Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Crossing the Sea

For this year's second Passover Seder, we're planning to get together with a large group of family friends. This year the "kids' table" (a group of young adults in their twenties) has been put in charge of running the ritual-filled event.

Instead of the often traditional round robin reading of paragraph after paragraph from the Passover hagaddah, this group has planned something fun and outside the box. We're all going to be dividing into groups to discuss pre-assigned discussion questions.

My favorite two discussion questions were the following:

***What's your "Red Sea" today and how are you going to cross it?

***Where do you find your burning bush and what's it been saying to you lately?

I can think about these questions on so many levels. But the more I think about it, the more they make me think about my life as a writer.

For me, the Red Sea, makes me think of all those moments when I think I'm completely stuck. I just can't go on. Maybe it's a revision I need to make but can't figure out how. Maybe it's finding the time to write with a testing toddler and an infant with feeding issues. Maybe it's the search for that perfect idea.

Whatever the challenge, at the time I first encounter it, it seems as though there is no way I can possibly rise to meet it. Oh how I wish I had the clarity of God speaking to me in a burning bush to let me know how I should proceed... or that I should proceed.

Unfortunately, we writers don't get the benefit of a whole lot of burning bushes. Acceptances and publications are incredibly exciting, but (for me at least) there always seems to be stretches in between these wonderful events.

So often in that first draft or submission process, it feels as though there's nowhere to go. We are faced with our own personal Red Sea. In order to cross it, we must believe in ourselves enough to take that first step into the waters.

We keep writing through the muddle of a middle or get that manuscript out in the world for yet another time. And once we take the risk, the waters will part.

Maybe we'll feel like we're drowning at first. But eventually they do. We revise that ending till it shines or get an acceptance from that magazine we dreamed of breaking into.

Wishing us all luck in crossing our own writing Red Seas and congratulations to those (Mazel Tov, Valerie & Meg!) who've recently found their own burning bush!


  1. I think every time you submit something you could compare it to stepping into the Red Sea. In spite of all your preparation for the journey, there's no telling whether your work is going to drown or reach the far shore and survive to live on in print.

  2. Brianna: I love your red sea and burning bush analogies. I hope this doesn't mean you see writing as enslavement. ;-P

    Happy Passover!

  3. Wonderful analogies! Those are questions I can ask myself. One doesn't need to be Jewish to appreciate them.

    Have a blessed Passover.

  4. Great post, Brianna. Hag Sameach!

    We writers must be brave and stick our toes into the Red Sea, confident that we'll come out dry on the other side.

    A burning bush muse would be helpful, but I'm not counting on it. I'll just have to struggle along without it.

  5. What a wonderful analogy. It comes at the perfect time since I find myself in a "muddle of a middle" as you call it. It's comforting to know that all writers struggle with the same thing. It is easy to assume that other writers are endowed with a special quality - their own burning bush - that allows them to float over these issues easily.

  6. What a great way to celebrate Pesach. And here I thought our puppet show was original...

  7. ow, what an original post and a brilliantly creative way to celebrate Passover!