Successful Women of Israel

stories featuring Israel's successful women

Month: June 2014

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

                                                                (Lewis Carrol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

The truth is I don’t know. And neither does the Mad Hatter (who poses the question).

In this post, I want to explore connections; the connections our minds make between two seemingly unrelated objects. For Lewis Carrol, in this example, it’s a raven and a writing desk.

As writers, we often take two (or more) unrelated words or ideas and connect them. Say, Iron Age and name drop (two words that I just randomly chose out of a dictionary). And if I attempt to find a connection between them, does it need to be philosophical and/or poetic?

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Reuven Dattner

It’s not often that one gets to meet with a real artist.
I see your scorn.
‘What do you mean by real?’ you’re thinking.
I’ll tell you.
I think an artist, a real artist, is like the classical biblical prophet, who shirks, shuns and shies away from the divine leadership that is being imposed upon him, until he finally understands that he has no choice.
A real artist is not blessed with the ability to exercise free will. He creates because he must.
Reuven Dattner is that kind of artist. That kind of real artist.
He understands that he has no choice. But he hasn’t yet gotten a grip on his gift.
“If I can do it, anybody can,” Reuven says unassumingly.
“Really?” I ask. “Do you have any idea how prolific you are?”
“I come from the business world. In business you produce.”
But art isn’t only about being prolific. It’s about meaning and beauty, understanding and symbolism.
It’s about a keen eye, a sharp mind, and penetrating vision; the ability to see and understand our world and interpret it.
I don’t mean to embarrass Reuven. And I hope that he’ll still speak to me after this piece.
‘Why would you want to write about me?’ I can hear him say ‘there are so many interesting things to write about.’
I want to make others aware of his existence and his art.
I want others to see and understand his amazing ability to create incredible beauty even out of a city like Petach Tikva (and please, no offense to you if that is where you live).
Reuven Dattner is a gem of person. He’s also a profoundly talented artist.
And if he’s still speaking to me, I can probably arrange a meeting with him for you.
It’s well worth your while.

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Pain and Imagination

Once, a long time ago, I was a kid. A kid who couldn’t do math. And I was stupid for it. Stupid because I couldn’t make sense of strings of numbers and what they represented. One of the most destructive pains of my youth may have been because in a certain grade, in a certain school, I wasn’t taught by a math teacher. At the front of that math class stood a Math Monger.
Much has passed since those days in the classroom. I have since learned that so much of our writing comes from within in us and our most bitter experiences. Maybe some of it comes out as a form of revenge.
I don’t remember what time of day I had math. But I remember her icy stare, her mean, demeaning and abashing eyes. I’d sit there in the cold classroom with my math text book before me. The endless equations, long sentences of numbers on the page, shirked my understanding. In the Math Monger’s class, I was the subject of her specific form of numerical torture. Day after day, the creature would banish me to arithmetic hell, killing my confidence on the way.
Had I known I could defeat the Math Monger with the power of words, I may have been able to slice through her heart of numbers and stale unrelenting equations. Perhaps I would have found the powers within me to reduce her to an equation, slam my math book shut and throw it into the flames of arithmetic hell.
All that, is not important anymore. And the only reason I bring the illustration above, is to prove that anything can be overcome and that beauty can be produced when one mixes pain with imagination.
It’s just about the ratios. Oy.

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