Each day as I sit in the coffee shop and revise my memoir Silence: What the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Courage, Faith, Empowerment and Love, I am constantly asking myself, “who the heck would read this and why would they care?”
Since hiring an amazing editor like Brooke Warner of Warner Coaching, the inner voices are getting more subdued because my goals are so much more focused as I continue to bring my story to life. Her thoughtful questions make me dig even deeper to places where my subconscious and memory suddenly begin cooperating. After the ninth draft, I say, “I can do this. There’s a story to each of these chapters.”
Digging deeper into my story is like revealing another piece of yourself in your story. It takes great courage to step into that space. Great courage indeed.
Even though this happened in 1990, there’s still parts of me that are anxious about my decision leaving my Mom (it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth) to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. When I found myself on Israeli soil, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. On one hand, I was stepping into a larger than life force — volunteering for the IDF was the ultimate stepping outside of my comfort zone, but it was what my soul was crying for at the time.
A Snippet of My Story – A New York City scene before leaving for Israel
Which voice do I listen to now: my Mom’s, my own or my father’s?
If I stay here, will I turn out to be like my mother, like my father says?
I navigate past roadblocks and construction sites to rediscover the bike trail. I end up biking across the street to the 11th avenue sidewalk singing Duran-Duran’s “New Moon on Monday” in a slightly higher voice. You’re free. You can do it. You’re meant to follow the meant of your own drum. You have the power. I bike past the empty warehouse lots and fences that practically seem almost invisible in the dark. The flickering lights of the Twin Towers are like two giant huge Shabbat candles – the long waxy kind I used to light at my grandmother’s house in Far-Rockaway, Queens. I may not see this sight for a long time. In my heart, I know the right thing to do is to leave Mom. The only place where I’ve already successfully experienced a sense of personal freedom happened for the first time in my life in Israel. It started during the summer of 1989 when I fell in love with the thought of volunteering for the Israel Defense Forces, and it ended with a craving for personal freedom by breaking away from the expectation to finish college. There’s also another missing part — that part made me feel special – the love for where I was and what I was doing.
So what’s the point of this story? To this day, I know my vision of leaving New York City to serve in the IDF is similar to holding the faith as I write my memoir. I’ve got to believe that I can write a book that will make an impact. And my vision of becoming an IDF soldier did in fact, become a reality because I had absolute faith that it would—with no possibility of failure. This is similar to keeping the faith to see the change.
How Important is it for Me to Write My Story?
1. Despite the fact that my daughter started daycare, I continue to shell out babysitting money so my two children will be cared for for a few hours over the weekend while my husband works slave hours over in retail. I continue to hold the faith.
2. I have absolutely NO idea if my book will be a bestseller right now and how many copies it will sell and if an agent will manage to sell it within six months of accepting my proposal. I have no idea if I will hybrid-publish or self-publish. Still, I continue to hold the faith.
3. I DO however know that if I don’t do #1 and #2, I won’t make progress. Writing is in my blood and soul. It is who I am. I MUST continue to hold the faith.
Keep the Faith, See the Change
As Barbara Edie recently said in her newsletter, “Faith is a powerful force. It is faith in what you believe in that will conquer all obstacles, endure the setbacks, and silence the naysayers.”
Writers are particularly challenged in this direction because the writing and work is so painstakingly slow. It can be months before you hear back from an editor or from an agent about your recent book proposal. Still, I MUST continue to hold the faith. It is the only thing I have.
How do you continue to Hold the faith during hard times? What helps you through?
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