Stepping Off Into a Dream: Rebranding, and a New Direction

I am writing this—at least part of this—while flying 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean (and possibly part while over Europe.) As today is the start of a new chapter of my life, with me moving to Israel, and I recently chose to pursue a different route to a career as a writer, I felt that this would be the time for a new beginning for this website/blog as well.

While all three of these major changes deserve separate attention and their own posts—multiple posts—for now I am going to focus on the most noticeable and singularly significant change, my big cross-world move.

But first, a brief word (words, really) about my new direction regarding publishing and this website. In brief, I have come to the decision, after doing research, gauging the state of the sci-fi/fantasy publishing world, and talking with some other authors, that self publishing is a more viable direction for me to take in my pursuit of being able to support myself now and a family in the future solely through my writing. I will go more into depth about precisely what led me to this decision in future posts, but for now I just did not want to say “I’m changing direction” and not give any details.

Second brief thing, regarding this website. I know I’ve been very bad at posting regularly, though my average site traffic seems to be up regardless (go figure), which is why I am hoping (the key word) to start being much more regular. No guarantees yet, though within the next few weeks I’ll know how my time will break down and I’ll be able to make a commitment to a reasonable course. As far as what I will be posting, some will be the same: A still have one more Mythica film to review for now, and I still plan to do the occasional book review, though only on occasion, and only those books that I particularly want to discuss or I have a compelling reason to review. Beyond that, however, I hope to make this a more personal space, where I’ll talk about my publishing journey, writing (both technical aspects and the more philosophical ones), and I may also expand that to discussing publishing world events as well as other geeky things that I enjoy that are not directly publishing related. And who knows, maybe I’ll add something else to that—though I plan to try and avoid politics, at least whenever possible, as I believe that one’s politics should not matter when discussing writing or other media, unless the politics are an integral part of the work. Also expect this site’s design to change somewhat, become…more interesting to look at and navigate. Basically, instead of this just being a place where I post things, it’ll become a place to get insight into what makes me tick, mostly from a writing perspective.

But for now, to the main topic.

Stepping into a dream, the title of this post, is spiritually what I did (now a week ago, though I did truly begin writing this while on the plane) by moving from the comfortable, familiar Queens, New York, to the State of Israel. This is by no means simply my dream (and to be honest, I feel a bit silly referring to it as such sometimes, as I’m not the type of person to stare wistfully off into the distance, dreaming about something like this, nor am I the type of person who gets extremely excited easily). I arrived on a flight with 233 other people making a similar move as me, transplanting themselves from North America to the one and only Jewish state in the world. And going even further, this has been the dream of millions of Jews over the last 2,000 or so years, ever since nearly all of us were exiled from our homeland—yes, our homeland, and no one else’s. (I also embarked on this trip on my Hebrew birthday, so even a “rebirth” metaphor is not out of the question) In a sense this is almost an obligation for me in addition to being something I have desired, for both religious and psychological reasons. And while it’s far easier to make the move now that it ever has been in history, it is still something that is not without challenges. Let’s list some.

The most obvious is that I have left the close-knit community in which I have lived for my entire life so far, leaving behind my lifelong shul (synagogue), my few close friends, and, of course, all of my family. I am not a person who likes change, as evidenced by my having lived in the same house my whole life, and never being too inclined to do any major traveling or anything like that. And even though communication is relatively easy, between international phone calling, whatsapp, email, and all of the online communication tools, it will be very different not being in the same place as them (and our 3 cats). It was quite fitting, actually, that one of the films I watched on the flight was Zootopia (also known as Zootropolis), which features scenes of the main character leaving her place or origin and family as she pursued a dream. It’s a Jewish concept that there are no true coincidences, only things that appear as such, and this may be another example of that.

Next, I am also giving up on a number of comforts and freedoms. In New York City, pretty much anything I wanted to do was a stone’s throw away, be that seeing a movie, taking Krav Maga lessons, Ninja Warrior classes, friends with whom to play Magic: The Gathering regularly, as well as any type of kosher food I desired. True, in Israel I can also watch movies, find food I like, and find a Krav Maga school, the accessibility of all of that will vary depending on where I end up living, and some of those things may well prove even harder to find an accessible replacement for (to the point where I’m actually toying with the idea of opening a parkour/ninja warrior gym as a day job just so I’d have a place to train at.) But even small things you don’t always think about, like specific brands of food that we grow very accustomed to are hard or impossible to find here.

The freedoms I give up are possibly even more stark. While Israel is a proudly democratic country, from a purely organization and legal standpoint it lags far behind the United States in many areas, in part because of Israel’s security situation, and in part because of its governmental style. For one, there is no Second Amendment equivalent like there is in the US. Almost everyone you see carrying a gun around is an active duty soldier on leave. The gun laws are as strict, possibly more so, then even in NYC, and beyond that, recreational shooting ranges are practically nonexistent here, at least in the form that I’m used to. This may not be a big deal for some, but as someone who both enjoys recreational shooting and believes that people should have the right to own them, this is a sacrifice for me. This is in a way symptomatic of the larger problem with Israel’s system, which is the state being so much the center and holding too much authority and imposing many regulations which, frankly, go well overboard—a holdover from the state’s much more socialist beginnings.

So why did I move here, then? Well, if I were to boil it down to one central reason, it comes back to that dream. This is the homeland of my people, and we belong here, not in New York, Los Angeles, London, or anywhere else. In addition to the religious reason, there is of course ideology. I have always been a very strong supporter of Israel, vocal at times about events taking place there, and generally very up to date on what’s happening. So it was about time I put my body where my mind was, as it were. And there is also the fact that I want to volunteer in the army here, and I have nearly reached the age where I’d be too old to do so. And, of course, there is much to love about this country, too many things to list here. But all that really matters is that this is where I belong, where, in my opinion, all Jews belong.

There is another old saying, Meshane Makom Meshane Mazal (Change Your Place, Change Your Luck [with luck being interchangeable in this case with destiny or fortune]), one which I haven’t though much about in my life, as I’ve always been in the same place. Now, however, as I conspicuously change my place as well as change the direction I will take toward realizing my career aspirations, it seems quite fitting. As I stepped off that airplane in Ben-Gurion Airport I realized one dream. Is it unreasonable to hope that in stepping in a new direction regarding publishing, I will realize my career dreams as well?  Only time will tell, of course, and there will be plenty of work involved, both in regard to getting my career to where I want it and building a place for myself in Israel, but that’s the beauty of a new beginning: There’s the whole rest of the story ahead of you.

So, as I finally complete this post, written at this point over the span on nine days, I will get back to both working on my next book, which is coming along quite nicely, and to preparing to travel in two days to where I’ll be staying for the next five months. It will certainly be fascinating, hopefully enjoyable journey, and I hope you will accompany me along it as I endeavor to ensure that I arrive at the goals I have plotted out for myself.

Until next time, which I really hope will not be long from now, keep reading, keep writing, and keep your eye on this website as it too changes–and as (hopefully) regular new content arrives.

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