Fear of Being: A One-Hit Wonder

Once a year, I reflected on my writing life—knowing that reflection strengthens my vision, my resolve, and the left side of my brain or is it the right side.

I wondered, “Where did I get the idea for annual reflection?”

I’ve completed my written analytical exercise for the past six years—charting my career’s ups and downs.

But in the past, I used a measurement of my writer’s footprint.

I watched as my footprint grew from a size 6 to 14.

But this year my footprint vanished.

I had entered “My Blogging Year.”

A year in which, I found my niche; discovered my voice; peppered my dialogue with Yiddish phrases.

A year in which, I determined I’m an Jewish-American blogger (JAB).

A year in which, I attempted to follow in the footsteps of my non-blogging Jewish short story idols.

To my younger readers, in the 20th Century writers blogged by serializing their stories in newspapers.

My idols footsteps were gigantic.

Sholem Aleichem, called the Yiddish Mark Twain, instructed his friends, “After my death, recite yahrtzeit and then read one of  my merry stories.”

“Let my name be recalled with laughter or not at all.”

(Note to self: add this provision to my last will and testament.)

And Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Nobel laureate, whose hand I shook and who I told, “You are my idol.”

Singer was described as self-centered yet having a keen eye for the suffering and tribulations of others. [Wiki]

I suspected I was a JAB for years—having started blogging my tribal stories over 10 years ago—but now I was self-declared.

I followed the old saw, “Write what you know about.”

My career shifted—from a generalist book seller/lecturer/short story writer— to mainly a JAB on Israeli and Jewish-American websites.

In 2019, Times of Israel (TOI)—“The Marketplace of Ideas”— accepted me as one of their bloggers.

Since my acceptance, I have posted 27 blogs.

And lo and behold, one of my TOI stories, “The Last Jew in Vinnitsa” received 3,716 shares.

Yes, you read that right—3,716 shares.

Yes, 3,716 people shared my story with their friends.

(It seemed like only yesterday when my story “Planting Seeds in Your Jewish Heritage Garden” received  52 shares and I was delighted.)

Finally, one of my stories went viral.

This colossal number of shares blew me away.

I never thought I’d reach that level.

Wow! My story had hit mainstream popularity.

I started singing aloud, as if my story had hit the Top 40 record charts:

“But of all G-d’s miracles large and small

the most miraculous one of all

Is that out of a worthless lump of clay

G-d made a writer out of me today”

Apologies to Jerry Block composer of Miracles of Miracles.

As the Last Jew soared into the “shares” biosphere, I reviewed my shares as often as I followed my stocks.

Then a parade of honors marched on the pages of The Times of Israel.

“The Last Jew in Vinnitsa”  made TOI‘s top five blog list.

TOI placed my name on their 15 POPULAR BLOGGERS LIST.

Okay, it ain’t the New York Times Best Seller List but it smells and tastes as sweet.

“The Last Jew in Vinnitsa” was given the coveted title: FEATURED POST.

Note to self: Don’t forget to thank editors of TOI.

TOI added “The Last Jew in Vinnitsa” to their “Weekly Highlights” post.

Then it hit me like a water-soaked beach towel.

The old saw, “Fear often accompanies great joy.”

My rapid-fire brain shot a volley of questions:

“Was this taste of sweet success a fluke—a momentary triumph to be followed by nothing but failure?”

“Was this as good as it gets.”

“Was this my 15 minutes on the beach?”

“Will any of my new stories ever beat my 3,716 record?”

“Can I write another story as good as “The Last Jew in Vinnitsa?”

“Will my TOI audience abandon me?”

“Am I a one-hit wonder?”

I paused for a moment of reflection.

I whined, “I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.”

And then it hit me like a cool ocean breeze.

“The only way I’m going to find out is to keep on bloggin’.”

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. ChatGPT says, Mort is known for his works that often explore themes of love, loss, and the human connection. Laitner has published several books , including “A Hebraic Obsession.” His writing style is characterized by its emotional depth and introspection. Laitner’s works have garnered praise for their heartfelt expression and keen insight into the human experience.
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