25 October 2016

Creative writing

Here are a selection of inspirational books on the art of creative writing from my library at home.  I have already read these books but I will keep them close at hand as I may need to delve into them again.  As I have mentioned before, November is National Novel Writing Month and I will be attempting the laborious task of writing a 50,000 word first draft of a novel.
Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2011 -
ISBN 978-1-4081-2493-2
"This bestselling Yearbook is a comprehensive, up-to-date directory of media contacts and contains a wealth of practical advice and information."
The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing - 
ISBN 13: 978-1-58297-958-8
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott 
ISBN 978-1-921372-47-6
"Some instructions on writing and life"
Naming The World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer Edited by Bret Anthony Johnston
ISBN 978-0-8129-7548-2

24 October 2016

Mobile public libraries in Tel Aviv ~ Street Library

Throughout Tel Aviv you will see small trailers set up on the pavements with shelves inside full of a selection of books in Hebrew, English, French, German and Russian.  These are in effect mobile public libraries.  This is a great scheme organised by the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo to encourage the general public to read.  There are no librarians on duty.  The whole initiative operates on an honesty system whereby it is hoped that people eventually return the books that they borrow.  The following photographs were taken at Rothschild Street in Tel Aviv.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ―Charles William Eliot
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”― Carlos Ruiz Zafon 
“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” ― John Locke
“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” ― Stephen Fry

23 October 2016

Sandwiches from the Druze ladies at Ha-Carmel Market

The small team of Israeli Druze ladies who have a stall at the Ha-Carmel Market have a wide range of delicious produce on offer such as; olives, stuffed vine leaves, pickles, tabouli salad and a red spicy paste which closely resembles harissa.  They also do a gorgeous savoury take-away sandwich right in front of your eyes made from home-made flat bread with a choice of either a cream cheese, or a humus filling.  Other optional sandwich fillings include tabouli salad, olive oil, a chopped hard boiled egg and spicy harissa paste.  This is a hearty, nutritious sandwich.  
It costs 20 ILS = 4.23GBP, 5 USD, 4.75 Euros, 

Here is an interesting link from Wikipedia regarding the Israeli Druze (Arabic: الدروز الإسرائيليون‎‎, Hebrew: דְּרוּזִים יִשְׂרְאֵלִים

22 October 2016

Medjool dates

Medjool dates are large, sweet and succulent.   The dates pictured above were purchased at Ha-Carmel Market and are grown here in Israel. 

There are many different cultivars of dates. According to Wikipedia, the Medjool date variety is native to Morocco but is also grown in the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. 

Phoenix dactylifera, commonly known as date or date palm, is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from lands around Iraq. The species is widely cultivated and is naturalized in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

Nutritional value
Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%; the remainder consists of protein, fiber and trace elements including boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.


Top ten date producers – 2013
(1000 metric tonnes)
 Egypt 1502
 Iran 1084
 Saudi Arabia 1065
 Algeria 848
 Iraq 676
 Pakistan 527
 Sudan 438
 South Sudan 432
 Oman 269
 United Arab Emirates 245
Source: UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

21 October 2016

Lulav Hebrew: לולב

File:Arbaat haminim.jpg
 This is a photo of the Four Species (ארבעת המינים) in Judaism. 
A Lulav is a closed frond of the date palm tree.  It is one of the Four Species used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot/ סוכות.  The other species are the hadass (myrtle), aravah (willow) and etrog (citron).  When bound together they are referred to as the lulav.  

The biblical reference to the four species in Sukkot can be found in Leviticus Chapter 23, verse 40. The etrog is referred to as "Citrus fruit" (Etz Hadar), and the Lulav is referred to as "Palm branches" (Kapot t'marim).  Each species is said to Kabbalistically represent an aspect of the user's body; the lulav represents the spine, the myrtle the eyes, the willow the lips, and the etrog represents the heart.

20 October 2016

The longest journey begins with a single step ...

I am mentally preparing myself to participate in National Novel Writing Month thereby devoting the entire month of November to writing a new, previously unpublished work of fiction comprising of 50,000 words.  I asked Google approximately how many pages that would equate to when writing a novel and the answer on the screen said 250 words per page therefore a total of 200 pages.  Gulp!  

Apart from writing endless diaries at boarding school in England which I'm sure would have been good practice, the most I have ever written is a couple of short stories which have never seen the light of day.  No, actually that is not true I did pluck up the courage to show one of the short stories to a friend of mine called Lillian who had published several books and whose opinion I valued.  Her feedback was encouraging and constructive.  

That aside, being expected to write a 50,000 word novel in four weeks is like asking a person who occasionally goes to the gym to climb Mount Everest.  I feel apprehensive, ill-prepared and totally out of my depth but I've decided, I'm going to give it a go.  Even if I only manage to write 5000 words or 10,000 words I will at least have tried and made a start instead of procrastinating.  As well, I think having to write under pressure within a specific time frame in this case four weeks will teach me to be more disciplined in my writing.  The NaNoWriMo website suggests that participants should aim to write about 2000 words a day.  The idea is for the participants to begin writing on the 1st of November 2016 and finish their novel by 11:59PM on 30th November 2016.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

For anyone interested, here is a good article by Colin Robinson from The Guardian newspaper dating from 28th November 2013 entitled, "How to write 50,000 words in a month".  One good piece of advice contained within the article is from a man called Andy, he says, "If you want to hit the word target, you have to lock away your inner editor."

"If there is a book that you want to read, but it has not been written yet, you must be the one to write it." Toni Morrison

18 October 2016

Israeli Discoveries and Developments That Influenced The World ~ Exhibition at Ben Gurion Airport

Going on holiday is great but leaving Israel is difficult for us especially when there are always excellent temporary exhibitions on display at Ben Gurion airport in the long corridor leading to the International Departure Hall in Terminal 3.  This is such a fantastic idea to utilise the public space within an airport as a gallery.  Last time there was an exhibition of photographs of Native Flora and Fauna.  This time there was a Science, Technology and Space exhibition of "Israeli Discoveries and Developments That Influenced The World".  I only wish we had more time to do justice to this great exhibition and had not felt so rushed with the thought of our imminent departure.  It would be wonderful to have the opportunity to see this and other previous exhibitions which were held at the airport again but this time not at the departures hall but at a more tranquil venue perhaps at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.  In haste I took photographs of as many of the images and the corresponding explanatory texts as possible before rushing off to the departures gate to board our flight. 











 More information about this exhibition can be found at the following link:
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