Monday, April 20, 2009

More old, still good

Continuing in last night's vein of posting oldies but goodies that no one ever bothered commenting on... I present to you Fraughts of the evening, originally published on May 9, 2008.

Last night I decided to write The Great American Novel. One of the problems with this plan is that half the book will be explaining Jewish concepts and words. The other problem is that I have a hard time fleshing out ideas. To come up with something brilliant is easy; making it work is the hard part.

Obviously, the book will be half memoir, half novel, and a quarter over-written. The critics will love it, because it'll be ethnic, soul searching, and my first book. The second will of course be widely panned, discovered seven years later, and made into a badly-directed film starring people in the twilight of their immature careers. I'll become a literary critic, living on the fringes of high society, producing books which are decidedly not The Next Great American Novel but are good enough to put bread on my grand-children's table.

Sound like a plan? Anyone know any literary agents who can get me a nice advance? Tremendous.

Moving right along, I learned a Maamar (Emor 1984) this morning that brought back memories of the Rosh's speeches. After Pesach, Shabbbos afternoons are long, and the Rosh gives a Pirkos Shiur diatribe. His favorite topic is Elazar Ben Dodarya, but I won't quite get into that now. The basic point though is Teshuva, that elusive not exactly repentance/kind-of return type thing that Jews like to talk about so much, possibly because we're all so bad at it.
In Pirkei Avos this week we learn that Reb Yehuda Hanassi, compiler (and possibly writer [depending on who you ask]) of the Mishna. He says, "Which is the right path for man to choose? Whichever is for himself and for mankind." This saying seems to imply that while this path is good, there are others which are equally valid. And in fact that's the case. There are two paths for a Jew, that of the Tzaddik and that of the Baal-Teshuva. Hashem wants us all to be Tzaddikim, perfectly righteous people without a sin to blemish the pure white linen that is our souls. Unfortunately, people seem to enjoy spilling all sorts of shtuff on that pure white linen, which makes it very dirty and not so white anymore linen. The answer at that point? Bleach. And because heavenly bleach is of a slightly higher quality than that enjoyed by temporal types, the pure white linen that makes its way out of the laundering process is even whiter and more pure than it originally was. So when a person sins, he is in fact doing a good thing.

At this point I expect that everyone reading this will be doing one of two things. They will either be commenting or sinning furiously. I'd therefore like to add a small caveat to my previous statements. The only people who are entitled to view sinning as a good thing are those who have no connection to it, meaning that the temporal types I earlier referenced are out of the equation. Basically, the only being who's entitled to view your sins as merits is G-d. Sorry.
When a human being sins, he's not doing it to become closer to G-d. He's doing it to satisfy the animal lusts which course through his veins and look suspiciously like cholesterol. So when that heavenly bleach is applied, it's going to hurt. This is not a punishment though, it's a cleansing process. And when the person cries bitter tears for the separation between himself and his G-d, he is also cleansed.

As Reb Yehuda Hanassi says though, there is a much easier path. Just do good, avoid wrong, and everyone will be happy.

50 comments:

sarabonne said...

Well it's been one year, have you written anything?

The Real Shliach said...

Of the book?

e said...

Don't be discouraged. Some of the greatest writers didn't get started until later in life.

The Real Shliach said...

Awe, you're so sweet!

And actually, I wrote about four pages before I gave up.

le7 said...

This is very cute.

C said...

Well, they nap while I supervise (I don't sleep on the job), so I am usually on the computer then. Then, I come home and take a nap for me :).

I haven't commented for a number of reasons: 1)I (usually) comment when I have something related to the post to comment on... 2)I have a slight case of self-diagnosed ADD and I do not read things that are too long. Many times I start reading one of your posts and give up after a few paragraphs due to the scary length. 3)I find that you are usually right, so why comment?

e said...

trs, maybe you'll post the rough draft?

c, nice to see someone else going by an initial.

You don't need to comment only when you have what to say about the post. Comment just to join the conversation.

The Real Shliach said...

le7: glad you like it

C: Re: Naps: Excellent. Keep up the good work.

2: Ahh, a problem with a lot of my readers. But what can I do?

3: :)

The Real Shliach said...

e: unfortunately, it's on paper. Maybe I'll transcribe it when I'm bored.

e said...

scan it!

le7 said...

SCAN IT

The Real Shliach said...

You're assuming I have a scanner.

le7 said...

Take a picture.

e said...

Fax them to the number I'll give you in private and I'll e-mail them back as a pdf. ok?

The Real Shliach said...

le7: You're assuming I have a camera

e: You're assuming I have a fax machine

sarabonne said...

I'm sure your school wouldn't mind you using their fax machine for such a oble cause...

sarabonne said...

*noble

e said...

true, true.

C'mon TRS, don't keep your literary genius to yourself!

The Real Shliach said...

You don't know my school.

But FEAR NOT FRIENDS! I'll write it up myself in the next couple weeks, ok?

e said...

i wait with baited breath.

The Real Shliach said...

Don't suffocate.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I might be working for a publisher this summer. If so I can help. Small indie presses delight in publishing weird stuff with strange affectations.

The Real Shliach said...

Really? Cool.

sarabonne said...

lol, you should publish "The Impersonator," that is, of course, if you finish it.

Hmmm, maybe it could be a graphic novel...

le7 said...

DUDE a graphic novel! Perfect. You could illustrate it!

sarabonne said...

Lets see if he'll finish writing it...

The Real Shliach said...

If I finish writing what, the impersonator?

sarabonne said...

Yup.

The Real Shliach said...

Well, we'll see what happens

Crawling Axe said...

Why does the cleaning process have to hurt?

“And when Hashem davka saw light, He said ‘good’”. — Bosi LeGani.

“To live is good. To live well is better.” — A Russian saying.

therapydoc said...

Bottom line, Jews are full of words. Such a test.

Cheerio said...

the impersonater as a graphic novel written by TRS and illustrated by sarabonne. STUPENDOUSLY BRILLIANT!
but that would require some interaction between motogs. think we can get a heter for this noble cause?

Cheerio said...

also, i remember reading this the first time around.
weird, huh.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: what are you talking about?

Therapydoc: huh?

Cheerio: once the two motogs are married (not to each other, k'muvan v'gam pashut) there wouldn't be any problem.

And why is that weird? If you had only commented then you wouldn't be reading it now.

sarabonne said...

Well time-wise, by the time I'd be done illustrating, my children, B"H, will married. Maybe even grandchildren...

So I'm not too worried.

The Real Shliach said...

Why will it take so long to illustrate?

sarabonne said...

Alright fine, perhaps not that long but with such a magnitude of work plus my procrastination...
you'd be shocked.

The Real Shliach said...

How about if you get paid by the project and not hourly?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

The impersonator would be really cool done up in Sin City style.

Crawling Axe said...

With Impersonator as Marv? I think that would rather exclude the audience TRS would be hoping to reach with his nimshalless moshol.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Not with the characters. Just the drawing style. It would be really good as a movie with that style too.

The Real Shliach said...

Modeh: what is sin city?

CA: who is marv? And why do you think there aren't analogs to the parables? Believe you me, there are.

Crawling Axe said...

Marv is nobody any frum chassidish Jew should know about. (As well as the rest of everything about Sin City.)

You said so yourself.

MBM — Oh, you mean, in the style of Frank Miller drawings. Yes, perhaps.

The Real Shliach said...

I did? Well it's not true. Besides, who am I trying to reach with these stories? People with money, that's who. And whatever it takes to rope 'em in...

e said...

hmmm.... that's a clue as to wtf the impersonator's about.

sarabonne said...

Pay for my school tuition and all draw whichever style you so desire.
By the way, anyone here ever read The Sandman written by Neil Gaiman?

Cheerio said...

i have.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

sarabonne: in order, no and no
TRS: Sin city is about the big three.
CA: Why isn't it? Marv's coat even looks vaguely like a kapote.

Crawling Axe said...

MBM — Because Marv smokes. It’s not chassidish to smoke.

And the whole killing of a priest by squeezing his head with you hands also doesn’t sound very frum.

But otherwise, yeah, I can see it...

The Real Shliach said...

Where the heck has this discussion gone? The only thing I can say is, "money talks". And no, e, the impersonator has nothing to do with money. But if I was trying to sell it...