Friday, October 29, 2010

The Future of Adventuring

Hey Friends,

I've set up a time in my regular schedule for writing and editing Yotam ADVENTURES, and I'm hoping that means I'll be giving you fortnightly updates on my doings and derrings-do. I didn't use my time wisely this week, so I don't really have anything publishable in my many piles of note-scrap, but from now on you'll be able to see something new up here every other Friday. I wish I had the freedom and fortitude to publish weekly, but I'm sure you'd get bored of me at that pace, anyway.

I've avoided writing about writing here, 'cause there can easily be no end to that trip, but I'd like to share a couple thoughts and questions about this blog, now at this moment of its transformation.

I'm not gonna be jumping off any bridges again soon, and I'm not gonna be seeing new places and new people all that often, even. I'm mostly gonna stay put here in Jerusalem, running through the same schedule of classes and activities week after week. I've still got a nice big backlog of Ameriventures to write about, and there's always plenty to say about Israel, Talmud, Theology, etc, but the wild and crazy road-trip element is probably gonna be missing from here on out. I'm a little sad to see it go, and I hope I can still keep you interested without it.

A lot of the fun of this blog, for me, has been the experiment in honesty. Can I tell the truth, here on the internet, about my struggles and aspirations and failures? Can I really face myself in public, with the horrible risk of rejection afforded there? Can I show my parents and siblings and friends what I'm really about, and keep on going with it?

I think I've answered that with a Yes, more or less, in the six months that I've been doing this project. Honesty is less and less scary lately, and the challenge instead is becoming one of clarity. Can I see my life clearly enough to write coherently about my experiences? Not the daily litany of events, but can I see the pattern in the process that makes it worthwhile for me? I guess I don't know yet, and this chapter of living and writing is gonna have to explore that a little. I'm gonna be learning a lot of big stuff this year, and I'm gonna be experimenting a lot in my practical theology, and I hope I can synthesize my education in 1500 word doses for other people to also appreciate. If I don't write that into my schedule, like I talked about last time, it'll never, never happen.

So I'm doing this for my sake, for the practice in writing and the push to reflect on things, but I want to make sure it's for my readers' sake, too. So my question for you is, what brings you back here once in a while? What can I do to make this better for you, in what I write about and how I write it? What questions can I ask myself, as I'm sitting down to write here fortnightly, to prompt a message you'll be interested in reading?

If you're willing, please answer in the comments section, so that other people can see and respond and we can get a conversation going. The more I feel like you're invested, just a little even, in reading something interesting here twice a month, the easier it'll be for me to make sure that can happen.

Thanks a lot for your help, and your attention, and your affection and support and curiosity, and I'll look forward to seeing what you guys think about this.

Yours, as often as possible,



  1. Hi Yotam,

    I come to your blog frequently, and I'm a little embarrassed to say it, because it feels a bit like spying on your life. I'm writing anyway, because you asked us to, and because it's a way of supporting you and might encourage others to add their comments- and it sounds like that's something that would be useful to you.

    I started reading because of the connection I feel with you, and because you are very clearly on an important life journey. It is very interesting to read about how that is going for you, and I feel lucky that you give me a window into your story in a very personal way.

    What brings me back is that I'm interested to read about what happens in your life, and how you think and feel about what happens, inside and out. Love, Andy

  2. I started reading your blog mostly to see what kind of crazy things my (second) cousin who I don't get to see very much but remember getting into trouble on the tractor in Oregon is up to. As I read though, I remembered the Yotam who had really profound things to say at Nana's dinner table. This is a really cool side of you to see, and I really relate to a lot of what you say.

    I feel like there are similarities to our 2010 journeys, both external and internal. I especially enjoyed reading about Tzfat, the Breslav schul (though that women's section was actually easier for me to stomach than many in Tzfat). It was like reading the journal I was too lazy to keep and didn't really have the words to articulate. It makes missing my travels a little easier to live vicariously through you.

    Your approach to Judaism really resonates with me, and I'd love to learn with you. We are both really busy, though, so I hope I can keep learning from what you write here. I'm excited to hear Yotam's take on the world.

  3. I like reading this blog for a number of reasons. The first draw, was of course, the fact that you were writing it, and I easily determined that a person with whom I have such meaningful conversations would have an equally meaningful blog.

    Second, I like writing and reading a lot, and from doing both, I know that the activities hold a great opportunity for creating a depth to thought and to self-awareness not always available to us when chasing our own thoughts from moment to moment, or in the rapid, sometimes disconnected and often abridged process of carrying on a live conversation.

    Third, quite honestly, I like the genres of "the road" and "the quest," and your adventures, even when you are stationary as you are now, resonate a lot with that orientation towards building a narrative.

    Finally, I appreciate the honesty. I have often struggled with how to communicate honestly. Sometimes I miscalculate, and my honesty creates fallout in my work, or in my private life. Sometimes I miscalculate and don't bring enough of my truth to a relationship or conversation, which often results in feeling disingenuous or regretful. Recently, as I've listened more carefully to my own internal monologue, I'm recognizing that there is a lot there that I subdue, disbelieve, or label too "weird" to express outwardly. So when my own inner weirdness is let out of the box, it often lands on others' ears as rough, eccentric, quirky, or amusing. But with practice, and with craft, perhaps through writing, I can find ways to smooth the edges of my truth and let it mingle with the collective conscious and unconscious minds of others who are listening for it. Others who are taking risks, listening carefully, examining the facts and fictions of their narratives of self and bringing them to the light of consciousness.

    You are already doing that. Which is why I am a fan and a follower and a regular reader. YAY!!!

  4. I enjoy your blog because I am enjoying getting to know you. I think that you like me may sometimes find it easier to be articulate in writing than in person, and I am glad to be able to see through that window into your beautiful soul. And while you are not having wild external adventures, the internal adventures are at least as important. When we hang out together our differences come across. When we share our writing, our similarities are what shine through.