Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Favorite Sort of Acting

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Women Who Play Gay in Movies

We saw a remarkable movie last night, "HaSodot"/"The Secrets." Neither of the leading ladies were lesbian nor religious in real life, and yet during the film, I really believed their story; they met in an Orthodox Jewish women's seminary in Safed, Israel.

Their attraction to each other felt genuine and so did their engagement in Jewish texts. It was disappointing and impressive at once to see the DVD interviews with the actors because they were very apparently heterosexual and secular, rather than sapphic and religious.

Nobel-prize winner, Isaac Bashevis Singer, would have been proud. He might have written this story, if he were still alive and writing in 2008.

Flashing Back

Watching it reminded me of being 20 and studying Chumash/Bible with, let's call her Shoshannah when I lived in Jerusalem for my junior year of college; I needed remedial help, as we were studying in Hebrew with renowned Bible scholar Nechama Leibowitz, and it was beyond me...but perfectly comfortable for Shoshannah; she was Orthodox and had gone to a yeshivah/Orthodox school through 12th grade, and was in Jerusalem for the year while one of her parents was on sabbatical.

Shoshannah was 17 and guilelessly magnetic. She was the smartest person I met while in Jerusalem that year, with smooth, olive skin and contrasting blue eyes. I earned a poor grade in the class ultimately, but had a stimulating time, doing so.

If she hadn't been Orthodox, and I had been more courageous about my sexual identity back then, and she had been receptive -- lots of "if's," I know -- I would have fallen deeply in love with her, I think, rather than just a bit. After the year was done, we corresponded a few times -- this was pre-e-mail -- and her letters were all about the boyfriend she now had back in the States.

It Feels Good to Be Back

Last week, I was talking to someone who had been an active performance artist and was less so now. She agreed sheepishly when I asked, "So you're a performance artist?"

"Well, yes, but I used to do it more often."

"Neat! You know, I like to think of myself as a writer, but I'm not comfortable saying so aloud typically, and I've found it much easier to say, 'I'm a blogger.' But it's been too long since I've blogged and so now, I feel sheepish about calling myself that, too."

"Everyone needs a hiatus," she replied generously. And as much as that was perhaps just a polite statement on her part, at that moment, it filled me with hope.

Yes! That's where I've been -- on hiatus! This blog is my friend. For years now, I have used it to think aloud and when I am not using it, I feel like my thinking is stoppered and like I might not even be thinking as much, which makes me feel sad and frustrated.

At the moment, I feel happy and nearly sated -- the opposite. "HaSodot"/"The Secrets" opened my writing bottle once more.

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