Writing is hard--yeah, everyone knows that. I've been reading a bunch of literature for the writing and what strikes me is how much better--clearer, smoother, broader understanding of the topics--everyone else has. So not feeling like I have much to contribute and what little I have isn't going to be done particularly well. And yeah, I know it's part of the process, but still...
And then there was the moment when I found a paper that restates part of what I've done. Turns out not to be a critical thing, but it threw me. So I'm not really in a happy place with the writing. More like a slogging place.
Which brings me to "what I'd rather be doing." Here's where I question all that time spent in school. Why did I bother? What good did it do? And really, I'd rather be working with kids (there is some real truth here--I really liked tutoring and working with kids. It's one of the things I miss most about what I'm doing now). Hmm, why didn't I just pursue the Jewish educator route I started on? It would have been so much better than sitting here writing...etc., etc.
Which brings me to the other books I've been reading. I downloaded a couple of books written for Bar/Bat Mitzvah age kids and read through them quickly--partly to be able to refer to them and partly because I'm so damn tired of reading the academic stuff. It's completely depressing. One book, written at about a fourth grade level, told the story of a child of intermarriage raised in no religion, who chooses to be Jewish. Her mother is the Jewish one, so she is Jewish without getting into the whole patrilineal thing. All the issues are dealt with so superficially it's depressing--and then a nice pat ending.
The second one was better written (turns out that it was written by someone who had been a writer for Jon Stewart) and used Bar Mitzvah as a backdrop to explore sibling relationships. Had it stayed there, it would have been fine--the characters were actually pretty interesting, the plot pretty compelling. But NOTHING about the Bar Mitzvah (or seventh grade) rang true. Seemed like the author pulled old memories of his Bar Mitzvah training out of his ass and recycled them. So there was no connection to synagogue, no meeting with anyone. The kid was just to read Haftarah and give a speech (not even mentioned until the last chapter). No Torah (and reading three verses has been standard for a long time, so memory apparently failed the author) and no prayers.
The kid is also supposedly taking several AP classes (including calculus) in seventh grade. Umm, really? Would it have killed you, oh author, to have checked a curriculum or two?
And then there are the parents--loving, caring parents on the one hand--who leave on a two week trip to Italy three weeks before the Bar Mitzvah. No. Just no. Again, oh author, did you do ANY research into what happens the weeks before Bar Mitzvah?
All of which makes me want to do it right. At least I have the knowledge not to screw up the setting and context. Although I'm fairly sure my writing wouldn't be anywhere near as compelling.
Okay, end rant. I suppose I should get to work on what I'm actually supposed to be writing...