“Damn you, Alle C. Hall. Damn you!”

In Novmber of 2002, I interviewed Leonard Nimoy for his book, Shekina.

How I Got That Story

Book Review Rule #1: Keep your ears open. Always.

I was working in a Jewish bookstore when a massive controversy 86’d Leonard Nimoy’s big speaking event. Such a scandal!

Rule #2: Know who’d want to publish that story.

I was on the phone to The Stranger like a hobo on a ham sandwich. Looking back, I should have tried The New York TImes first. The story went international, ultimately to be parodied on Saturday Night Live. I knew a freelancer at The Times who covered Jewish-y/city-y stuff. However, I had never written for The Times, and I had, regularly, for The Stranger. Bird in the hand vs. bigger publication? A question we will address at the upcoming workshop.

Rule #3: Know your subject.

I had years of experience with the concept of the Shekina. I knew its importance to the various slices of Jewish culture, and I knew what it meant to me.

Rule #4: Be prepared to be inspired.

I call this the “Who knew?” principle. Jews usually define Shekina as the female essence of God. During my research, however, I learned that Shekina translates literally from Hebrew as “Divine Presence.”  The Shekina of Jews was given its female essence by ancient Kabbalists (who pre-dated Madonna by centuries.)

None of the above factored into the published piece, or even into my pitch. So what? I loved learning it. It was fun talking to Leonard Nimoy, too, if you go for that sort of thing.

Rule #5: Hit your deadline and your word count.

You can ask Josie Davis over at PLOP! how I butchered Rule #5 in my recent piece on Madonna. Fortunately for me, she still wants me to review for her.

Rule #6: Write the review that the book deserves, even if it is a negative review; even if it’s about Leonard Nimoy.

Read my final piece, and see if you can tell which part Nimoy objected to. My criticisms were well-supported and the piece well-balanced. I didn’t intend to take pot-shots, but I wasn’t afraid to do my job: critique.

Rule #7: Publicize your publication.

My upcoming workshop at Richard Hugo House will cover this essential area in depth. I might slap up a post about it, if comments demonstrate the interest. HINT HINT.

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