Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Genesis”

A Meaningful Christmas

I will never forget Band Aid, an initiative of British and Irish (and later US) music artists who came together to form the ultimate supergroup in 1984. Best of all for me, it was founded on the energy of bad boy Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for the Christmas market that year.

Geldof became infamous for swearing on stage whenever the rate of donations began to drop. Phil Collins performed first on stage at the UK concert and then boarded a Concord plane, flew to New York, and played there. Okay, it was cool at the time to an idealistic 20-year-old (and passionate Genesis fan).  

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release. Two subsequent re-recordings of the song to raise further money for charity also topped the charts.

– the live version.

– the recording

Here are all the artists wishing you a Happy New Year – back at you people. It was an amazing moment when people of privilege and fame made a stand. 

The struggle still goes on, the hunger and poverty a shame on humanity. But to return to my Jewish roots: “It is not for us to finish the task, but neither are we free to desist from it.

Happy Holidays to all humanity.

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of GalbriethThe First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+

Circumcision brings a family together

By now you have probably read about the attempt to ban circumcision by putting a motion on the ballot during the November SF municipal elections. While many in the Jewish community are up in arms about this, I can’t say it has caught my imagination. For disclosure’s sake, my sons and I all went through this rite-of-passage at eight days of age (not sure my eldest is too happy with me broadcasting this).

Circumcision in Jerusalem

Circumcision was first done when Abraham showed his commitment to God’s calling by keeping his part of a covenant (Genesis Chap. 12) and circumcising himself (at the age of 75-80 if I remember correctly). God, for his/her part, promised that Abraham’s seed would flourish and live on the land of Canaan.

Abraham then had two sons (one with his wife, Sarah, and the other with her maid, Hagar). The descendants of the two sons became the Jewish and Arab nations. Both peoples circumcise their boys, see Abraham as their patriarch, and lay claim to Canaan (now Israel, Palestine and Jordan).

As you may have heard, there has been some contention between the children of Abraham – but then which family doesn’t have its troubles?

However, it seems that this assault on circumcision is bringing our peoples together. With both Muslims and Jews feeling attacked, we are apparently teaming up to take a united stand. Both religions see family as one of their highest values. Whatever it takes to bring the family together, huh?

Attacks on Jewish and Muslim traditions are an opportunity to bring us together

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

A Corner That’s My Own

It is not easy finding a space to write as I share a small house with three other people who, rightfully, vie for a fair potion of my attention. Sure, I can go out to a café and I do, but when I am away for work or book promotion for so many hours of the week, sometimes I want to sit in my own house, and drink coffee out of my own mug.

Last week I took advantage of an Office Depot sale and bought a real desk. It is compact, but sits nicely in the kitchen looking outside to a concrete cube of a garden that my wife has softened up with plants and wind chimes.

Stephen King wrote Carrie in the laundry room, a typewriter (yes I wrote that correctly) on his lap. So who am I to complain? I’m not. I am actually sitting at the desk now, Detox AM tea in a cup, Genesis blasting from my woofer (also from Office Depot – 10 bucks, but hey Genesis always sound good). The family has given me an hour to sit here and the sun is reflecting off the metallic green and red wind chime.

But a place of your own to write is important. It is sacred space with a boundary defined by your craft of writing. It needs to exist: it demands respect.

Now I know you can find this sacred space anywhere because the key component is within. Starbucks and headphones can do it. I have written some solid passages in a busy airport lounge or on the BART train during rush hour.

But I do think we need that space somewhere, defined. It is part of our character as a writer: it really doesn’t need much. Above my head are my writing books. To their left is a small magnetic notice board with my writing goals for the month and some inspiration. Photos of the family are displayed, not staid portraits, rather scenes that make me smile. There is a modest, comfortable chair to sit on and I am ready to go.

Now, to quote the Genesis song: It’s time to Turn It On Again.

Good Writing,
Alon
http://www.alonshalev.com/

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: