The old city in Jerusalem, Israel.
Many would describe it as an intense conflict zone in the middle east.
I describe it as HOME.
The tensions in the area were wild during my childhood years: cars were burned often, tourists were stabbed brutally near my home, I had to take a gas mask to school with me during the gulf war (I should mention that I drew hearts and stars on my gas mask’s box - a sign of an optimistic oblivious child with an early sense of irony!), suicide bombings shocked the nation, peace protests and demonstrations became a regular occurrence in the conflicted political realm of the city, and the tensions between the different religious communities in the old city often lead to disputes.
To add to the collective conflict around me, I come from the only family in mount Zion in the old city that was not religious. I was the only little girl walking around wearing pants surrounded by ultra-orthodox, monks, nuns, and devout Muslims. It was a unique perspective to be immersed in a world and yet not be of that world. To belong somewhere and yet constantly be told I do not belong. As early as I remember myself, I became an observer and the characters in the old city started taking shape in my stories: from the English man who moved to Jerusalem so he could play a harp and dress as King David by the Zion Gate, to the Bedouin with the camel who thought me how to train camels to sit and walk and so on, to the kind Armenian shop owner who to this day I only buy ceramic bowls from.
Despite the news and the noise in the region, I’ve watched many times a Hassidic man playing backgammon with a devout Muslim, both respecting each other’s faith and other general acts of kindness and unity that one wouldn’t expect to see at such a place.
I learned early on to observe, which is my primary tool as an actor and writer.
I also learned about nuance and that comedy often rises out of the darkest places. As a way to survive the pain. I often find myself in my writing testing the waters of dark comedy and building characters that are nuanced and flawed like the figures in my childhood that were anything but ‘black and white’.
I may not have grown up with a sense of belonging in that part of the world.
But that exact sense of not belonging gave me the world that I belong to the most:
My inner world.
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In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman