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Thursday, 20 July 2017

PerfectlyWritePoetry: Yes: Far Too Soon to Say Goodbye!

PerfectlyWritePoetry: Yes: Far Too Soon to Say Goodbye!: As we mark the bi-centenary of the death of novelist, Jane Austen scholars still debate its cause. Was it tuberculosis, cancer, Addison’s d...

Monday, 17 July 2017

Israel Sports Its Rainbow

MACC.20If anything expresses the essence of Israel as a rainbow nation it is surely the Maccabiah Games which this year attracted 10,000 participants from 80 countries.


Thanks to Nefesh B’Nefesh I was among the hundreds present at the Acco Municipal Stadium on Sunday to see two back-to-back soccer matches played in sweltering temperatures of about 35˚C (95˚F),  first Israel v USA girls, then Israel v Mexico boys.


The 17th Maccabiah Games are due to end with tonight’s closing ceremony in Latrun, midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Now I’ll let some more  pictures do the talking:



MACC.21  MACC.22



© Natalie Wood (17 July 2017)

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Coco Lite!

I am convinced that the major self-publishing companies are wholly honourable and while their services are not cheap they wish to do their best for their client- writers.

So believe them when they warn that the reading public does judge a book by its cover.

Moreover, unless debut self-published authors are from professional writing backgrounds, they should invest in reliable proofing and editing services.

COCOI thought about this for the umpteenth time on trying to review **Coco's Story - The Early Years  by Tomás Berlín who has produced six very striking covers for his mystery crime series but who has given himself and potential readers vast editorial problems to solve. I appeal to him to go no further with current production plans but to employ the type of professional help I suggest.

** Coco’s Story – The Early Years is available at Amazon on Kindle ($3.99); Paperback ($14.25).

© Natalie Wood (16 July 2017)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

PerfectlyWritePoetry: Restoring Miss Toyah

PerfectlyWritePoetry: Restoring Miss Toyah: ‘Erasure poetry’ is defined as a form of ‘found poetry’ or ‘found art’ created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and ...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Musical Works - In Eight Great Hands!

Watching the Israel Musicals’ show, Ode to a Golden Age, I could not help but think of On The Other Hand, the title of the long-running Jewish Chronicle newspaper column written by Chaim Bermant.
In one regard, the production paralleling the respective genius of strictly Orthodox cantor Yossele Rosenblatt and the secular but avowedly Jewish Broadway composer, George Gershwin is so odd it shouldn’t work well - even in Israel.
It shouldn’t work at all.
But last week, as an ESRA Karmiel audience swiftly discovered, tenor Rabbi Yisrael (Seth) Lutnik and award-winning Haredi pianist, Haim Tukachinsky, somehow transcended the strangeness and put the two late stars through their paces as deftly as anyone may wish.
How did they do it? I’m still not quite sure!
It is not because of Lutnik’s quirky form of ‘storytelling historical concert’.
This, to be honest, I found confusing.
It was, I suggest, because Lutnik somehow illustrated that secular Gershwin was as deeply religious as the cantor and that Rosenblatt, like all artistes, was simply desperate for an audience. But that was at a price: only if he could express his Jewish soul; continue his ongoing ‘dialogue with God’.
Gershwin’s music often revealed his Jewish background. Indeed, while fellow US Jewish composer Leonard Bernstein mused that the themes in Rhapsody in Blue were “terrific – inspired, God-given …” there were pieces from the folk opera Porgy and Bess as assuredly Jewish as they were African American.
But I keep thinking of the song, Someone to Watch over Me from the show, Oh, Kay! While its title was devised, not by George’s brother Ira but by another Jewish lyricist, Howard Dietz, its sentiments, I am convinced are most psalmic, reminding me, no matter how and by whom it is sung, of Psalm 121.
So, as Lutnik has featured ol’ blue eyes in another show, I conclude here with Frank Sinatra’s distinctly balladic call for romantic – even divine protection.

© Natalie Wood (25 June 2017)

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Alwayswriteagain: Lots of Bread – But Not In Bed!

Alwayswriteagain: Lots of Bread – But Not In Bed!: The wide variety of bread salads available throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East is due surely to the region’s ancient peasant cu...

Lots of Bread – But Not In Bed!

The wide variety of bread salads available throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East is due surely to the region’s ancient peasant cultures and the need for desperate cooks to feed large, starving families as cheaply and swiftly as possible.

I know from gorging on Italian panzanella, Lebanese fattoush and Greek dakos that they make a wonderful one course meal that can keep you feeling satisfied for hours.

Bread SaladSo I was intrigued to flip through Bread Salad and Italian Men – A 60s Food Memory ** by US writer Marjorie Harris who like many women of a certain class and era has maintained a half-drunk ardour for Italian food – and handsome men – long after everyone’s supposed to know better!

Harris, who boasts a doctorate in Italian literature and a background in law, recalls ogling the copy of Michelangelo’s David in the Piazza dell a Signoria, Florence and wonders how anyone viewing it could not “be captivated by the beauty of the archetypal Italian male”?

True enough! But I must remind the author that the original David lived not a thousand miles from where I sit writing this in western Galilee and where all the ingredients for an Israeli style tomato-bread salad with za’atar vinaigrette are easily available. I invite her to visit and would be delighted to host her to some nosh accompanied by a splash of our favourite local merlot!

This new book is her second in a series of short food memoirs, the first being based on her aunt’s ‘hot pink kugel’ Oy!

** The Kindle edition of Bread Salad and Italian Men: A 60’s Food Memory by Marjorie Harris is presently available  for free download at Amazon.

© Natalie Wood (24 June 2017)

Monday, 5 June 2017

Not Just a Matter of Life and Death …!

Among the many literary and book review sites with which I’m registered is which recently invited me to critique a short story, ** Matter of Life and Death.

Matterof Life and DeathTo detail the plot would be to write a spoiler. So I’ll just say that both website and author, Brian Tate  class his story as ‘deeply philosophical literary fiction’ and that the end pages include prompts for group discussions along with an invitation to enter an essay contest based on its theme.

There are regular debates among writers and publishers as to the nature of ‘literary’ versus ‘genre’ fiction.

I illustrate with a couple of web links:

Mr Tate is offering very generous quarterly prizes for his competition but I feel he needs to examine his own work more closely before he judges that of others.

** Matter Of Life And Death is available from Amazon on Kindle ($0.99); Paperback ($3.59) and Audio ($3.95).

© Natalie Wood (05 June 2017)