I go through phases where 90% of what I post on here is original content. And then I go through phases where 70% of what I post is duplicate content from other sites that I cut and paste from and link to.
Much of this depends on my mood. I know that I often make a lot of strange posts and then I feel like I don’t want my strange posts to be the first thing that people see when they come on my site, so I go look for some stories to feature and I excerpt from them.
My favorite sources are DennisPrager.com, TorahMusings.com, FrumSatire.net and JewishPress.com.
Over the past 15 months, when my Alexander Technique teacher training has been in session, I’ve been too tired to blog much beyond my narrow obsession with Dennis Prager.
I made a commitment to myself in December 1997 to chronicle Prager. Since I first heard him on KABC radio in August 1988, he’s been my favorite thinker. I’ve been a little obsessed with hearing everything he has to say. I then like to write about it. I don’t feel like I’ve really got it until I blog it.
There are a lot of other people I could’ve chosen to chronicle. I selected Prager. I only have limited energy and time, so on many days, he’s about the only thing I write about. I’m OK with that. Much of the time, I find him consistently more interesting than any other thinker. And much of the time I feel like he is just recycling through things I’ve already heard a thousand times.
Still, I’ve made a commitment. Unless I commit to a project through thick and thin, it is rare that I accomplish anything. So I throw in my lot and soldier on in the things I am committed to — Judaism, writing, Alexander Technique, family, friends, Dennis Prager.
I do have an authentic self. I like to act out a lot but I do have a core. It is usually centered between conflicting impulses. For instance, I’ve spent most of my life in a traditional religious community (Seventh-Day Adventist in my childhood, Orthodox Judaism in my adulthood), but always felt a tug towards freedom and away from complete integration. I am willing to give up some community for some freedom and I am willing to give up some freedom for some community. If I abandoned my freedom completely to absorb myself within a Torah community, I would not be authentic to who I am. If I abandoned Judaism to do what I like, I would not be authentic to who I am.
I’ve always been willing to keep silent at times to preserve friendships but I am never willing long to stifle myself to preserve them. During my first three years in Los Angeles, I stifled a little more of myself than I normally like to be part of Dennis Prager’s world and to feel some sense of family and community at Stephen S. Wise’s Mountaintop Minyan. Then I had enough of my self-containment and took to the web to write my mind and suffered the inevitable exclusion that comes from failing to conform to expected norms.
When I wrote on specific genres of the entertainment industry, I was the same person as I am now writing on specific genres of Judaism. I love a good story and I am willing to follow one wherever it takes.
Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to devote myself to writing. Along the way, I felt fine that there were years when I did not write much so I could pay my bills and pursue other interests. Whether I was in construction or acting, I felt like the time would deepen my writing.
I love being in an intimate relationship with a woman, but there always comes a time when it seems like I have to choose between the relationship and my integrity. If I am not willing to risk the relationship to be true to my values, the relationship will inevitably deteriorate as I squash myself.