Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A chance is not something that is given. It is something you take.

My very first 'real' job was at T.O.A.M., a small architectural firm in Haifa, Israel. The work done in this firm was not part of the architectural mainstream. On the drawing board were the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, which "dabbles it feet in the water" (as architect Ram Karmi described it.)  Also, Beit Halohem (The Fighter's Home) which  exhibits "impressive virtuosity in geometric combinations" (as architect Abba Elhanani wrote of it.)

At the beginning of my four years at the firma period which coincided with my studies at the TechnionI was thrilled at the opportunity to learn. But after a while I started to feel uneasy with the limited responsibility I was given, designing various details, such as staircases, railings, and small spaces in Beit HaLochem. 

I went to my boss, the notoriously famous architect David Yanai, who at the time had exposed a corruption scandal in the construction of the project. The public fight which ensued meant that Beit Halochem was already doomed to remain on paper. I was young, and oblivious to this. All I wanted was to take a greater role in the design. I told him, "I want to be given a chance."

He repliedI will never forget it"A chance is not something that is given. It is something you take."

Either way, I came out of that meeting with the chance I wanted: My new responsibility was to design the entire landscape around Beit Halochem, which was to be built on the side of the Carmel mountain, overlooking a breathtaking view of Haifa Bay.

In later years, when I came to visit the site, I saw the skeletal remains of the building, rusting there among the rocks on the steep slope, which is overgrown with thorny, wild weeds. Still, I see in my minds eye is papers upon papers of my landscape design, still rustling there, waiting. And all I can hear are those words, "A chance is not something that is given. It is something you take."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ropes, Separation, Tear (Hebrew Edition) Now Available on Amazon

This is a must have book for readers of Hebrew Poetry. I am intimately familiar with the work the poet created in the prime of his life. I can recite some of his poems from memory. They were beautiful, deeply felt, but flowery. The poems in this last collection are vastly different.

Click to look inside:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Seed of the Story

Over a year ago I wrote a short story about a twelve years old boy coming face to face, for the first time in his life, with the sad spectacle of death in the family. The title of the story is Only An Empty Dress. In it, Ben watches his father  trying to revive his frail grandma, and later he attempts the same technique on the fish tilting upside down in his new aquarium.
 “I cannot allow myself to weep. No, not now. So I wipe the corner of my eye. Now if you watch closely, right here, you can see that the tail is still crinkling. I gasp, and blow again. I blow and blow, and with a last-gasp effort I go on blowing until all is lost, until I don’t care anymore, I mean it, I don’t care but the tears, the tears come, they are starting to flow, and there is nothing, nothing more I can do—”

I set the story aside, thinking I was done with it. But the character of the boy, Ben, came back to me and started chatting, chatting, chatting in my head. It became the seed of my just-published novel Apart from Love

In writing it I asked myself, what if I ‘aged’ him by fifteen years? Where would he be then? Would he still admire his father as a hero, or will he be disillusioned at that point? What secrets would come to light in the life of this family? How would it feel for Ben to come back to his childhood home, and have his memories play tricks on him? What if I introduce a girl, Anita, a redhead who looks as beautiful as his mother used to be, but is extremely different from her in all other respects? And what if this girl were married to his father? What if the father were an author, attempting to capture the thoughts, the voices of Ben and Anita, in order to write his book? 

So the process of writing became, for me, simply listening to the characters and trying, as fast as I could, to capture their thoughts. My role as an author was merely suggesting a place, coming up with the stage set and illuminating it as appropriate for the time of day, and allowing the characters to describe what they see and to act out their passions and fears. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For Authors and Readers

Here is an excellent article, especially if you are a would be best-seller author in your heart of hearts.. Tells you about Amazon’s Top Reviewers, how crucial it is to find the ones who are passionate about your genre of writing. 
It is called Get your book reviewed on Amazon and boost your sales


To hear the radio interview about my published work click here.