People

People

Shanda Deziel May 6 2002
People

People

Shanda Deziel May 6 2002

People

Shanda Deziel

Writing with a vengeance

The capital “R” in Laura Blumenfeld's notebooks is her shorthand for “revenge.” It appears regularly in the 50 reporter’s pads that she has from 1998— the year spent living in Jerusalem, searching for the man who shot her father in the head. Everything about revenge fascinated Blumenfeld—why a person craves it, the extent to which people will go to seek it, what causes it. On leave from her job at the Washington Post, Blumenfeld interviewed hundreds of people, from Grade 5 girls in schoolyard fights to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s former prime minister, whose older brother was killed by an Arab airplane hijacker. She used journalism as her reason to talk to people

but refused to tell anyone (other than her husband) that she was seeking revenge for her father. “It was embarrassing,” says Blumenfeld, 38. “It’s hard to admit to other people that you have a need to strike back, get even. You are supposed to move past it.”

After returning to her New York home, Blumenfeld wrote Revenge: A Story of Hope. The book details her father’s 1986 trip to Jerusalem when he was shot by a young Palestinian man. Blumenfeld’s father (a rabbi) survived and the gunman went to prison. But that was not enough for Blumenfeld. “My main motive was: Can I make my father human in the gunman’s eyes?” she explains. And in her determination to do that, Blumenfeld went to extraordinary lengths—tracking down

the shooter’s family, meeting witnesses, interviewing survivors from similar attacks and, ultimately, confronting the gunman. The experiences she shares are intimate and haunting but also, says Blumenfeld, universal. “Everyone has felt a need for revenge at some point.”

Isn’t he Wonderful

In the span of 20 minutes, Glenn Lewis breaks into song three times. For this Toronto R and B singer-who currently has a hit single, Don’t You Forget /i—it’s the best way to tell a story. When talking about the kind of music his two young boys like, he summons Usher: “You got it bad, when you’re on the phone, hang up and you call right back.” When told that Janet Jackson pronounced she’s a fan of his on The Late Show with David Letterman, he says that’s something he can’t grasp, then affects a gorgeous falsetto and sings, “Come back to me, I’m beggin' you p/ease”-from Jackson’s 1989 CD, Rhythm Nation 1814. “Now that’s a sweet song,” says Lewis. And when he digs into the subject of Stevie Wonder, with whom he’s often compared, Lewis explains, “I am certainly not trying to make songs that sound like Stevie, but the influence just comes out because to me that is what music is supposed to sound like.” Then he breaks into Wonder’s Creepin': “I can hear you sighin’."

As his two sons, Xavier, 8, and Tabias, 4, race around him, Lewis possesses an engaging calm. After years of struggling to make it in Canada, he hooked up with producers in Philadelphia and landed a deal with Epic Records, which released his CD, World Outside My Window. But success in the U.S. means he hasn’t spent much time in Toronto with his kids. “It’s been rough,” says Lewis, who’s in his late 20s and is separated from Shelly, the boys’ mother. “But when it’s all done, the quality of our lives will be a lot better.

I am happy that I can do this for them.” Another reason to break into song.