Perhaps by chance, or maybe because it’s spring, and we’re all tempted to leave the computer behind and go out and enjoy the fine weather, and the rebirth of nature, I’ve read two articles about writers’ block in the last week. And I was reminded of a fine post I read a few years ago, by a painter I like very much, and whose blog I read regularly. Her name is Janet Weight Reed, and she gives courses in water colors. You can see some of her work here: http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk/index.html. She wrote about the need to warm up, when we start to work. Since she likes apples, she spends about 15 minutes warming up before painting, doing a sketch or a quick painting of an apple. I like to warm up too. But after reading her post, I started using an apple for warming up as well. I don’t always use the apple, but I did find that there were more than a 101 ways to describe an apple, and that it’s a very good warm up exercise. I would recommend it for artists and writers alike. Even if you have an idea… and all the more so, if you don’t know what to write about… Take 15 minutes, and just write (or sketch, or photograph) something that’s right there, right in front of your eyes, and you’ll find it’s a great way to get into the swing of things.
In response to my post on Jerusalem, I received a few questions about the wailing wall, which I had mentioned in passing. There is so much I could tell you about the wall. But here’s a quick explanation. The first holy temple of the Hebrews, who are now called Jews, was built around 1000 BCE. That is about 3000 years ago. It was a very central institution in Jewish life, and provided religious, psychological medical, and cultural services for our people. It was destroyed during a war with Iraq, and was rebuilt again after some 70 years. And then the second temple was established for another 550 years in the same place.
About two thousand years ago, it was destroyed again, by the Romans, who conquered our country and then burnt the temple. Most of the Jewish people at that time were forced into exile, and left our country, leaving a small community behind.
All that was left of the temple, was one wall built of massive stones, that weren’t cemented together. The building techniques of the time were so fundamental that they did not use cement to keep the stones together. For the last two thousand years, Jews have come to the wall to pray… and some have written little notes and pushed them between the stones as messages to god. But when thinking about what had happened to the temple, and to the Jewish people, since the temple was destroyed, many visitors couldn’t help but cry out loud. This has been so common, that the wall got the name, ‘wailing wall’. Nowadays, the modern state of Israel prefers to call it the ‘Western Wall’. Our prophets have assured us that the temple will once again be rebuilt.
Music was a very important part of the temple, and there was an entire floor reserved for the orchestra, and the music was heard all around when they played. For hundreds of years after the destruction of the temple, Jews refrained from playing music as a sign of their grief.
This evening, we begin celebrating the holiday of Pentecost, which marks the day on which we received the laws and precepts of our religion. As always, our day begins in the evening, and carries through the night, and the following day until the next evening. Pentecost is one of the three holidays of the year, in which Jews would make a pilgrimage from all over Israel, to visit the holy temple. Those of you who are interested in the holiday, can find other posts I wrote about it here:
My best wishes to all my readers and friends.