Friday, January 19, 2007

Writing and Shabbat

I was on a panel of Jewish authors last winter and one question from the audience produced some honest but nervous answers.

"Do you write on Shabbat?"

Some authors said yes, they wrote after shul. It didn't bother them, or they needed the outlet, or it was one of the few times they had when they weren't working other jobs or taking care of family. One went into quite a detailed rationalization about writing on the computer not really being writing (in their opinion), and that as far as creating went, that was going to happen in this author's head anyway, so might as well get it down in pixels.

Then it came my turn to answer.

I couldn't help but laugh. I told them this: It's been tempting, certainly, especially on those long summer evenings when havdalah isn't until near bedtime. But you have to understand that I write Jewish fiction. It's a little different.

My protagonist is a rabbi. He lives in my head. And so I can feel the desire, acknowledge it. But the moment I think about actually doing it, turning on the computer or picking up a pen, he's right there looking over my shoulder, eyebrows raised, with the single question,

"You're going to do what?"
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