Updated: Jan 21, 2019
A traditional Jewish saying cautions "all beginnings are difficult." It's an apt reminder for my first blog post. I've written a book, published essays and articles. I've thought for years about a blog. Now I begin, grateful for the support of my friend Gillian.
It's fitting I start with a Jewish reference, since much of how I think about and interpret the world comes from living as a Jew. It's been central to my identity. But that Jewish identity has shifted over the years. I'm far less comfortable defining myself through that lens. It's like casting off clothing which has become too tight. Shucking the garment has been a long, gradual process. I'm still groping with the loss of a central identifying anchor point: Jew.
Other transitions in the way I order my universe are also in play. I moved from northern California to London just over fifteen months ago. Uprooting from the place I lived for thirty-five years, I question my assumptions: how can I have been so wrong when I was sure I knew what was true? how does discarding previous lives make me both stronger and more vulnerable? by what compass do I navigate now?
These knotty questions entwine with the reality of being in my mid-seventies. Age is indeed a different country. Examining the arc of my life. I consider accomplishments, failures, loss, blank spaces. I recognize the arc is finite, stretching itself towards completing the circle. I see things now through the looming presence of eternity. Not a comforting notion but less frightening than when the days seemed endless and delay was of little consequence.
Words have always been my saviours as I continually struggle to make some kind of sense of things. Now I share these precious objects. T.S. Eliot, whose poetry is brilliant on notions of time and death wrote in The Waste Land: "These fragments I have shored against my ruins”. These blog posts are my fragments, a bulwark I erect to offset the ruins which are to come.
- Rose Levinson, Spring 2018