Yesterday was my first class of the first seminar for the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar Ilan University.
I’ve been meaning to make it “public” that I was accepted into the program a while ago, I just somehow never got around to it. So I guess that’s done now.
As it was the first day of the program, there were some basic introductory exercises, the main focus of the first half of the session being “why do you write?” When asked orally, I answered something along the lines of “because I have weird ideas that I don’t think anyone else has, and I want to get those out.” When we were told to write an answer to that question continuously without stopping to think or plan, I said, more or less, that I write for selfish reasons.
Everyone who volunteered their answers gave interesting ones, but they were fairly on the spot. I don’t think any of us really delved too deeply into our prime motivators. Or maybe other people did, and I’m just projecting my own feeling of having given a shallow answer on to my classmates.
But after that class, I saw the tail end of a news report about the recent escalation in talk about an Israeli strike on Iran that left me with the feeling of “what if there really was a war between Israel and Iran? What would I do?”
The immediate answer, clearly, is that I’d stay in the country. I wouldn’t try to leave or evacuate. I don’t know what help I would be in such a theoretical confrontation, but whatever my role is I’m determined to fill it.
But, with the knowledge that I would stay in a situation that may lead to my death, what would I then do? Once I figured out what my contribution would be, I would find time to go through my whole hard drive, and any memory device I think may contain something I’ve written, and upload them as attachments to emails I send myself, and organize those emails into a specific folder. Then I’d prepare an email draft with my gmail and wordpress passwords and instructions to post everything from that specific folder, absolutely everything, to this blog. Things I finished, things I didn’t. Things that may already be up here in some form, things I don’t ever intend to actually show anybody. Things I’m proud of, things I’m embarrassed about. Everything I’ve written that I still have, from poems to academic papers, would be public and out there where bombs can’t reach them. And if the time came where my death seemed imminent, I would send that email to someone I trust overseas.
And, more than anything else I said or wrote yesterday, that is really why I write. Because I want people to know who I am, know that I was here, have some idea of what I’ve done even after I’m gone. I think that someone in the future will ask themselves “what was it like to live in Israel around the turn of the millennium,” and I hope that my words can provide some insight into that question, whether that insight be from my opinions, my general musings, or my dumb little stories.
And on the off-chance there isn’t a war and I don’t die, that someone from the future will most certainly be me.