Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Joy's Got Her Groove Back

I'm calling the last twelve months my "lost" year. Not only did I loose all my time and energy in dealing with one health crisis after another, but I lost myself as well. I've been working diligently to reconnect with my personal power, to revive my creative drive and to remember who I really am - a Powerful Creative Being! I've gone on shamanic journeys to retrieve my soul. I've traveled to fun and exotic places to rejuvenate myself. I've worked with my therapist to face my fears and heal my emotional being. And I'm happy to report that it's paying off. I finally feel the call to create; I'm energized by my creative projects and I'm excited about what I'm working on. Let me give you two examples.

My illustration for "Rivkah and the Mice"
Last winter, my rabbi asked me to be on the editorial board to revive our synagogue's literary magazine, Lichora, which has been on hiatus for quite awhile. The board decided to get our first issue out in time for the High Holidays (which are quickly approaching). I wanted to write about the spiritual journey I've taken through my "lost" year, and I told the editor that I would submit an article. But I just didn't have it in me to write the damn thing. Then one morning I woke up and the whole thing came pouring out of me. Still, the rough draft sat on my desk for months. With the deadline looming, I decided it was time to face the empty page and write my article, which has been very cathartic. I could feel my excitement and energy returning as I worked on draft after draft. I also had fun collaborating with my son on a photographic illustration. I had the image in my mind, but not the computer skills to create it. Since my son is studying digital imaging at the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, he is a wiz with manipulating images on the computer. He was able to take my vision and make it a reality. As soon as he finishes refining the image, I'll be ready to submit my article and photo illustration to the board.

A few months ago, the leader of my writing critique group brought in an article from the Children's Writer newsletter called "Celebrating Jewish Identity in Books." The article listed the needs of several Jewish publishers and agents, which inspired me to resuscitate a story I had written years ago called "Rivkah and the Mice." Back in 2004, Rivkah won a writing contest for Best Picture Book. Part of the award was the chance for four editors, two from Jewish publishers and two from mainstream publishers, to review my manuscript and dummy for publication. I had such high hopes! But Rivkah received only rejections and she was relegated to the back of my basement. I was so disappointed that Rivkah may never become a full-color picture book for children. But now I'm hopeful again and I've had fun revisiting Rivkah and all the colorful characters in her village. Even if Rivkah receives rejections again, revisiting her has revived my hopeful, creative nature.

So, to recap: reviving Lichora and revisiting Rivkah has resuscitated my drive and reminded me of who I really am. How's that for alliteration?
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