אני מתווכחת עם מאיר שלו

המלך שלמה כשהוא מספר לאנשיו מ'קהלת', בתמונה של איזאק אשכנזי מ-1900

 

ס' לומד עכשיו בבית ספר על סוף מלכותו של דוד והמאבקים בין יורשיו. מיד אני שולפת את "תנ"ך עכשיו" של מאיר שלו [הוצאת שוקן, 1985], ספר קלאסי שאני מוציאה כל פעם מחדש לבדוק, לראות… במיוחד אני אוהבת את הפרק שלו 'פּרוטקשֵׁן בכָּרמל', שמערער לחלוטין על הפירוש של רש"י לכל הפרשה הזו של נבל הכרמלי ומאפשר לטקסט להגיד את מה שהוא אומר, קרי, שדוד עמד בראש חבורה של  אנשים לא נחמדים והתפרנס גם מדמי חסות. יפה. אני אוהבת.

אבל ס' כאמור כבר בַּקרב הירושה לקראת ואחרי מותו של דוד, אז אני קוראת פרק אחר שנקרא "החייל הטוב יואב", וכאן אני פחות מסכימה עם שלו. שלו, כדרכו, רואה בשליטים בעיקר שחיטות, ונוטה להזדהות עם האָנדֵרדוֹג. יואב הוא בהחלט אנדרדוג במקרה הזה, והטיעון של הכתוב בעניין הסיבה לכך שדוד מורה להרוג אותו מאד מאד לא משכנע. ההסבר הסביר לרציחתו של יואב ולרציחתם של אדוניהו – בן אחר של דוד שבשלב מסויים חשבנו שהוא יירש את המלוכה – ושל שמעי בן גרא, הוא ביסוס שלטונו של שלמה.

הכתוב עצמו מבהיר שחיסולי החשבונות האלו הם למען המטרה הטובה של ביסוס מלכותו של בית דוד. אחרי החיסול השלישי והאחרון, בערך שלוש שנים אחרי עלייתו של שלמה לשלטון, נאמר "והמלך שלמה בָּרוך וכסא דוד יהיה נכון לפני ה' עד עולם." ואחר כך: "והממלכה נכונה ביד שלמה" [מלכים א', ב' 46]. אם הכתוב עצמו אומר שהמטרה מקדשת את האמצעים במקרה הזה, למה להתווכח?  להמשיך לקרוא

I call it Previous Incarnation Therapy

Wikimedia/ photo by Luis Ascenso: The beauty of the Highlands is well known

Wikimedia/ photo by Luis Ascenso: The beauty of the Highlands is well known

   [This post is in continuation to the previous one, 'Other People Just Live', from May 7. If interested look for the previous incarnations material on previousincarnation.com as well.]

   I don't want to be as reticent as George, my last previous incarnation. George experienced enormous problems when it came to gathering and marshaling all those ethereal spirits he could sense dancing around him. The problem was making them substantial enough for a reader to grasp, but without destroying them.

   George had moved out to the Highlands in order write, but the beauty of the Highlands was well known, an established fact. Writers have “done” it many times over, so he wasn’t worried about covering all the details; like a painter in the age of photography there was no point to that. What he wanted was to let the reader enjoy the views, both physical and metaphysical, while undergoing some adventure, while achieving some insight maybe.

   I love telling other peoples’ stories, and this has to do with the many preparations I have already done, as George, for the writing. I’ve done the part every writer must do, which is to prepare one’s craftsmanship. The other part is, of course, to trust that your experience is interesting enough for other people to want to read about. Either that or you write other people’s stories, other people’s messages. As a ghost writer I am allowed to improvise wildly with other peoples’ material, harnessing all those butterfly-winged fairies George was never fully able to take a hold of.

   He was so shy. I remember him when he still worked at the paper (the name I associate with that paper is ‘the Sun Dial” but I have never been able to find a newspaper by that name in the archives). He would write his reviews in long hand and then go into the typists’ room to find someone free to type his piece. The typists were a joyful lot, but he couldn’t just talk to them any old how, like the other journalists did.

   I hate to say this but I think his writing must have been stinted too. I mean, if he was so shy and withdrawn with real live people, then his writing must have been, well… it couldn’t have been flamboyant. Although what I do remember is him being very conscientious as a book reviewer, adhering to the text, to its purported meaning, to its highest purpose.

   My aim, then, is to overcome George’s reticence. George was fortunate in that he was a public school boy. He was a graduate of a school designed to prepare upper middle class boys to run the empire.

   They were citizen-soldiers, these boys, separated from their families at age seven, disconnected from the emotional support of their close relatives, especially their close female relatives, in exchange for the opportunity to join the club.

   Being ‘a public school boy’ meant you were immediately recognized by other school boys as one of their own. This was the greatest club in the world. If you were a member there was no need for further credentials. A public school boy was obviously a gentleman; his perspective was obviously that of the ruling class, not only of Britain but of the entire planet (because Britain still ruled over vast tracts of land, not to mention sea) and it was obvious too that he was eminently qualified to carry out any task he set himself to.

   As I remember it, it was very easy for George to get the job he had had at the paper. He met a friend on the street. The friend mentioned they were looking for writers at this rag, meaning a newspaper, George rushed over and that was it, he got the job. Nothing like that is liable to happen to me today, of course, so I’m a little jealous. On the other hand, I have so many advantages over George.

   Remembering George makes it easier for me to communicate. Remembering how difficult it was for him to communicate his feelings, how intensely introverted he was; I carry the memory with me at all times, as a contrast to where I am at now. Never again, I tell myself, never again this Georgian reticence.

   But there's an additional advantage I have over George. I think of my ability to remember previous incarnations generally as a great advantage. This is so extremely helpful that I would like to spread the information around. I call it Previous Incarnation Therapy and I plan to continue writing about it here. And if this is something you are interested in please comment below. I would much appreciate it if you do!

Other People Just Live

I even remember the black  vehicle he drove...

I even remember the black
…vehicle he drove

[This is the first time I am introducing Previous Incarnation Therapy on this blog. As introductions go it's not the greatest. I'll probably be expanding on this in the future though… Hope you enjoy. If interested please do look for more of this information in my previous incarnations site: previousincarnationtherapy.com.]

Now that I’ve kicked everyone out of the kitchen and I’m alone again it’s less obvious what the fuss was about.

I had offended my ex-husband by reminding him he doesn’t live here; I’ve been spending all this energy fighting off the tendency to take on a decent job that pays the bills, all in the name of creating a space for myself as a writer. And now, all of a sudden, it’s not clear what I’m supposed to write about.

It was the same, I remember, in my previous incarnation. George had been a book reviewer when he decided he wasn’t writing the stuff he wanted to, and that he needed to leave Glasgow and its much frequented pubs to go somewhere where he would be able to write in peace.

He left everything behind and settled in a semi-detached in Dumbarton, a suburb to the north-west of Glasgow which he soon found, lacked intellectual focus. It’s inhabitants went to pubs, they gathered at church on Sunday, but that was more or less it. Then again, one of the reasons he had left the big city was in order to “neutralize” his surroundings, make them more bland, so that he could better hear the goings-on in his head.

George wanted to write his own original stuff. That is why he moved out of the noise and closer to nature and its intrinsically inspiring ambiance. However, after having put all that effort into creating a time-space for himself as a writer, he found himself disconnected. That is, he found he was too disconnected from the life around him in order to be able to write about it.

His neighbours were families with small kids. George was shy and didn’t really know how to speak to them. He wanted to but never dared lift one of their babies and kiss its chubby cheek. He was shy with the women in particular, so he didn’t go to those Sunday get-togethers. On top of which he missed his volunteer work as an ambulance driver (taken up during the war and continued since. Yes, I even remember the black vehicle he drove…)

George would walk alone in the mountains, come back and unsuccessfully try to write. It turned out moving away from Glasgow and the stimulation the city provided was not enough for him to write. In order to write you need time off, you need some peace and quiet, but you also need to feel like you are part of the fabric of life.

You cannot write about life when you feel entirely disconnected from it. In my present incarnation I am always very aware of needing to be a part of the fabric of life, which has its ridiculous sides too: most people just live. But the up side of my uber consciousness is that I am not repeating George’s mistakes.

So, I’ve banned myself from taking on jobs that clutter my schedule too much and an hour ago I’ve just kicked my ex-husband and son out of the apartment, but unlike George I guess I'm connected enough because here I am, I'm actually writing!

Yes. Miracles do indeed abound.