May 19, 2014 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
I was tagged by Sara Sheridan to continue this blog chain. (Thanks, Sara!)
1) What am I working on?
At the moment, two main projects – a poetry collection titled Blood Libel, and a novel. I suppose it’s technically two novels but I haven’t decided which one I want to focus on yet, so I’ll just leave it vague for now.
Blood Libel is also somewhat vague, but it’s about Jewish women. Modern, Biblical, historical; monologues, commentaries, prayers; mothers, immigrants, Holocaust victims; heroic, quizzical, annoying. And then some. I’m basically writing many poems and seeing what happens. So far I have enough for a pamphlet, but the goal is a full-length collection.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
One of the aspects I’m exploring is genetic history – there are many diseases that are far more prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish community than in the general population, which obviously have devastating effects. (On the other hand, modern genetic testing means that people intending to have children can check whether they and their potential partners are both carriers; see Dor Yeshorim, for instance.) I haven’t found any poetry collections – or, indeed, many prose works – that address these issues within the context of Jewish culture.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write whatever interests me, is the short answer. My only published novel to date is a historical novel about the daughter of a high-ranking Nazi; the novel making the rounds is about an American graduate student at Oxford, and the one I’ve put in the drawer is about a girl who discovers a lost festival in Edinburgh. My first (unpublished) full-length poetry collection is about cancer, but not entirely. Certain themes keep emerging, of course, but it would probably take someone with more objectivity to discover them.
4) How does my writing process work?
More sporadically than I’d like. Poems tend to be drafted either by hand or on the computer, and then edited around 4-6 times before I get to the point where I really know what they’re about; I then tweak individual words or line breaks, and then it’s done. (Occasionally, I never get to the tweaking part and they go into the ‘deferred’ folder.) Short stories work the same way, come to think of it. Novels are a lot more complex, of course!
I tried to find someone to carry on the chain. Unfortunately, thanks to a combination of unwellness (thankfully the norovirus only lasted about twelve hours, but it wasn’t pleasant!) and computer woes (kernel panics! – kind of like norovirus for computers, because it dumps core all over the screen), I haven’t been able to locate anyone. But! – if you want to answer the questions, post them on your blog or whatever, and then post the link in the comments, you can carry on the chain yourself. And I’ll try to put those links in this entry as well.