Eli Glasman was born in the suburb of Caulfield in Melbourne, Australia to an orthodox Jewish family. He began writing at an early age and continued the practice all throughout his schooling.
At the age of seventeen he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It was at this time, he decided that orthodox life wasn’t for him. He went to study creative writing at the University of Melbourne, where he completed his Honours degree.
In 2011, at the age of 24, he got his first short story published. From that point on, he buckled down and worked his butt off until he secured two more short story publications, a $5000 prize and, with ‘The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew’, his first novel.
He now writes more than ever and lives in a share house in Brunswick.
He is quite happy.
via About | Eli Glasman.
When I was younger, I used to freeze up whenever I talked to a girl I liked. My shrink would tell me that it was because I always got ahead of myself. After one conversation, I already had a ring on her finger.
He told me to take each moment as it came. A pipe was just a pipe, he’d say. A conversation was just a conversation. And sometimes, even sex was just sex.
We’d discuss the same thing with my writing. Although I’d shown an aptitude and love of writing when I was very young, I used to freeze up whenever I sat down to write. He’d say that it was a similar thing to talking to girls. I was getting ahead of myself.
Whenever I’d sit down to write I could already hear the reviewers praising my work as I typed the words.
My shrink would say that speaking and writing are unconscious activities. In the same way, that if we focus too much on the mechanics of walking we start to stumble, if we obsess on the words we say or write, we can lose our ability to speak or write them as easily.
I couldn’t just stop getting over excited and anxious about writing, so I used to have to play a trick on myself. I’d have one piece, which was my magnum opus, where I’d sweat over every word. Then I’d have one that I just did for fun.
Obviously, the one I did for fun would get published and my magnum opus would get ignored. Now when I read over the latter piece, it reads as if I was trying way too hard.
I can feel it starting to happen again. Although my book doesn’t come out for six months, I’m already starting to get anxious about it. I find that I get more anxious when I sit around projecting forward with my thoughts about all the wonderful things that may occur. I figure I’m setting my future too high and giving myself something to lose —a fantasy.
I got her email on the same night that I got another email saying that my third short story was going to be published in the Sleepers Almanac. I was quite a strange and excitable young man back then, only slightly less so now, and I remember I was eating a burrito in Melbourne Central train station when the emails came through.
I was working full time and would go to the train station after work to have dinner and do my day’s worth of writing. I chose the train station because it was away from my room (not having my bed in sight made me less sleepy) and they had free internet. I like to write with the net on.
After eating my dinner, I opened up the short story I was working on at the time and after ten minutes or so, I rewarded myself by checking my email. Naturally, I couldn’t write for the rest of the night.
My hands were shaking and I was delirious with excitement.
Having been sick with Crohn’s Disease, O.C.D and depression for a number of years, I had very little confidence in myself. Being chronically ill placed me in a constant state of self pity and doubt. I didn’t believe that I could do the same things healthy people could. Because, I guess, for a long time I couldn’t.