Have a piece up today at a magazine called the Bitchin’ Kitsch! The piece is called Mother Tongue, and I’m really proud of it! Check it out!
Well, my first short story went live today. Check it out
An #introduction is called for. I publish under the name of Mordecai Martin but you can call me Mo. I've been on Mastodon a while now, on other instances. Not always sure I like what I see, but I would dearly miss some of you who have become daily presences in my life. I write about #Judaism #Cities #Miracles and #Writing itself. I #wifepost about my wonderful wife, Atenea, I #catpost about my strange cat, Pharaoh-Let-My-People-Go the cat. I want you to feel cared for and listened to, but I will not tolerate #racism, #ableism, #homophobia, #transphobia, or for that matter, any bigotry or hatred and sometimes not even ignorance. I know I come off as a little hostile here, and I'm sorry about that. If you'd seen what I'd seen, you'd be wary too. Let's try this and see how we do.
There was a very clear dynamic between American and E. European Jewry for years. You can see it in Yiddish plays, movies, poems, letters home. It takes on psychosocial dimensions because of Parent-Children relationships. You are my blessed Tateh in your peyos, and you do no wrong.
And then came the Fire. There was no Tateh back home anymore. No one to feel guilty about not being, no one who needed the money we could now send back. . . . And then came Zionism.
The truth is, I too have gone my whole life thinking I'm a bad Jew. Allowing Jewish institutions and "leaders" to question my choices, my values, my politics. I don't really know what happens when I think of myself as a Good Jew, someone who's doing it right, making important contributions to my culture, to the Jewish people, to Hashem.
But I'd like to find out.
A new Pew poll is coming out. It will be used to berate and badger Jews about not being enough. Not married enough. Not having children enough. Not observant enough. The Pew poll has long been essentially a game of putting numbers on an even longer held American Jewish belief: that we're bad at this.
The belief stretches back to European Jews imbibing racist and exotifying ideas of the Americas. America? They're barely human over there! How could you be a Jew there? No rabbis, no kosher food, no nothing. How?!
As various waves of immigrant-settler Jews worked out their anxieties, resistance and compromises to American culture, the belief only grew. Back home, in the old country, we were real Jews. Over there, they have real rabbis, Gedolim. Here we have . . . money. A lot of money.
That guilt (that gelt!) should be familiar to anyone who's read diaspora literatures, the sensation that your culture has slipped away from you, that you are no longer inside it, that because you can eat, you've forgotten what it means to starve.
@ljwrites That's what I'm thinking! You can't go wrong :D
Thaaaanks. It'll be in August, so until then it'll be a lot of 🤩 🤩 😍
Like my hero Walter Benjamin, a significantly better scholar of Marxism, I labor under the distinct impression that Karl Marx (and Marxists) would not have particularly liked me or agreed with me. My intellectual passions run in the direction of topics often dismissed by Marx and his devotees as "ideology" or "false consciousness" or worst of all, "mystification" Still, Marx's tools of analysis, and his brutal, unforgiving insistence on the triumph of a politics of compassion and community, are important to me. Happy birthday to the old man, I say. He is dead, and wouldn't have particularly liked us venerating and revering him. But what can it hurt? 203 is a good age for a revolution.
I write what a friend has described as "unapologetically Jewish" pieces. I don't know if that's why I've been getting so many rejections. I'd hate to think so, that these publications are attempting to tell me to tone it down, to apologize for my Jewish content. I instead prefer to think that the work itself has imperfections, needs refining, a good editor, needs more, needs less, needs this, needs that. But it's hard.
Frankly, it's more motivating to think that I'm up against antisemitism. That editors don't want Jewish stories or don't understand how Jewish storytelling works. It's gratifying to be a little bit of a martyr instead of just a bad writer.