Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

To Freedom!

So this is Passover week.

Tonight, we’re going over to my mom’s house to celebrate the freedom of the Jewish people from the Egyptian pharaoh’s slavery. In remembrance of the struggles of the Jews who had to leave their homes quickly — with no time to leave the dough for the bread to rise — we Jews must not eat bread for the next eight days. No muffins, no pasta, no rice, no cereal. Just matza — the dry unleavened bread that basically tastes like a watery cracker. (I am making it sound kind of awful when it actually tastes great in its own way — and it’s great fun to eat! Also one could make fantastic sandwiches out of those — anything on it from scrambled eggs to turkey  — to jam — to cheese –will be exotic, exciting, delicious!)

This fast always gets especially hard toward the end, as you can imagine. By sixth or seventh day, we start dreaming in dough. But the beginning — and that first feast will always be a joy. 

And on the third day of the holiday I am getting an even better treat. I will get to take my mama home for two days at the end of this week. She will babysit my precious kids — and I will get that rare chance to just plunge deep into my work-in-progress, and if not finish it, at least maybe — hopefully — make a great stride or  two toward the blessed END.


Passover is the holiday of freedom. And for me, that’s what writing has become. It isn’t just about self-expression, or getting to spend my life on what I love the most — writing. In some ways, writing is a kind of torture for me, too — every story is a prison of sorts.

When I write, I try to break my way out of each story’s hefty obscurity. I am never truly free until I tell the tale that is whispering these strange-awful-delightful secrets in my ears. I am happy and proud and relieved to report that this writing business had stopped being about publishing, mostly. It has now become just a matter of getting these heavy stories out, into the open, so for a moment I can breathe free. The moment, mind you, is exactly that — a MOMENT. A day. An hour. Maybe even a second. Then, there is the anticipation, the worry — what will my friends — or my agent — think? Then there will be the next story whispering new secrets . . . Which leads me to a question: Are we ever truly free?

Even if we aren’t, we will do anything to come close, won’t we?

Happy spring, happy holidays, happy renewal — and happy freedom!


P.S. On the subject of freedom, I have written yet another guest post for my awesome author friend Joyce Moyer Hostetter. It’s a little essay in free verse about my mama — who, to me, has always been freedom personified. http://joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com/2011/04/last-month-katia-raina-wrote-for-us.html


April 18, 2011 - Posted by | Contemporary History, Personal Mirror, Writing Mirror | , ,


  1. Happy holidays!

    I’ll read your guest post. 🙂

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | April 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Medeia, for always being there 🙂 Perhaps you could leave a comment for Joyce?
      Happy holidays and happy spring to you, too!

      Comment by Katia Raina | April 21, 2011 | Reply

      • Oh never mind. I saw that you did. Should have known. Thank you for your generous words! 🙂

        Comment by Katia Raina | April 21, 2011

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