Tel Aviv Diary May 8-12, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary --May 8-12, 2018 Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 8, 2018

i was thinking of what i was going to say

Sorry, i got screwed up with times and dates.

They're opening the public shelters up north, waiting for Iran to drop something on us. At the evening in honor of the translations of the poetry of Anna Margolin the host kept checking the news. surreptitiously, and with no interruption to the program, but with the knowledge of the possibility of imminent disaster. Does any one know we live this way?

I read two poems in yiddish and hebrew and got to talk a bit about some of the amazing things i discovered about her - like the way she uses international puns and secret references. it's so amazing to be able to reference different languages and know people won't really get them, to make up words and phrases like 'evening red' that may be overlooked and seen as 'evening bread.'

And as I wrote these words the evening over Damascus turned red - as israeli fighter jets attacked iranic military sites there.

May 9, 2018

hard to get too nervous about day-to-day life when there is the threat of rockets. i spent the day writing letters of recommendation for students with no other worries than whether i've represented them properly. Almost a normal life. even though i know Trump pulled out of the Iran deal and who knows how they will react. even though the public shelters in the golan have been opened and 'patriots' have been moved up there.

oh, and since you asked about our water damage - the insurance company told us to wait until the walls and ceiling dried. we waited. they dried. we called to see when they'd be coming to fix it all up. oh, yes, they said. we'll come by next week to take a look. no problem.

May 10, 2018

At the British Ambassador's home tonight, the representatives of the 100 recipients chosen for their contribution to Israeli society spoke of the responsibility to contribute, to help to make society just a bit better. I couldn't believe I was one of these magnificent people, one of those who has made a difference in society. I really couldn't. To be part of a group that includes Abba Eban, Alice Shalvi, Chaim Herzog... wow... with all my little kvetches and complaints. It is especially strange because I was going to try to talk to the ambassador about hosting a reading of the Israel Association of Writers in English. I was planning on it, because my friend Rachel has been encouraging me to build up the organization again because it is important to the country. So I arranged with the Hebrew writers to have our annual meeting at their place and talk about a cooperation. I shared this idea with a few of the members who responded with such willingness to leave me to it that I lost the energy to push. There are so many writers I don't know but I don't know how to bring them together to work for their mutual benefit. I really would like to help encourage writers in this country but I've failed so many times I'm clearly not the leader. So instead of talking to people at the reception I had some sushi and we went home.

Maybe tomorrow I'll think of some other way.

May 11-12, 2018

Alicia Ostriker spent the day with us yesterday and I forgot to check my email much less write up the events. We even had a party for her last night but almost all the hebrew poets wrote me that their lives got hectic and they wouldn't be able to make it. i only invited a few because i thought she would be overwhelmed. But it was a nice party anyway and i hope to see her Monday night at her reading at Bar Ilan. The problem is that Bar Ilan is hard to go to and impossible to park.

After a pretty amazing exhibit at Amy's place in Bat Shlomo we went to eat at the place with the view at Ein Hud. It was a circular winding route past the famous restaurant there and the restaurant wasn't all that great, but I'm beginning to think I've lost my sense of taste. It seems like a long time since I've been happy about eating out. I miss Sahara restaurant near Afula that closed down last year. I miss Pappa's.

Never mind. Dan Shor's cashew cheeses were great at the party last night, and we'll find somewhere better sometime soon.

I would have said more about the exhibit today but we went to the Poalim Bank's annual art exhibit in the evening and it killed my feet. Before that we visited Natasha Shaknes at the exhibit she opened at the Henrietta Cafe on Arlozoroff Street. It was small and focussed. Details with single subjects. I actually liked it. The bank had 5 floors of paintings and photographs all mixed together. We were amazed by the variety and the quantity but found it difficult to pick out what we liked. it was all mixed together in my mind. Too much art is not art - it needs to be isolated, digested.

to diary

write me