#1. I Don’t Write About Politics
Because I write about general life topics for three different websites (two of which are Jewish sites such as this one), I’ve received questions about why I’m not writing about Gaza. Here’s why: I could do little more than summarize events or regurgitate others’ better-articulated opinions. Therefore, I’m staying away from this particular conflict in my work (just as I’ve stayed away from all politics in the past) all the while hoping I can avoid coming off absurdly vacuous for publishing a light article about the joys of walking instead of the casualties in Israel and in Gaza, or the deep-seated anti-Semitism in Paris, Berlin, and even in a few American cities.
So, while I may not be writing about the protests against Israel where groups across Europe shout “Death to Jews” in defense of Palestinians in harm’s way, rest assured that I am most certainly wondering privately why these same protestors do not scream for the world to liberate innocent Palestinians (and there are countless innocent Palestinians) from the Hamas leaders who use civilians as human shields while those same leaders stay protected in the tunnels they built to infiltrate Israel instead of constructing bomb shelters and infrastructure to help their own people.
Likewise, despite my lack of desire to address politics in my work, I am still nodding vigorously when I read something that resonates such as a recent Atlantic piece, “Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria (and Most Everything Else)” in which Jeffrey Goldberg attempts to explain the dearth of media outlets covering the thousands of Muslims murdered in Syria or elsewhere at the hands of other Muslims.
But now it seems as if I’m writing about politics. And I don’t do that.
Since my column at TC Jewfolk is still new, I should tell you about the subjects I do cover. They include: parenting; marriage; friendship; many aspects of Judaism from the secular to the religious; food, cooking, exercise, and improving habits; and the world of books and reading in general such as books clubs, meeting certain authors, and whatnot.
However, even within those parameters, I censor myself sometimes.
#2. I Don’t Share as Much About My Kids as I Once Did
Now that my older kids are ten and seven, I’m less comfortable sharing concerns as it pertains to them specifically. I can always rely on my two-year-old and my five-year-old who are conveniently illiterate and unaware of Google. Unfortunately, the fresh issues I’ve never analyzed are the ones that concern the older kids, which I can still cover in a broader sense without pillaging their privacy. The parenting topics I intend to write about here will likely connect to the Jewish sphere of my life such as not knowing where we will have my son’s bar mitzvah in three years since we technically belong to three synagogues in the Twin Cities, or teaching my kids not to hold a grudge, which I’ll discuss more thoroughly before the High Holidays.
#3. I Don’t Discuss the Financial Lectures I Get From My Husband
I write about Bryan often because he’s my partner in life and legitimately a character, but I’ve never shared the lectures he gives me about our credit card bills. The “Nina, we have to talk,” moments happen about three times a year, usually when I’ve purchased something obscenely expensive like a laser treatment that promises to remove the sun damage from my face at the same time as the final camp payments are due. It all feels very 1950. Let’s never mention it here again.
#4. I Don’t Discuss People Who are Mad at Me
I write about relationships often, but I censor the rare rough patches that occur when people are mad at me for reasons I find unfounded or unfair. Although it’s tempting to state my case indirectly through my work, what could I possibly say, in writing, that would not create a deeper wedge? On one hand, this censorship is a shame as it’s the best material I have. On the other hand, it might just make its way into the novel I hope to pen when the kids move out. (Look for that in the year 2030.)
#5. I Don’t Discuss Books I Hated
The only exception to this rule was a rant I wrote against 50 Shades of Grey. (Yes, I still plan on seeing the movie.) 50 Shades aside, when I have a chance to review a book I will only do so if it’s one I would recommend. There are plenty of readers on Amazon and Goodreads who will trash a book and its author if that’s what people want to see.
I’m thrilled to be writing for TC Jewfolk again. Even if I’m avoiding the five taboo topics above (at least for now, because never say never), I still have plenty to say here. I look forward to the conversation.
I want to thank my friend Alison Lee for writing “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.” That structure inspired this one.