It’s starting to feel like a book

Yesterday and the day before, I worked on my book, writing twice as much as I do most weeks.

For the first time since I joined a writing group on LinkedIn, for which I have to post a weekly word count, I felt like I was ahead of the game. So I started to edit, which I haven’t done for a while, and got a look at what I have.

Most of the editing I’m doing consists of fine-tuning – adding, deleting or changing words and phrases. I’ve also had to cut or move some larger chunks. Aside from that, I’m pleased with the way it’s turning out.

But it still feels pretentious to say I’m writing a book, even now that I’ve written a substantial part of it (maybe a third?), and even though I’ve announced it to the world on my blog.

The book started writing itself in my head in 2009. That’s how I’ve thought of it ever since, and it feels like a more accurate description than “I’m writing a book.” Before I was downsized last June, I’d only written the first couple of pages, and it didn’t feel like a book.

Recently, I’ve had encouragement about writing the book from more people who… aren’t my mother! I do think the subject – a memoir about losing my father – will resonate with a lot of people. There’s much that’s universal about mourning a parent, even though there are aspects that are unique to me as an individual, and as a Jewish mourner who said Kaddish for eleven months.

I’ve also given much thought to what makes a synagogue (or any institution) a welcoming or comfortable place, how good things can come out of bad, what I value in people, and the changes in women’s ritual participation at synagogue. I think these themes are implicit in my story. I hope they will prove as compelling in book form as they’ve been in my head.

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