Chesler Chronicles

An Old-Fashioned Rainy Day in NYC

We are so used to instant everything: instant food, instant news, that most of us do not know that it used to take anywhere from 12-24 months after an academic paper was accepted before it was actually published. It took a lot longer than that to research and write.

No, I am not a tree-hugger but yes, I still love the look, weight, heft, and smell of books: Old books, brand-new ones too. No, I don’t write long-hand anymore or on a typewriter, I do use a computer but yes, ’tis true, I do not own an ipod, blackberry, or kindle.

Therefore, on this very rainy day, I have been engaged in two very enjoyable projects.

I am doing the final revisions and additions for an academic paper that I’ve written about honor killings in the West which will be published at the end of February, about a year after I began the writing but about five years after I first began the research. And the thinking.

Today is just too good a day to spend on only one project. Thus, I am writing a Torah interpretation (a “dvar Torah”) that I will deliver this coming Sabbath. I love doing this. Time stands still–time flies.

Believe it or not, there is a thematic connection between my paper about honor killing and my Torah portion which is about the rape of Dina (and about much, much else).

I sacrificed several important events (an award to Rachel Ehrenfeld for her extraordinary work on behalf of freedom of speech in America, and a feminist literary reading by Alix Kates Shulman and Anne Roiphe at the National Arts Club) in order to do this work; these were events that I really wanted to attend.

No regrets…and yet, when the “instant” culture is able to clone human beings, I suppose I would not mind being able to be in several places at once.