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Updated: Mar 5, 2023

In 1991 I went to a writing workshop in a castle on the Irish Sea. While the waves

banged and the sheep bleated and baa baa-ed, the participants wrote about loss. I

learned there that writing was a way of “resurrecting” the lost.

My missing person was a twenty-month old baby brother, blind and deaf. I can’t tell

you anymore, because I want you to read the memoir. That’s what the marketing

experts teach newly published writers. I’m listening to these experts, now that my

own memoir is flirting with a feminist publisher.

If it’s a go, I’ll be blogging more regularly and flooding the internet with my name,

Judy Lev, and title, Our Names Do Not Appear.

The publishing experts advise short blog posts from writers who want people to read

their books. I’m ready for a new job. Why not marketing?

If you get tired of my hopefully frequent upcoming blog posts, feel free to

unsubscribe. One click below. It’s easy. If you like the posts, do share them with your

extended family, friends, enemies, whoever reads.

See. I already sound like a marketing writer and I don’t even have a contract.

Overcoming my self-consciousness to market my memoir shouldn’t take me more

than a decade. After all, it has taken me only thirty-four years to complete my

“project.” During this time, the publishing world has changed. My book will not be a

book in the old-fashioned sense of that word. If all goes well, my memoir will first be

an e-book, to be downloaded onto a “device,” and only later, a print-on-demand

book. POD BOOK. It could be that by the time the memoir gets “published,” I will not

have the technological skills to buy my own book. Fortunately, I have a hard copy

and a Disk on Key that I have mastered, though this devilish little DOK device often

disappears in the cracks between the shelf and the wall.

Over the years I have come to recognize that my memoir, as well as being well-

written, may also help people stick to their goal, as in If this Judy in Israel could

spend 34 years writing one amazing book, I can at least (choose one: make dinner,

read Moby Dick, write a new Moby Dick.).

In my future blog posts I promise not to overdo the grief, as many potential readers

do not want to go there. I personally revel in grief. Tisha b’Av is my favorite Jewish

day of the year. Not that I want to “resurrect” the lost Temple, but I do believe in

integrating lost parts of ourselves into our messy identities.

All for now, folks. My first short marketing post. Fingers crossed.

I’ll let you know “how things develop,” as they say in the marketing world.

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Let me tell you about my music theory class and piano lessons. It all started because I

wanted to set an Emily Dickinson poem to music, but when I tried transposing the

melody in my head onto a music staff, I had no idea how to proceed. Determined, I

bought three piano books for beginners, read through them all, played “Mary Had a

Little Lamb” and quickly signed up for a class in music theory.

I love going to classes with twenty-somethings who jam (l’jam-gem, in Hebrew) and

study to become DJs. I fit right in, of course, so when we went around the class on

the first night and everyone said their age, I too said I was twenty-two. Now at

seventy-three I have acquired the self-confidence, motivation, backbone, or whatever

it’s called that prevented me from living fully when young.

By the time the class mastered tetra-chords, I knew I needed to start piano lessons.

After a break of sixty years, I returned to the piano and now practice an hour a day,

because I love it. In a few months I will be able to put Emily’s words to music. Even

without having the music written down, just humming the melody has enabled me to

memorize the poem that begins “I’ll tell you how the sun rose/ a ribbon at a time.”

Any of my readers who recall tenth grade English class with Mr. Burnett at Shaker

Heights High School will remember that poem.

In addition to my current piano lessons being enjoyable, as opposed to anxiety-

producing, as they were in 1957 when I was twelve and took a bus by myself to Cedar

-Lee and the teacher, a man with wire-rimmed glasses from the Cleveland Institute of

Music who never smiled and actually expected me to practice at home, my current

piano teacher lives in FLORENTINE. This is the coolest neighborhood in Tel Aviv. On Vashingtone, one street over from my teacher’s fourth-floor walk-up, I found

COCO, a Vegan Chocolate & Cacao Temple. The owner, who spent time in South

America after his IDF service, sells a ritual cocoa in a small paper Kiddush cup for

NIS 15. The drink is made with pure natural raw organic chocolate beans, organic

coconut milk, mineral water, and organic coconut sugar, spiced with chili and ginger.

This drink is better than coffee and expands the mind immediately. I drink it once a

week before my piano lesson and, being a lover of ritual, say a bracha before doing

so. (Blessed are you, oh Lord, creator of Chocolate.) The drink is based on a Mayan

ritual drink, according to the farbrente owner.

Just writing about this drink has made me lose my train of thought. What did I want

to tell you? Piano lessons and music theory. Yes, I am learning a new language that

does not demand words, preparing myself for the possibility that I will be one of the

unlucky old women to develop Alz. At least I will be able to bang on the keys and sing

“You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog,” structured in the miraculous 12-Bar Blues in C

format. Who knew?? The world of music is endless and fascinating. As a newbie I

enjoy each discovery.

Meanwhile, the world is imploding, but I keep my balance, secure in the knowledge

that all chords on all major scales share the same structure, which is to say that

chords I IV and V will always be the main guys and that that miraculous structure,

that sublime creation, which last week was still hidden from me, gives me hope for

the future of mankind and the natural world.

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