* How does it affect your happiness level, whether you are living in the US or Israel?
For me, living in the U.S. is physically easier, and having reached adulthood here, I have a much better understanding of how things work and how people function. At the same time, living in the U.S. can feel like wussing out. When I was living in Israel, I felt that I mattered more even though I wasn’t really doing anything differently–maybe it’s the difference between being one in seven million and one in 300 million. It was also nice being part of the majority, being able to take that for granted. I guess the thing I learned, though, is that ideology is nice, but day-to-day happiness hs a lot to do with the connections you make with others, and in that respect, I do much better in the U.S.
* How did it affect your happiness level publishing your first book?
On the one hand, of course it made me happy. On the other, it was nerve-wracking: what would people think? What if no one reads it? What if it just disappears right back into the ether?
* When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. And today I’m both. I also wanted to be friends with Michael Jackson, but that didn’t work out, which is probably for the best.
* What were the most interesting reactions you’ve received to your book?
Some people wanted to know if the woman on the cover is me. I wish.
* What do you love and hate about teaching?
I love thinking about how stories are made, and watching writers grow and develop. I hate everything to do with grading, though. I had a writing professor in Israel who assigned grades via lottery; at the beginning of each semester, he’d tell students, "You’re going to get somewhere between an 88 and 92 whether or not you show to class," and then the people who weren’t interested wouldn’t show, and the ones left would be the ones who actually wanted to work. I wish I had the nerve to be that kind of teacher.
* What did your MFA do for you?
It gave me time to write and deadlines for finishing work. And what was especially nice about the MFA at Indiana was that the students seemed to be selected with diversity of writing styles and experience in mind, and so I learned a tremendous amount from my peers.
* What do you love and hate about talking about your book, being interviewed, doing readings etc?
My big worry is being revealed as a fake–that someone will declare, "This is pure crap, and I don’t know why anyone published it." Or that people will get up in the middle and leave.
What I love: when you’re giving a reading and the audience laughs in all the right places, and you really feel that you’ve made a connection with them.
* Are you now friends with any of your blogger crushes?
I tend to lurk on blogs rather than comment, so I’m not sure how my blogger crushes would find me. A couple of my author crushes are Facebook friends with me, however, so I can pretend there’s a relationship there even if there really isn’t.
* How do you like blogging?
I love it. It’s like a diary with feedback, except, you know, when there’s no feedback.
* Did your husband convert to judaism and if not, do Jews give you a hard time, do you give yourself a hard time?
He didn’t convert to Judaism, although we plan to raise our children Jewish. No one really gives us a hard time about it; apparently the key here is to wait so long to get married that your parents are simply relieved that someone wants you. As for me, I worry more about what it means to have American kids–that there will be a whole chunk of experience that comes from having been a child in Israel that I simply can’t share with them.
* How come there are no comments on any of your jewcy posts?
* How has being a wife and mother affected your writing?
Well, I try out my writing on my husband, so that’s nice. But being a mom with young children and also working full time translates into very little time to write.
* Has your husband lived in israel and/or how do you think he’d like living there?
He hasn’t lived there, and I can’t imagine that he’d like it longterm. There’s the language barrier, of course, but there are also all those behavioral nuances. I knew I was finally adjusting to living in Israel when I could shout with the best of them and not get upset. And my husband is from Minnesota and much nicer than I’ve ever been.
* Is it true Israelis are leery of befriending Americans who make aliyot because they expect them to go home to the US?
I don’t know if it’s true, and even if it is, I wonder whether Israelis would be conscious of this, and whether more of this has to do with cultural differences, like not laughing at the same things. When I was in Israel, it did seem as if English speakers stuck with English speakers except for when it came to dating, but again, that’s just my experience.