Chesvan 2006 Newsletter


  1. Writing Groups – Start Your Own
  2. One-day writing retreat on December 24th
  3. Evan Fallenberg’s book
  4. News and publications
  5. Persistence pays
  6. Maaleh Hachamisha retreat

Dear Friends,

  1. So many of you have contacted me during the past few months looking for writing groups. You are right to be looking, because in the face of stubborn sentences, isolation, and rejection letters, writing is hard. I suggest you join CIWI, a yahoo group and visit Ask there if writers in your area want to meet 1-4 times a month. Set a time and a place. Appoint a group leader or use a rotating leadership model. If you need help with ideas about how to run the group, feel free to ask me.
  2. I am leading a one-day writing retreat at Kibbutz Tzuba on Sunday, December 24th from 9:30 – 3:30. The topic is The Personal Essay. I will describe the characteristics of this genre and give you exercises that will stimulate your imagination for writing your own personal essays. The cost is NIS 235. This includes the retreat (exercises, discussion, and hand-outs), coffee/tea all day, and cakes in the morning. It does not include lunch. For lunch there are four options:
    1. Eat a hearty, kosher meat or veggie lunch in the kibbutz dining room for NIS 50 (Jerusalem Rabbinate);
    2. Purchase food in the well-stocked, kibbutz mini-market;
    3. Eat in the dairy coffee shop of the on site Belmont Hotel lobby (pasta, quiche, salads) for around NIS 40;
    4. Bring your own.

    Kibbutz Tzuba (or Zova, as some of the signs say) is located in the Judean hills between the Castel and Eitanim Hospital. There is public transportation to and fro.
    If you would like to join me for a wonderful day of basking in the landscape of creative nonfiction and writing about yourself, send me an email at and I will send you more details and a registration form.

  3. Evan Fallenberg, my colleague with whom I have enjoyed leading four writing retreats, is having his first novel published by Soho Press in Fall, 2007. I love the title of Evan’s book: Light Fell. He tells me this phrase is from the Talmud and I believe him. I am sure all of you who know Evan look forward to celebrating the publication of his first novel.
  4. News & Publications: Judy Shotten tells me that Ira Director, who has an MA in poetry from Bar Ilan University, is interested in beginning a group for poets. Ira lives at Kibbutz Gezer. His phone number is 08-927 0705. Gila Green, another MA from Bar Ilan in fiction, published “Spider Places” in the July 2006 issue of The Dalhousie Review, a publication of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Barbara Gingold’s essay in memory of her sister, Diane, was published in the Spring 2006 issue of Lilith Magazine.
  5. Persistence: In 1999 I read a long list of elections that Abraham Lincoln lost before he became President of the United States. This list appeared on the bathroom door of a B&B in Manhattan. The bathroom was painted black. It was probably this odd combination of fact and factors that pushed me to persist in my own, meager efforts to publish, despite rejection. After three years of trying to place my essay on drip irrigation and love, I have succeeded. The Southwest Review will print “In Search of Drip” in it’s Spring or Summer, 2007 issue. Fourth Genre will print my personal essay “Holding On” about my relationship with my mother, who has Alzheimer disease, in 2008. The lesson: Like Abraham Lincoln, persist.
  6. The writing retreat on Characterization at Maaleh Hachamisha, Nov. 8-10, was a huge success. You didn’t read about it in The New York Times? Evan and I apologize that there was not room for everyone who wanted to attend. Next time, register early so you won’t miss out on the special camaraderie, readings, exercises, and general ebullience.

I hope your writing from left to right is going well and that you will join me in writing somewhere around Israel during the exquisite winter months ahead.

All best,

About Judy Labensohn

I'm a writer and teacher of writing.
This entry was posted in New Writers, Newsletter, Persistence, The Writing Life, Writing Groups, Writing Retreats. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s