Up in The Times of Israel today is an interview I conducted with Curtis Sittenfeld, the New York Times bestselling author of “Prep” and “American Wife.” Sittenfeld has a new book hitting shelves this week: “Eligible,” a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
I’ve been a big fan of Sittenfeld’s since my NJ book club (make that my beloved and sorely missed book club) read “Prep” as our first selection back in 2006. “Eligible” was cleverly entertaining and I definitely recommend it. It was a huge pleasure to speak to Sittenfeld by phone from Israel recently. Check out my article in TOI for more.
Last night after I returned home from ten days away, I lay down next to my daughter to chit chat before she fell asleep.
“While you were away, mommy,” she said. “I prayed to God for something I know I’ll never get.”
“What?” I asked her, even though I was pretty sure I knew the answer.
She sighed, “A real baby.”
“You’re right honey,” I replied. “I’m not having any more babies, but maybe God will listen anyway, and hang on to your request ’til you’re a mommy.”
With that, she sighed again, and held Nadav, her American Girl baby-boy doll a little tighter than before.
* * *
This morning on Twitter a journalist posted there would be an air raid siren in the southern Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
“This is part of a tsunami drill,” he wrote. “Don’t panic.”
As if the poor people of Ashdod and Ashkelon haven’t been traumatized enough over the last few years of rocket warnings. Shouldn’t they devise a unique alert sound for a tsunami? And, anyway, what are the residents of Ashkelon and Ashdod advised to do in the case of a true tsunami?
Certainly taking cover will not save them from the rushing waters of a churning Mediterranean sea.
* * *
I never realized it before, but jet lag is a necessary and appropriate method for transitioning from one culture, one point of view, to another.
* * *
If I were to have another baby — which I will not — I wouldn’t have named it Nadav if it was a boy, or Shaked if it was a girl, even though both are my favorite names for new babies in Israel.
It occurs to me this morning after I read the message about the tsunami drill, however, that tsunami would actually be a lovely name for a girl. The word rolls off the tongue like the wave it describes, but more gently. Like a ripple in time.
Tsu – Nah – Me.
* * *
When I land in New Jersey, I like that I have traveled backwards.
When I land in Israel, I like that I have lost a whole day.
I like to be pummeled by time like that.
I like that I am able to anticipate the absolute engulfment caused by change in time, even if I can’t control it.