#52snapshots–Week 8

In the generative memoir writing group I’ve been with since August, I found myself inspired by the prompt I gave, pulled from Sonja Livingston’s 52 Snapshots, about what’s lost and what’s found. I thought about Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” and the line: “Losing isn’t hard to master.” In my case, and especially with genealogical objects, that’s proved to be true. And I’ve adhered to Bishop’s missive to lose faster. In this snapshot, I wrote about my great-grandmother Pesia’s ring that I found in a cigar box in my parent’s house–and that I lost it. I wrote about a knotted sock I found in my father’s armoire and how those contents, including the photo pin below (about the size of a quarter) have perplexed me since 1991 when I found it.

I’ve been trying to discern whether this is a family member, and if so, whose side of the family? Could it be my paternal grandfather’s sister Malka? Or could it be my father’s mother’s mother, Pesia Seife Zuckerkandel?

This Week

This week I’m writing about sisters: my grandmother, Rose Entel Perlman and her older sister, Sarah/Sheyna Entel Bayewitch. I may weave in my mother, Lillian Perlman Krasner and her older sister, Bella Perlman Jacobowitz.

Other Work in Progress

I am still revising my “boys go off to war.” Stars & Stripes, at least what I could access online, wasn’t much help. My “snapshot” about my great-grandfather and the Baron Hirsch School was just rejected. I’ll have to find more possibilities for that one.

I’m hoping these snapshot “field notes” inspire someone out there.

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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2 Responses to #52snapshots–Week 8

  1. Steve Pollack says:

    Barb, your questions give you the powerful tool of writers.

    Keats coined the term “negative capability” in a letter he wrote to his brothers. Inspired by Shakespeare’s work, he describes it as “being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”

    Negative here is not pejorative. Instead, it implies the ability to resist explaining away what we do not understand. Keats advises resting in doubt and continuing to pay attention and probe in order to understand it more completely. Take the time to look at matters from multiple perspectives. Shakespeare’s comedies are full of mistaken identities and misconceptions, including mixed-up genders. Keats reminds us that we are likely to gain new insights if we stop assuming that we know everything we need to know about people by neatly shoehorning them into preconceived boxes.

    Negative capability also testifies to the importance of humility, which Keats described as a “capability of submission.” Those willing to question their own assumptions and adopt new perspectives are in the best position to arrive at new insights. He believed that the world could never be fully understood. In his view, pride and arrogance must be avoided.

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