Tag Archives: Arts

The First Poets of Babel Meeting! (…was 3 months ago!)

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Four months and 16 days later, the first meeting of Poets of Babel has finally taken place and it was amazing. We were only 7, but then again 7 is the number of perfection.

Ira, a Russian Israeli and Hebrew teacher arrived first. I met Ira at Hillel House in 2008 when I made my documentary film “Stranger” on stereotypes in Israel; it was love at first sight. I found her, in her flowing burgundy skirt at the table with the Mr. as I rushed in the door at 9:00. We were supposed to start at 9:30. Not long after, a girl with a sweet demeanor and a soft voice knocked on my door. She introduced herself as Isabella, a friend of Nadine’s. Isabella is a German student of philosophy and Middle Eastern studies (who hopes to switch the latter to musicology) learning in Jerusalem. I asked her “Where’s Nadine?” She didn’t know so I told her to make herself at home and the four of us chatted for well over an hour before Nadine arrived. Nadine, is the one who magically said “We should start a poetry club” on that fateful day in January.

There were only two left who we were waiting for. Both Michal, a law student and English lit, and Adi a graduate of linguistics and translation working on her masters in translation, were friends from work where we used to teach English together at Wall Street Institute in Jerusalem. Michal has a business card that reads “Muse” and she fulfilled her role when she discovered that I write poetry and started sharing her poetry magazines, such as Rattle and Poetry which fueled my inspiration for quite a few months (especially since it took me quite a few months to return them). Adi used to make me drool over linguistics during our breaks together when she discussed her studies and made me crave a return to the university. When she introduced herself to the group she said of her studies, because writing poetry is just something she occasionally does but not what she is, “I guess that’s what earns me a place in Poets of Babel.”

We drew numbers from my Broadway hat from last year’s performance. I was 3. Three is the number of truth and connection. It also represents permanence like holy utterances that must be spoken three times.

I started off by telling them that even though this was my idea, in my house, with my friends I was terrified.  It’s never easy to share but as Adi said later about her volunteer work, it’s a shlichut, a calling. Then I read Merħba, a poem of hospitality , the perfect beginning. “God sent you my friend, you brought the sun with you” is how I greeted them and the end which is really the doorway to embark on a new journey together assured that ” you will always find the door open.”

Adi started off- after trading  numbers with Isabella- with a spontaneous selection from a new poetry book I had , Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith. The poem, “It’s Not,” pleasantly surprised us all by actually being good despite being impromptu.

….

This is the post that I started in May and now next Wednesday we will be having our 3rd Poets of Babel meeting. Third time’s the charm! I couldn’t seem to get this post out so now I’m just going to do it! Check out our Facebook Page!

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A Year of Transformation

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I was there!

I Touched the Sky!

{Written December 29, 2011 & January 1, 2011}

“This is my inception, I’m writing my dreams” ~Common, “Blue Sky” The Dreamer, The Believer

2011 has been a great year of positive transformation. I got published (“Bread, Water and Gas” in the Ilanot Review http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/en/cw/ilanot/ & “No Name” in Yes, Poetry http://yespoetry.com/post/13311920484/vol-2-issue-11-november-2011), lost weight, and got promoted at work (yes, in that order, actually).

I read poetry and danced in front of an audience for the first time in 12 years! I got 99% of my poetry copy-writ, started a blog, and started family therapy (the past 5 years hadn’t been easy on the children since my divorce and up until I got remarried last year). I’ve even (re-)started therapy for myself (I see it as a preemptive measure) and I’ve been dancing regularly at Studio 6 (http://www.studio6.co.il/) for a full year now; it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

I was literally in the clouds and touched the sky for my 30th birthday (http://www.hotairballoon.co.il/english/hot-air-balloon-over-israel-with-touch-the-sky/) and had the best birthday party ever with the people I love the most, in a park with wine & cheese. Earlier, in the same summer, my family took a trip up north, stayed on a Moshav in Amnon off the Sea of Galilee, and traveled to Rosh haNikra and Tel Dan. It was the first nuclear family only trip…and the best. This November, the Mr. and I flew to Malta and feel in love with the “Little Things.” I ate culture for breakfast and it tasted like ambrosia.

Even in the most latter days of the year 2011, I’ve learned new lessons in motherhood. I began listening to the teleseminar event “The Great Parenting Show” (http://greatparentingshow.com/), each episode, a gem. Since I began listening and applying what I’d heard, I’ve learned to let go and be present with my children, consistently, in a way that allows me to enjoy parenting which I hadn’t truly been able to do before. The past few weeks, the “Shoshana Girls” and I’ve been having a blast!

Finally, as a result of my new managerial position and being exposed to the yearly budget of centers in my company, I initiated, for the first time, a yearly budget for my household (shocking, I know). I also learned that being able to create an excel sheet for the household budget is sexy. 😉 (The Mr. made it.)

Now, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions as a rule. I have a problem with the timing. I think I should be making “resolutions” all year long. That said, there’s no reason why now, 3 days before, January 1, 2012, I can’t come up with some points for improvement:

1. I started a blog this year but, until now, I hadn’t updated it since August. I want to start blogging regularly again. (Already, moving towards this one this very moment! ;-))

2. I got published twice this year but I want to get published more! There is a book goal somewhere in the horizon which requires that I send off more submissions.

3. This year I lost 5 kilos (11 lbs) within a couple of months. I want to loose 5 more within a few months or less!

4. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve taken the first step but I’ve got a lot more steps towards this goal. I want to live completely financially responsible.

Another element of these goals is that they are more focused than my usually scattered aims. I’ve decided to focus on my writing at the moment (notice 50% of the above goals are writing related). So, *sniff, sniff* ~sigh~ establishing the NGO, directing the films, the t-shirts, the voice lessons so that I can sing Billie Holiday, the language courses (Arabic again & intermediate Russian), the phd in Communications, re-taking the Foreign Service Officer’s Test, and joining the circus will all have to wait because I’ve realized that I can only do one thing at a time…if I want to do anything right. Writing is at the heart of any vision I have of myself; it is the common thread between my two categories of passions, Arts and Communications. Writing is the one thing that I love and never consciously chose to take up…now I choose it in a BIG way.

Like, I said folks, these aren’t resolutions, they are a conscious way of life.

I write visions, goals, and plans throughout the year, constantly (let my journal be my witness). This time, I decided to share because when I reflected on the transformations I went through in 2011- I realized something unsettling, shocking even: I do believe it has been the best year of my life so far. I expect 2012 to be off the hook…as long as I’m writing my dreams. 😀

Tower of Babel

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Tower of Babel by Shoshana Sarah

My Tower of Babel

So…I am obsessed with the Tower of Babel. I’m not 100% sure why although it’s clear to me that this obsession relates to my love of languages. But it’s not just the love of speaking languages or even hearing them, but just seeing the text of another language sends me into an irrationally ecstatic frenzy. I get giddy. Seriously, I do.

I bought a poster of the Tower of Babel. Once, I took my daughters to the museum for kids day, the day the subject was the Tower of Babel, of course, and then took over one of their projects (hey, she let me!). Then I decided that I wanted to imitate that project in a collage. The product is what you see here.

I started off with two A4 papers that I taped together. I drew out the framework of where I wanted things to be. Then I started cutting…it started out normal enough, pictures of skies for the sky (the cool clouds near the top are pics from Hubble)…but this was my first *pre-meditated* collage. Hence, the obsession reached a new level.

I would laugh like a mad scientist when I’d found a new scrap of language to add like finding an marvelous, not so decomposed ear for my Frankenstein. I would snatch papers from the street (one man’s trash became my treasure), take flyers that were clearly not meant for me from the post office, and hunted down as many languages as I could ‘naturally’ get my hands on like a cold-blooded killer.

Ok, maybe I’m taking this a bit too far.

I started with the old yellowed paper at the bottom which I knew- the moment I saw it discarded on the street- would be the ‘sand’ and the first part of the collage. The sky was the easy part (the moon took a while to find). I wanted the languages I found to really be ‘found’- I knew I could Google whatever I wanted to but I refrained as much as possible (couldn’t resist the Sanskrit, Hindi, Celtic and Georgian though).

The collage includes: English, Russian, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Persian (thanks, Yuliya), Arabic, Sanskrit, Hindi, Celtic, Amharic, Ancient Hebrew, Hieroglyphics (my pride & joy), Greek, Georgian, what I am 95% sure is Thai (the post office flyer that clearly wasn’t for me) and Ancient Cuneiform(some of which I sketched on top of the collage).

There are also a variety of flags, symbols- such as the Olympics symbol and the Mayan sun and moon gods, the Hebrew name of god at the top of the tower, as well as strategically placed purposeful English phrases such as: “pillars of creation,” “mysteries of the universe,” and “he loved the people.”

I cut the palm trees outs of images of plants and wood, respectively. The camels on both sides are actually one picture. The right side is the water reflection of the left, which I thought was cool and reminiscent of a mirage. The silver windows are from cigarette packaging and the gold windows are from confiscated gold paper from a certain educational facility (*ahem*).

The icing on the cake is the sun I painted myself- I cut it out of another painting (I am forever indebted to Racheli for teaching me how to mix colors) and the REAL sand, which I shamelessly had my oldest daughter ‘misappropriate’ from the school grounds (she was quite impatient for me to use it which took me the better part of a month).

~*~*~*~

After all that, I started thinking, maybe I should have been patient. I should have researched all of the languages that have ever existed (to man’s knowledge of course) and then arranged them etymologically and chronologically from the bottom up with English at the top as the new lingua franca in one enormous, meticulously planned, ridiculously awesome Magnum Opus!!!

*sigh*

So…I am obsessed with the Tower of Babel…

…I’m also obsessed with words, clocks, maps and compasses (by the way, I’m almost finished with the words collage and I’m collecting maps as we speak).

Know

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I want to write

the books call me from the womb of my mind

I want to establish

the plans ache & beg to be born

I want to paint

the colors, never seen cry out in oblivion

My stories, my places, my scenes & images

My kaleidoscope collages

are there, their non-existent

existence so strong they pain me

to come into being into creation

into acknowledgement

I fight because it’s not time

I fight because I’m busy

I fight because I fear

The art is a foreign body inside of

& part of me waiting to burst forth

to destroy me & reinvent me because

I have not yet become who I am

it is so strong my chest hurts at the

thought of it

it is so strong I feel butterflies

in my stomach

it is so strong my heart pounds in

anxiety

I say “I will, I will, I will” to calm

my beautiful mess, the artistic beast inside of me

She says “sing!” & I say “but I need training”

She says “dance!” but I say “I need classes”

She says “draw!” but I say “I need lessons”

She says “build it & they will come!” but

I say “not yet”

She says “write!” but I say “what if no one

reads it”

She says “YOU ARE THE ONE YOU ARE WAITING FOR”

and I say “I know but…”

And then there is silence.

LOUD, Ridiculously EAR DEAFENING SILENCE

Because I KNOW.