Sunday, February 8, 2009
The Jewish Writer
So, anyway, how in the world did I become a Jewish writer? If anyone would have told me five years ago that the first big story I would sell would be about my conversion to Judaism, I would have laughed it off. And yet, five years later, my bread and butter comes from Jewish stories more than anything else. I certainly didn't laugh off the first story that earned me one lump sum of $1500.
As a reader noted, I write many of my Jewish stories through the lens of my conversion even when I don't mention it, which I often do. To these Jewish stories, I bring the perspective of a person who has come to Judaism "late in life" and is piecing it together into her life along a decidedly rocky past. I think that this vantage point speaks to many readers, those who are looking for a fresh perspective on rote behavior and those are struggling to incorporate new observances into their life.
Another reader accused me of being an expert. For a lot of Hispanics and prospective converts out there who are discovering Judaism, I have become a kind of "Dear Abby." This strikes me as a little insane. Who am I to give anyone advice? But the emails just keep on coming. I've found that the more of them I uncover in my mailbox, the better I feel. Once a teacher, always a teacher I guess so it's easy for me to fall into the role of helping someone learn new things and guiding people towards their next destination in life.
So I'm a Jewish writer. It still sounds funny but I'm working it. Right now, I'm bombarding editors at different websites and publications with my ideas hoping that I'll be able to tell my stories in new places to new readers. In the meantime, I'll always be telling them here first. Thanks for listening.