Category Archives: Jewish life

Marriage, sex and death

Or should it be sex, death, and marriage? Hello from the depth of my creative cave.

I’ve been offline for a long time (sorry) trying to dig my way through this novel about Abigail, her husband, Ben, and his brother, Daniel, all of whom are caught in the love triangle that is a Levirate marriage (or yibbum as it is known in Hebrew).

It’s been slow going – unfortunately, I’ve thrown out somewhere in the region of 50,000 words – but I am now beginning to believe again that this novel will come to an end and will be published sometime this year.

In terms of actual progress, I’ve written around 60,000 keep-able words of the draft; I’ve killed the husband, Ben; and I am creating a tension between Abigail and Daniel that is starting to get momentum.

Image by Christiana Rivers
Image by Christiana Rivers

There is sex, but this is more than a novel about sex – it is about people and their decisions, their lives, their relationship with Judaism and community and family. Who am I kidding? It is also about sex and how it can drive us, blind us and generally muddy the water when it comes to life.

One of other big challenges is working out just how Levirate marriage laws apply in contemporary Orthodox Judaism – and what that means for the plot. It has not been as simple as I had initially imagined it would be and I am going to have to seek halachic guidance from a rabbi. But more on that later…

If you would like to hear about the book’s release (and any associated deals I might run), please join my mailing list. I promise you won’t be spammed, in fact, I am naughty for not having sent out an email in …forever!

Stay well, Shosha xx


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Choosing life over art – for the moment

It’s been a busy time. My family and I have packed up from one city, put all our things in storage and moved to another in search of the foundations of the next chapter of our new life.

movingThe process has taken several months and in between the chaos of moving, I have tried to maintain a creative schedule, with some success and a lot of failure.

The question of whether my writing should be such a burning priority that I maintain a schedule of early morning rises in between the stress of finding a new home, new job and so on, has burdened me. I feel tantalisingly close to completing one, if not two, important projects, but right now, finishing them seems just too hard.

Any writing on writing always contains the advice just to keep at your keyboard, to maintain a schedule. And I agree, but not when the waves of life are just too choppy to let you keep balance.

So, I may be lazy, I may lack boldness, I may be hiding behind excuses, and I may not be disciplined enough, I’ll accept it all, but right now, I have given myself permission to focus on getting my life back on track so that I can go back to my writing with my world a little more in place.

Frankly, I think it is wise. Plus, breaks between work mean that my mind travels and reviews what I have completed to this point (sometimes without my consent) – and distance can be very useful.

And the best part is that although I am feeling a little bogged in the middle of some thick editing mud for my short story collection and I am having some doubts about the form of the first draft of Tamar’s story, I am now, after this enforced break, developing that restless need to get back to it and finish the job.

Baruch Hashem  🙂