Sick Dogs, Airplanes, and Writing

This week has been terribly bittersweet. My birthday party on Saturday was great, so much fun! Then we went to a house party and spent the time taking care of kids waaaaay too drunk for health. But one the kids was really hilarious and actually we had a really fun time messing with him (nothing too terrible). The other was scary too far gone. I’ve been having so much fun teaching my lessons and studying Judaism (more on that in a sec), but then our dog, Foxtrot, got massively sick and had to be hospitallized for two nights. Wednesday was my actual birthday, but nothing but a nod to the day and a bottle of wine shared with Simeon and his parents that night. Of course, dinner and wine with Simeon’s parents is great! But it was overshadowed by Foxtrot’s illness, which even at that point he was still in shaky health.

Foxtrot, our cute Pomeranian, when he is in good health

I packed everything for our trip to England on Wednesday night, not even starting to pack until after midnight, and we needed to wake up early on Thursday so that we had enough time to run our last minute errands and visit Foxtrot at the vet for an update on his condition. Wow, this week has been so stressful.

However, on the plus side, I am extremely excited about my writing! I’ve been battling with writer’s block for a few months now (and minor depression in having to leave Buckingham behind… seriously it always feels like leaving a real man), but now I have new direction. I’ve made my main character a Jew, which just adds so much dimension to my story when you consider that I’ve placed her in early 15th century France, a time in history when actually the Jews were exiled from France, so that in order for her to remain a Jew in France, she would have to hide as a Christian…. Yeah, it’s interesting. On top of that, I’ve actually never really studied Judaism in depth before. I’m having a blast learning the differences in worship and fundamental beliefs between Jews and Christians. I was raised Roman Catholic, and I studied Christianity and Catholicism in particular, so I know enough to be able to spot the major similarities and differences. Question I’m still battling with: How strongly do Jews believe in the Zoastrian principles of good vs evil? I haven’t come across it very much in my studies, though I know that Christians are extremely concerned with the Zoastrian system of belief. Anyone have any direction you can point me in?

So on the airplane today, I studied the Babylonian Talmud and delved into Maimonides, as well as beginning to read through Psalms and the rest of the Pentateuch, from Seattle to Chicago. I also read about the history of tattoos (very relavent to my book) on our phone while waiting for our delayed flight to taxi back in. From Chicago to London, I managed to write about 8,000 words of my book, which amounted to 1 1/2 chapters. Yeah baby! And my mind is racing ahead. I’ve got Chapters 1-4 done and I can’t wait to get to Chapter 5. I may do so tonight, in fact, or at least plot it out. WOOT! Kora has found her inspiration again!!!!

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About korastoynova

With my husband, Simeon Stoynov, I travel the world in pursuit of our dreams, of which we have many. And, thankfully, all of our dreams are within our reach. We have made sure of it. From our lives as competitive ballroom dancers, a life which has taken us around the world and back, to my struggles to becoming an author, to Simeon's love of business, we have learned what it means to sacrifice, to apply ourselves with discipline, and to enjoy the journey to success. Our lives truly are made of the stuff of dreams.
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7 Responses to Sick Dogs, Airplanes, and Writing

  1. Andreth says:

    Judeo-Christianity in general is not Zoroastrian in the least, if you mean by that two somewhat equally weighted existing forces or dieties of good and evil striving against each other for the upper hand. The traditional Christian philosophical belief is very metaphysical (and it was the Jews’ first, I think it fair to say, Christianity is build upon the foundation of the Jews) and is that Good exists, and Evil does not, but is merely the absence of Good, or a privation. Therefore Evil cannot ultimately endure, for it is emptiness, absence, death. Without Good, no Evil could exist, and Evil is it’s own undoing. Maimonides is so cool…I wrote a big philosophy paper assignment on some of his writings because I was so intrigued by one of his theological concepts. And the Psalms are awesome too, but Isaiah is the most poetic of all. I think though in your research you should not think that Jewish and Christian theological concepts are so different…both sprang from the same roots.

  2. korastoynova says:

    “if you mean by that two somewhat equally weighted existing forces or dieties of good and evil striving against each other for the upper hand” – In my experiences, that is exactly what modern and Medieval Christians tend to believe, even if the origin of Judeo-Christian belief is not Zoroastrian. I will never argue that Christian belief is based on Jewish belief… of course it is. There are many similarities, but what I’m most interested in is what is it that a Jew feels in their heart versus a Christian? The Christian experience is one I’m very familiar with, both in my life and in historical fiction. The Jewish experience is completely different. I’m very excited about delving deeper into Maimonides, and thanks, I’ll look deeper into Isaiah as well. Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. Andreth says:

    Well…philosophically there’s a huge difference between Evil having an independent existence from Good (Zoroastrianism/Dualism), and Evil being simply a lack or privation of good. That profoundly affects one’s theology and entire world view; it’s why the dualist idea was rejected and fought against as a heresy at least once during the early days of the Christian Church. A simplistic explanation of Christian theology could leave one an impression of a dualist system, perhaps…but that is so contrary to the years and years of Christian theologians and philosophers’ examination of the beliefs and their rejection of just such a dualism.

    I have not studied Judaism as indepth as Christian theology, but one aspect I feel is very different for the Jews that may be useful to you as you are developing this character is their deep longing and patient waiting for the Messiah, whom they believe has yet to come, even today. There is something unfulfilled that they are waiting for; they are the chosen people waiting for their God to visit them as he has promised…yet the Christians by whom they are surrounded believe he has already come. In this vein too, they are a “people set apart,” abiding by the many rules of the old law so that they can keep themselves separated in a certain sense from the rest of men, set apart for some higher purpose that God has destined for them, preparing them for the Messiah.

    Anyway, this is fun stuff…best of luck with the new project, and good luck publically mentioning anything philosophically inclined without me jumping in with an opinion! But Kora, what do I know, I have a “shot-pigeon-head.” 😉

  4. korastoynova says:

    It is an absolute pleasure to read your comments and discuss them together. I *know* theologically speaking that everything you’re saying is correct. However, theology and common opinion are two very different things, and since none of the characters in my book are theologians, I need to know of the common opinion of the time. In the layperson’s mind, there is a very strong belief that Satan acts independently from God. It is the great contradiction of Christian belief. However, I don’t find this opinion anywhere in Jewish common belief. This really interests me.

  5. korastoynova says:

    By the way, since you seem to have a strong interest in Western theology, do you have any idea where I can find the “60 Names of God” that is spoken of in The Romance of Flamenca?

  6. Maintain up the great work mate. This weblog publish shows how well you realize and know this subject.

  7. Andreth says:

    Hmm…I haven’t read the “Romance” so I am not sure what “60 Names” it is referring to. I should look into this.

    That is a good distinction to draw between theology and common opinion, because I can tell you right now, as an example, common opinion of what the Catholic church teaches is often actually quite far off in many cases from what it actually is, if you actually go to the sources and find out what it really is, or in many cases common explanations for it are way off the mark. People talk, draw their own conclusions, and like gossip it goes on from there. I think I would agree absolutely that both theologically and in common opinion during that period people thought that Satan acted independently of God, if by that you mean of his own free will and not always in reaction to something God does. That’s not what was I taking issue with. What I am saying is that Satan owes his existence and the existence of anything he perverts or does to God ultimately (existence being the key word), so that really all the evil that he is and does is a negation of something God did first…without God he would cease to exist, in effect, as would everything, actually. That is different than both of them having their own independent existences and basically being equals eternally at war.

    Final note, your distiction between theology and common opinion makes a lot more sense today than it did during the time under discussion, since at that time most people midde to upper classes were decently well educated in Christian theology per the teachings of the Church, theologians at the time, and scripture, much, much more so than today. In any case, I still think people generally thought that God and Satan were not equals, as the Church has always taught, and that Satan doesn’t have a chance, for the reasons described above, though even if they didn’t understand it in those terms, I think people still weren’t thinking in dualistic terms (two equals at war), but rather, God vs. the guy whom God made who tries to mess everything up but can’t win in the end because all he can do is mess around with stuff that is already there.

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