rearranging a sand dune. When it's going well, over that dune I think I hear the tinkling of camel bells, and water being profligately sloshed.