Last week I heard back from the National Archives through my Freedom of Information Act request: no documentation available about the detention of my great-grandparents Krasner at Ellis Island in May 1901. I did not write anything new or revise any #52snapshot essays. That will likely have to wait until the fall semester gets underway.
What I have been working on is my doctoral dissertation, a slow and painful process.
I have two Amherst Writers & Authors sessions this week. I’ll just follow the prompts and see what emerges. I’ve been writing poems for my new novel-in-verse’s book proposal, which my editor wants to see in September. More about that forthcoming in this week’s Mid-Week Fieldnotes.
Last week I did some generative writing about the clothes I made during high school and after college. I started making field notes in Evernote to capture sewing-related word lists and a list of all the outfits I could remember.
I sent out my Avram Mendel essay to one publication. It looks like many literary journals will open up for submissions on September 1, so I’m going to hold off on sending out this essay and the one about Esther Toby until then.
Last week I also took my rough draft essay about my paternal great-grandfather, Morduch Krasner, through Throughlines. I found some hiding spots where I could delve more deeply, including how he, my great-grandmother Bryna, and great-aunt Bessie were held overnight for special inquiry because they arrived with no money. I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Archives for any documentation about this. I received awesome help from the Tracing the Tribe facebook group. Another hiding spot is the “pillbox” yarmulka he wore in the 1912 family portrait taken in Newark, New Jersey. Does anyone know more about this style of yarmulka?
Photo courtesy of Pam Weitzel
I only have one, maybe two, Amherst Writers & Authors sessions this week. I’ll just follow the prompts and see what emerges.
Last week I took my rough draft essay about my mother’s maternal grandmother, Esther Toby, through the revision process. I was able to do some additional writing to deepen the piece.
I’d like to turn my attention to a piece of writing I started last week with a Hummingbird prompt. It’s about all the clothes I made when I was in high school through my first professional years after college. I was quite the designer! Gowns, bathing suits, feet pajamas, suits, dress shirts for men. My high school guidance counselor wanted me to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan. I didn’t think I was creative enough. I never applied. But I wonder what might have happened if I had.
I have four, maybe five, planned Amherst Writers & Authors sessions this week. Plenty of time to develop this piece, any new writing about Esther Toby, and begin something new. I also want to begin to send out my piece about my maternal grandfather, Avram Mendel. And, as time permits, I want to restructure my Esther Toby essay and get it ready to send out next week perhaps.
And FYI, Emily Stoddard of Voice and Vessel is offering Throughlines, a two-week workshop about revision, again this month.
I am going to be focusing on revising some of my essays for the next few weeks instead of creating new material. The seven-day revision program, designed and delivered by Emily Stoddard (of Voice and Vessel), an Amherst Writers & Authors facilitator, will require me to do some freewriting to fill in gaps. Time for that will be limited. I have to start prepping my courses for the fall, developing syllabi and loading up courses in a variety of learning management systems.
At least, though, I completed revisions to my essay about Avram Mendel Pryzant. It goes to my critique partner this week. Then I have to figure out where to send it.
While I’m attending the virtual International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference this week, something I haven’t engaged with since 2005, I hope to get new insights into DNA research and maybe some ideas for new essays. I am now a co-leader for two maternal ancestral towns in Poland for Jewish Records Indexing – Poland. Years back, I was a member of the Board of Directors.
True to my word, I did write about Morduch Krasner, my great-grandfather. It was an interesting journey through his documentation. There’s a family through Ancestry.com that insists is related to him through a sister, but I have no DNA connection to their cousins, and it just all sounds too good to be true. I insisted on evidence before I accept this sister, especially since her children were born in Ukraine and Morduch lived in Belarus.
I have engaged in a seven-day revision program designed and delivered by Emily Stoddard (of Voice and Vessel), an Amherst Writers & Authors facilitator. I am using my #52snapshot of my maternal grandfather, Avram Mendel Pryzant (aka Max Perlman). In just three days of her “Throughlines” program, I have learned so much about this piece and what it wants to say. Once completed, I’ll apply the same practice to other draft essays.