In Israel, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was acquitted of corruption charges this past Tuesday, creating a media storm there, thereby overshadowing a disturbing government commission report which stipulates that the West Bank—or Judea and Samaria, is not occupied territory, and therefore Jewish settlements there do not violate international law. In Egypt the struggle of power between the Military and the Muslim Brotherhood continues with Parliament being a tossing ball, while in Libya early election results indicate that the Islamists lost. In Jordan, a member of parliament threw a shoe and pointed a weapon at a political rival in a live talk show dispute over Syria, drawing millions around the world to watch the brawl on YouTube. In Syria top military and diplomatic officials are still defecting as the killing there continues, and Iran is as defiant as it has been regarding its nuclear ambitions. In Spain, the government is raising taxes and cutting the national budget as part of a deal with Euro zone leaders to help rescue the country’s banks. And it goes on and on.
Yes, I am passionate about news from Israel, the Middle East and the rest of the world. But my new passion these days is the main character of the women’s fiction I have just begun to write. She is a woman in her late sixties who refuses to age gracefully.
The news of my new project has been received with mixed reactions: My grown daughter, who felt abandoned when I wrote my memoir, looked at me approvingly and even supportive, while my husband wondered how much time I am going to spend writing my new book. My seven year old granddaughter, who loves writing her own stories, and who believes that she is “just like” me, was clearly impressed. She wondered if I could come to her new school to talk about writing a book, as I did in her kindergarten, when I had been invited by her teachers to do so, and she was the star of her class.
Some friends were enthusiastic, others were surprised. One of my best friends strongly disapproved, protecting me from what she thought was unnecessary torture I am putting myself through, after spending a considerable time interviewing Israeli and Palestinian women affected by war, writing their stories, then postponing the completion of that book perhaps indefinitely, but speaking about that important issue publically, and then writing my own story; not to mention my book on the Israeli Palestinian peace process, which was published sixteen years ago. Some friends wonder for how long I’d “disappear” this time.
Only a few months ago I pledged to never ever write another book, not wanting to go once more through the grueling process of trying to publish one, as I have been doing with my memoir, and the disappointment that comes with each rejection letter. But writing is too strong a passion. As I explain to my friends, “my fingers truly itch.” It is especially exciting for me to experiment with a new genre, and to get into my new character, whose identity I assume as I imagine her.
I was going to return to painting this summer, but that will have to wait, unless my new protagonist will want to do just that.