Log in

No account? Create an account

One Year Ago and Nineteen Years Ago

It's been a few weeks since I've managed to blog here; as I hope people can imagine, the kids still take up a lot of time in our lives. Nomi and I continue to enjoy being parents, and I find myself torn between wanting to post every update about the kids and not wanting to deluge the readers of this blog with all those details. I would post about other things going on in my life, but as I noted recently on Twitter and Facebook, there's not much else going on.

Well, that's not entirely true. We're working, of course, and I'm always trying to make progress on some writing project or other. We're continuing to clean the apartment; in particular, every day we make a little more progress in the kids' room so it will one day be entirely theirs. And we socialize a little bit, although that's mostly close to home. We did make it to a wedding last month, and we're going to another one this month, but any trips out of the house involve so many logistical details that they have to be considered carefully before implementing. (I sound like a military general.)

Amidst all the current chaos that is our lives, however, I didn't want to let two anniversaries pass today without mention.

A year ago today, on Sunday, November 2, 2008, was the official publication day of my collection I Remember the Future. It's hard for me to believe that the book has been out for a whole year. I blogged about publication day last year in my post The Publication Party, and I noted how wonderful it was to have so many people turn out for the celebration.

In honor of the first anniversary of the book's publication, the Open Book Society website is featuring an exclusive interview with me. I discuss a variety of topics, including my thoughts on the current state of the publishing industry and how having twins has affected my writing. Feel free to check it out.

(Also, although I'm probably preaching to the choir here, keep in mind that the book is still in print, and would make a great gift for Chanukah or Christmas. And check out all the other books Apex has for sale.)


So that's one year ago. Nineteen years ago... well, nineteen years ago my father died. And oddly enough, that's true this year on both the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar. Dad died on the evening of November 2, 1990, after sundown, which means that he died on the 15th of Cheshvan in the year 5751. As it so happens, the 15 of Cheshvan began last night and lasts all day today until sundown – and today is November 2.

I've discussed my father here before and how much he influenced me – in fact, I did so again just last year in the post Joel David Burstein for anyone who wants to be reminded about him. Yesterday evening, when I went to shul to recite the Mourner's Kaddish, I contemplated how far I've come from that night in college when Dad was taken from me.

For many years, I defined myself as an adult who had lost his father. Then, in 2007, I had to learn to redefine myself as an adult who had lost both his parents, and that was at an age when most people still have their parents around. But this past summer, I began to redefine myself again, as a father to twins. Last night, as I held my two daughters and thought about how they've both been named in a way that honors my parents, I thought about how joyously Dad would have held the two of them were he alive today.

I wish they could have met my parents, their grandparents, and I hope I'll be able to impress upon them the kind of people they were.

One year ago, and nineteen years ago.


What a beautiful post, Michael. Thank you for sharing it.
You're welcome.
You've been blogging about as much as I would expect you to. Speaking personally, I am entirely pleased that you and Nomi are being restrained in blogging about your children. I'm truly happy for you and Nomi, but it often boggles me how much some folks blog about their children. It's one thing to discuss how the children are affecting you, and an occasional Cute Thing My Kid Did Today is not amiss. But All Kids, All The Time gets old for me rapidly.

Congratulations on your one year publishing anniversary. In that spirit, how long have you defined yourself as an author? I knew you in that context before I knew all the other things you did (teacher, editor, etc.), so I'm curious.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind on the question of blogging about one's children:

1. As I think I've noted elsewhere, children – especially right after they are born – very much become the focus of one's life. In the same way that a writer who is asked "How are you?" might reply, "Fine; the book's going great," a new parent will often find that he or she has little else to talk about.

2. In our own case, we spent many years without children (our choice; we waited until we were ready), and it has made us very sensitive to pushing stories of our children onto others.

3. Also in our own case, and in comparing with others, Nomi and I both acknowledge that I may get many more strangers reading this blog than others might because I'm a writer. So we try to be more careful about discussing certain things. (And that's why we post very few pictures of the kids here; those are locked away in a private Flickr group.)

All that said, of course, I would also like to note that our children are clearly the most adorable children in the universe, objectively speaking. :-)

As to your question: funny you should ask. Would you believe I've defined myself as a "writer" since I was in junior high school? When I was in high school I got myself business cards that said "Writer" on them as soon as I had published my first review (in the July 1985 issue of Computer Entertainment magazine). At our tenth reunion, one of my freshman roommates reminded me that I had passed out that "Writer" card to one and all; he was noting it in the context of my having become an award-winning writer by the time of the reunion, and how well I had predicted part of my own future.

thank you

Beautiful, Michael. Thank you for the perspective, remembrance, and sharing. I remember one year ago, and I remember nineteen years ago. I am enriched by having met your parents, and having been connected via the internets and such) to the births of your children and your literary works.

Thank you for the words.


Re: thank you

Thank you in return. Ghod, what a night that was, nineteen years ago. It occurs to me how difficult it must have been for you as well.

I was thinking of you recently because I read Michael Sandel's book Justice, which led me to think about the other core courses, and on a whim I tracked down Brendan Maher on the Internet. Sadly, he died back in March, too late for me to get in touch with him (although he surely wouldn't remember me). But I did discover that he published a book about his time in the navy during World War II, and I currently have it out from the library. (I plan to post my favorite story about him when I have the chance.)




Edited at 2009-11-02 06:22 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind seeing more twin-updates, but then, it makes me happy to see other people in down the trenches (-:

[reading the interview] I think one thing about becoming a parent they don't really talk about is just how much more some stories (both fiction and in the news) affect you, because it's very hard I think to read about something terrible happening to a child and not think about how much we love and want to protect our own, and that tosses objectivity right out the window.

Around the time my oldest child was born the big show on tv was ER, and I'd already noticed that whenever their ratings were starting to slip a bit they'd have an episode where something horrible happens to children. Before my daughter was born, it was amusing to note; afterward, I stopped watching ER entirely.
Oh, yes. I mentioned Torchwood: Children of Earth in the interview, but any story with a child in jeopardy affects me more.

A friend of mine (whom I shall keep anonymous, just in case) mentioned to me how differently he viewed Ender's Game once his son turned the same age as Ender. When he was a kid, my friend identified a bit with Ender (as many of us did [the ostracized gifted kid]); now he identifies with Ender's parents and thinks about how horribly the military treated him.
but any trips out of the house involve so many logistical details that they have to be considered carefully before implementing. (I sound like a military general.)

No, actually, you sound like the logistician that rides on every general's back.
Personally, I think the logistician has the more interesting job, even considering Alexander the Great's position: "My logisticians are a humorless lot. They know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay".
(Maybe I'm just a supply-chain geek.)
Interestingly, Nomi and I ran Logistics for Boskone for a few years.


Hi Michael,

I also remember 19 years ago, and how very difficult that time was for you. Your mom and dad were incredible people, and I'm certainly glad to have met them both.

I think that in knowing you, your kids can't help but know a lot of important stuff about both your parents. I think a lot of your humor and view of the world was instilled at an early age, and I'm sure you'll pass both on to the twins.

And I've also noticed the inability to watch news or fiction involving kids in danger. That change and crying over really sappy commercials about parents and kids were kind of surprising to me in their emotional intensity. It's getting easier with time to differentiate emotionally between MY kid in danger and hypothetical other kids in danger, but I think that additional empathy is worth keeping.

Re: Remembering

Thank you. I know I'll pass a lot on to the kids, but I still wish that they could have met their grandparents. At least we have photographs and recordings.

I find myself getting emotional as well over a few things. There's a blessing one gives to one's kids every Friday night, and I found myself in tears of joy when blessing the girls for the first time. (I also cried at listening to "Parents are People" from "Free to Be You and Me."
Thank you for this my friend.

And I owe you many *hugs*.
Thank you.


Wow, 19 years. I remember that well (although I was closer to Josh at the time).

(And it will be 19 years for my Mom next year).

I'm glad you took the time to post this. I can imagine how busy you are. :) (Ok, no I can't. Not really. But I imagine that I can imagine it.)

(And not to get all geeky while you're on an important subject, but you know that it's not that it just so happens that the Gregorian & Jewish dates are the same this year, right? The Jewish calendar is on a 19-year cycle which tracks pretty close to the sun, so that it overlaps the Gregorian (which tracks more closely to the sun) every 19 years -- or will until it slips behind, anyway (which it will do eventually (but then I guess it will overlap on the new date for quite a while.)))
Is this who I think it is? SF?

The thing about the overlap, though, is that technically we tend to align 15 Heshvan 5771 with 3 November 1990, and my dad actually died on November 2. So I'm not sure if this year the alignment makes sense, if you know what I mean. (It's the whole confusion that stems from the Hebrew day starting at sundown the night before.)
The 19-year thing is sometimes plus/minus a day, since the Jewish calendar will sometimes add or take away a day in order to make sure that the first day of Rosh Hashana never comes out on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday.
I'm sure your parents would be delighted.

And yeah, I think you'll have no trouble showing by example or finding words for the amazing legacy your parents have bestowed on you and through you on your children.
I lost my dad 14 years ago, He at least met my husband, but didn't get to find out that was what he would be. He'd have just busted out in pride to see our girls - and I know yours would have too.

December 2016

Powered by LiveJournal.com