Monday, December 1, 2008

Untold Stories

I am back from a wonderful trip to Vancouver's Jewish Book Festival, having made new ties with West Coast readers and writers. Flying over the Rockies coming and going was a thrill--those crystalline craggy cliffs, sparkling jaggedly in the late afternoon sun--made my heart beat faster. Only equalled perhaps by the Pacific, its fresh briny smell, sightings of shells, ships, and sand, as I walked the perimeter of the seawall in Stanley Park. Weather-wise I lucked out. No need for my trench or umbrella. Most of my days were dry, sunny, and spring-like, so I spent as much time as I could exploring the city and its landscape, knowing that back here on home turf, winter would be drawing in fast and harsh.

Had a fun event with Portland-based author Rob Freedman, who read from "Fancy Pants," a poignant, sad-funny story, centring on his alter-ego Buddy's crazy and fraught bond with his crazy Jewish mother.

Jewish mothers, that was our link. With Chanukah, the festival of light imminent, I read an excerpt from my new novel, The White Space Between, following the provenance of a hand-sculpted menorah, a family treasure of the Ivan's, the clan my story focuses on. Burying and excavating, hiding and emerging, these were some of my themes that I am now, only now, unearthing, now that the writing is done.

Up at dawn on Tuesday, I met with several grades and a half-dozen teachers from King David High School and we all had a lively discussion. The kids wanted to brainstorm about what they could do to actively foster Holocaust Remembrance. They have their own literary magazine and plan to send me copies. I trust we will stay in touch.

My final event was an in-depth panel with Edeet Ravel. Rhea, our moderator, focused on our two novels, choices we made as authors, how our books converged and how they differed. It was great to meet Edeet and we had fun schmoozing and signing our books following our reading and panel.

It was really fulfilling to make a direct connection with my readers and potential new readers. That's what it's all about for back to the writing.

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