In Defense of Avi Katz, I Resign from the Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman The editor of The Jerusalem Report, Steve Linde, has dismissed the magazine’s long-time illustrator, Avi Katz. Readers of South Jerusalem are well-acquainted with Avi’s illustrations for my Necessary Stories, but Avi also produced an editorial cartoon for each issue of the magazine. As editorial cartoons are supposed to do, they angered some readers. … Read more

Necessary Stories Live–On YouTube

Haim Watzman With thanks to my daughter Mizmor, who filmed and edited, I offer this preview of my new “Necessary Stories” program. It includes selections from four of the stories. For more on my speaking topics and availability, see my Speaking and Performance page. Am I really genetically smarter than my Sephardi wife? Find out … Read more

Is Truth My New Fiction?

Haim Watzman

A couple weeks ago I published my first short story. That’s an important milestone in my career as a writer, since up until now I’ve only published journalism and non-fiction. But, in fact, it’s less of a breakthrough than it sounds, because I made my fiction debut in the pages of a news magazine, and everything my story recounts actually happened.

The story is called “Hagar,” my most recent “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report, which I cross-posted here on South Jerusalem. It’s about a dumpster cat who had kittens on my doorstep. This really happened, about two and a half years ago.

As journalists tend to do at middle age, I’ve long been getting itchy at the constraints imposed by my trade. For years, I’ve been getting more and more interested and involved in the practice of writing—style, structure, word choice, sound. Writing my two books, a memoir and a travel narrative, gave me an opportunity to experiment with telling a story in ways far different than my newspaper writing ever allowed. Writing them made my yearn to take the next step and write fiction. In a fictional narrative, I thought, I’d be freed from the constraints of writing only events as they happened about people I’d actually met.

When I took another look at the cat essay,

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