Last week’s article engaged readers from the start with the information that I, a rabbi, sleep in a tent on Yom Kippur and don’t go to the synagogue.
The first line of any piece of writing, the hook, has got to set the tone and draw the reader in.
And it did.
If you’ve not yet read that article, I suggest you do.
It came out really well.
It didn’t start as a great article, though.
Nor did it get that way quickly.
The change history on Google Docs shows that on 9/25, I worked on the document for more than ten hours. (It was Yom Kippur, after all, so no need for food breaks—just dog walks and meditation.)
I wrote, re-wrote, and re-re-wrote. Writing, deleting, writing, re-writing, deleting, writing, re-organizing, writing, editing, deleting. All the while knowing—or at least hoping—that something good would probably emerge. And something beautiful came out.
(And then it went to Jenn, who edits. Thanks, Jenn!)
A tangent about a bespoke stained glass lamp.
I have a picture from November 29, 2022, of two shoe-box-sized plastic tubs, each filled with small, identical-sized stained glass parallelograms in shades of green, blue, yellow and the occasional reddish.
I had sent the image to my friends Greg and Gillian, as it was the first stage of making them a gift of a stained glass lamp in the colors of their choice.
After I finished wrapping each of the hundred-plus pieces in copper foil, I arranged, re-arranged, and re-re-arranged the colorful geometric pieces, looking for the just-so design that would become the lamp.
I have four photos of attempts over three days: 12/12, 12/15, and 12/16.
But none were the thing I was looking for.
Until—eureka—it came to me.
On 12/21, I assembled the first panel of the final design—a design so simple and elegant that it’s hard to imagine the lamp would be right any other way.
From where did the lamp design or the structure of that article come?
I don’t know.
From those places from which thoughts come, I guess.
(I don’t know where that is.)
I just know to trust the process.
I know that if I put in the time and effort, the muses (for lack of a better term) will meet me to help.
Can you imagine that you are an art project in the process of becoming ever more beautiful, simple, just right? Can you give yourself the grace to see yourself that way? Can you do the same thing for others?