Saturday, February 26, 2011

Somewhere In Time

Garisson Keilor said once, during his review of his week in Lake Wobegone, that every story happens at all times. It's true. I'd add that some people are more sensitive to the fact that the past is the present. What will happen has happened. To put it bluntly - somewhere in time ex-lovers are courting, old men are being born, and the dead are doing their old dance (the one that you loved and hated at the same time). Barry Lichtenberg wrote a piece about this that ripped my heart out. I'm honored today to say that Barry is a fan of me and my poetry, and is a true friend. His wife Sandy is a sweetheart, someone I connect with, and if she can she might review my book.

My book was written over a lifetime. I remember about 8 years ago talking to friend in the publishing industry about making a haiku book of my work. She agreed that one on a page was the way to go. Then the blog started. And the haiku kept appearing like scattered bricks. Then a dear friends surprised me with a labor of love, a laboriously, hand made beautiful book of hundreds of my poems - each one in a cloud floating atop another, on another on a long - graphically designed in an original and tasteful manner - perfect page. Seeing that made me cry like a baby; the bricks were made into a castle. I kept going back to my longer poems though, when I thought of a book, often. I loved my haiku, but I didn't love them enough. I treated them like second class poems. I took a course, did well, almost paid the teacher to help me write a book of long poems. Instead, I came around and I wrote my haiku book - without him. Now that the haiku book is out, I'm thinking of committing to the longer book.

The book was delivered to me on Tuesday. It feels like a long time. It feels like a short time. It's time to give up on deciphering the mystery of time. Since it came out there have been gifts and sales and purchases. There have been effusive reactions and silent one. One experienced and brilliant maven of poetry gave me a hug and kiss and said, "Malechet machshevet." He explained what a teacher of his told him, that machshevet - thoughtfulness is compromised of two words - moach - brain, and shevet - the act of sitting. He said my work indicated that I had put in that combination of needed factors. His words were up there with what a dear colleague said to me - that what he liked best about the book was that I make it look easy. He knows it's not.

It's approaching 12:30 AM, time to go to sleep - though that doesn't always stop me from staying up. I need to/want to close up this post - though it could easily be the post that never ends. And really, waht does end? I am writing this in the basement of the house that I grew up in. It's a nice/cozy house, across the street from a gorgeous park.

Today would have been mom's 75th birthday. Somewhere in time my mother is frying breaded veal cutlets while the soundtrack of The King and I plays on the stereo. Somewhere in time I am in this basement, stealing some privacy for a phone talk with a high school crush. Somewhere in time we are all living The Life we're meant to, and somewhere in time we are living the life which is so real and imperfect that it becomes the perfect life that could only come from G-d.

Somewhere in time it is now. Now I have to go upstairs to the room I grew up in. It's time to go to sleep in the bed where as I child I spent hours putting on my own variety show in the spot light sponsored by The Rosenbergs of Next Door.

Somewhere in time
I have the right words and place
for you


Blogger torontopearl said...

A warm, cozy post, Neil.
May your mom's neshama have an aliya.

(How can I get a copy of the book--better to send you a cheque or go through the website?)

February 27, 2011 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

thanks - i'm a little worried about the ones on the website. i have a lot that i know came out well. the ones via them now - i think i'd like to order me a copy and see to be 100 percent sure, but I think thy will be fine. I'd say I'd just send it to you it , but me and the post office don't get along so great timing wise (if only they were open at 10 PM) and I already have a list of people to mail it to. sigh. you can email me your address and if you can take the suspense, wait, and I'll send you one asap - neil time.

February 27, 2011 at 1:18 AM  
Blogger torontopearl said...

I'll wait a while. I realized, too, that if I send you a cheque -- even U.S. funds -- you'll have trouble cashing it. Not that I'm not good for the money, but anytime I've sent a cheque for a simcha gift or whatever, the person has trouble and doesn't get the full amount for whatever reason. If you were a large business, I don't think there's a problem, though. Don't understand it really...

Hope they're a big seller.

BTW, have you heard of Achva summer programs? Do kids from your school go on them? (they're Young Israel programs)

February 27, 2011 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

please email me your snail mail address. we can discuss payment off blog.

achva's popular. after tenth grade a lot of the kids go to israel for the summer, it's the thing to do - most popular being via moshava. but kids go on lots of travel programs including achva (i think my nephew may have been a counselor on achva).

February 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger kishke said...

Somewhere in time my mother is frying breaded veal cutlets while the soundtrack of The King and I plays on the stereo.

Nice. Very nice.

March 2, 2011 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks K. Ah, details. Details are the key to remembering/conjuring and then conveying things in a potent way.

March 2, 2011 at 7:05 AM  

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