Tsuris and Yoga

I haven’t blogged in so long I’ve forgotten why I do it, so immersed have I been in preparing for Tsuris and Other Literary Pleasures, the international creative writing conference sponsored by the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University that I am organizing. Just saying that word – organizing – makes me anxious. I  picture everything going wrong: the flowers won’t arrive, the cabs won’t pick up the guests, the caterer will serve spoiled dips, the mike won’t work, the heat won’t work, the air conditioner won’t work and it will all be on my head. Does everyone who organizes a conference feel this way before the opening? Oh, and did I mention that the room won’t be large enough to seat everyone and the security guard will stop the whole program just when Allen Hoffman and Joseph Skibell are warming up and the guard will ask all 120 people to please leave the hall immediately since it only seats 80 and it’s a fire hazard. Who’s in charge here, the security guard shouts and everyone looks at me in my blue shirt from Chico’s bought with this night in mind and the low slung silver belt the likes of which I have never worn but can dare to try now that I have lost a few kilos being a vegan. “Yes, I am responsible,” say I to the security guard. “I take full responsibility. I am accountable. It’s all my fault. Hang me. Fine me. Sue me. Just let us stand here crowded together another forty-five minutes until we stop laughing from Hoffman’s and Skibell’s Tsuris and Humor.”

So you can understand why I said Yes as soon as my daughter suggested I join her for a three-day yoga retreat right before the conference up north in the tranquil Galilee at a place called Klil.  I’m going to drive three hours to a tent that overlooks mountains and Mediterranean so I can breathe deeply and relax. I’m taking my laptop with me in case there are last minute emergencies, but Klil probably doesn’t have wi-fi so I’ll have to drive to Nahariya to some coffee house and miss some yoga sessions.  I’m sure I’ll arrive home on Motzei Shabbat totally relaxed after a three hour drive down the coastal road with the rest of the half million Israelis who tiyul on Shabbat in the north and all go home together, relaxed, to start another week.

See why I haven’t blogged for so long? My mind is racing. I have to empty it in Klil. I’ve written several blogposts in my head and some might even make it to the page. I’ve thought about my moving to Times of Israel and now want to move back home after only three posts there. This reminds me of my daughter, who when she was thirteen went to summer camp for a month and returned after a week. It took me a long time to realize, to really get how different my daughter is from me. When I was thirteen, I went to summer camp for eight weeks and could have spent the whole year there.  We’re very different, even though we both have left places quickly, before giving them, or us, a chance. For years I couldn’t see how different we were  because I was so caught up in myself. Now I see.  We’ve come a long way, my daughter and I. Tomorrow we’re going to do yoga together for three days in the Galilee. Is this not cause for rejoicing?

The blog will return home to writeinisrael dot com. Hurray! I will call it a boutique blog with irregular hours. The conference will end. The guests will return to their homes abroad and wonder why that organizer was so uptight. Didn’t she know how to relax?   I will call my daughter on the phone and we’ll laugh and cry and devote a few seconds to trying to remember what the yoga teacher said about practicing that funny word. What was it? Yam?  Yum? 

“Tsuris,” she’ll say.

For full Tsuris see http://english.biu.ac.il/creative-writing/361

About Judy Labensohn

I'm a writer and teacher of writing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writers and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Tsuris and Yoga

  1. Joan Leegant says:

    Another wonderful post. I can’t wait to read the next…in its own irregular time, of course!


  2. longwindedlady says:

    A warm, lovely post. I too have forgotten how to blog…you have inspired me with your story about “organizing” anxiety and yoga with your daughter. Best of luck with the conference.


    • Blogging is its own genre, Longwinded, which neither of us probably appreciated when we got into it. I understand you’re supposed to ask questions at the end of each post to generate feedback and a sense of community, but I’m not there yet.
      Good luck with yours, Judy


  3. The yoga retreat sounds lovely! And I’m sure the conference will go well, too. I’m just sorry I won’t be able to join you all, it looks great!

    Love the idea of your blog being a boutique with irregular hours. Will be reading wherever it is you decide to post. 🙂

    Take care,

    ~ Rachel


  4. estherhecht says:

    I think it was matza dust that clogged the writing arteries. How good that it has cleared out (leaving room for just ordinary dust) and you’re back.
    I wish you’d explain your decision to return to your own blog space.
    And if you could organize such an enjoyable Yom Atzma’ut party, you can organize anything. Just don’t try telling the cops to breathe deeply.


    • I love the idea of matza dust clogging the writing arteries, Esther. On my own blog space I can reply to your comments. At TOI it’s all through Facebook or the other social media networks.


  5. Shoshana London Sappir says:

    It’s your creative trepidation that makes you a good organizer. If only other planners in this country had such a clear vision of all the things that could go wrong before they signed off on their projects.


  6. ruth mason says:

    Good luck, Judy, with the drives, the conference, the yoga. Now that I decided TO blog on the Times of Israel, I want to know why you decided to leave – ?


    • Dear Ruth and Esther – Why I decided to come home to my own blogspace? Because it’s home and I don’t like crowds and I especially don’t like being around alot of people with opinions.


  7. Rena Yechieli says:

    Dear Judy – your choice of home over crowds and opinion-holders: volumes of common sense in one sentence!
    Hope the retreat and the conference were successful and relaxed.
    Keep up the blog … when you choose … and all the encouragement.


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