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latest by jen

Putting out fires at almost 40

Honesty bursts forth from me in fits, in starts. This is 40. This may not be 40 for you. I realize, for you, this may be 43. Or 38. or 67. I don’t know if it’s temporal, situational, or hormonal, this shift. It certainly resembles the week leading up to my period with its moodiness, its gentle swaying between certainty and confusion. There are moments, for instance, when I can’t speak anything but the absolute …

If it was a place

If it was a place — cognitive dissonance, it would be here, Israel. Where in one swift shift I move from embarrassment (I forgot about swimming lessons) to fear of war. Shame I forgot about it; murder and them (those who can’t forget except in dreams which aren’t real) and yelled at my son for telling me he was bored on the second day after school ended. If it was a place — cognitive dissonance, it would be …

How to be a happy fool

The Buddha never said this, but it’s the noise of parenthood that propels me to appreciate the quiet. This is probably the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far in the 11 and a half years I’ve been mothering.  This is also why I wouldn’t use time travel to go back and change being a parent because these little butterflies that look almost nothing like me have had an active and passive role in shaping me; …

Totally awesome redefined

I’m a girl who grew up in the totally awesome eighties, so it’s taken time for me to integrate the word awesome into my system with an emphasis on awe. But as I am awakening more to the magic in my life and in the world around me, I’m finding it necessary to rethink, “awesome.” I processed this realization as I watched a trailer of an upcoming film in which astronauts describe what many of them say …

A date with Haifa

Yesterday I took my husband to the ER for symptoms he has been suffering for over a week. Fortunately he was released at the end of a very long day and evening with a diagnosis of pneumonia. Serious, but not as serious as we thought, and treatable with antibiotics. And so … relief. We both hate the hospital. I suppose most people do. Worse than the fear of germs for me, though, is the overwhelm …

The New 40

“40 is the new 30,” said a friend of mine the other day. That would totally and completely suck, I just realized. Yes, my hair was blonder. Yes, my breasts were firmer. Yes, I had ten years ahead of me still ‘ til 40. But … wow. 30. 2004. Mom of one very restless baby. Up to my eyeballs in change … not bad change but the kind that causes upheaval that equals frequent upset. …

What I imagine when I imagine the end of the world

Short Fiction When I imagine the end of the world, I am alone at the edge of a cliff. It’s evening and God Only Knows by the Beach Boys is playing on a box radio I looted from my neighbor’s basement. If it were a movie, I’d be gazing out over the city lights of Los Angeles just as the electricity went out, as one by one the skyscrapers lost power, and the city fell dark. A …

Let the summer of 40 begin

When I was a younger girl, I never imagined I’d marry a guy my own age. It’s not that I was into older guys. Mamash, LO, as we say in Hebrew. Definitely NOT. Older guys scared me. I typically dated guys who were maximum two years older.  This was my boyfriend demographic for many years. Guys my own age were my friends; little brothers. Guys older than me by more than two years also landed …

The obligatory notice

Almost as often as I change the furniture around in my house, I like to play with the look and feel of the blog. Please note the new design only enough to be aware that it’s still me. Fine. I admit it. I was really looking for an excuse to post this not-half-bad picture of almost-40-year-old-me. The redesign is just a ruse. Not half bad, right? But DO note the new MENU in the sidebar of the …

Take heed

What if the woman who’s leaving Bob Dylan in Boots of Spanish Leather returns one day? Maybe instead of boots she just brings her older, softer, leathery self to a cafe where it’s said Dylan sometimes drinks black coffee. I imagined that woman and with her in mind, played a little with blackout poetry. It’s the first time I almost like the result.  Take Heed I just thought you might want a long ol’ time alone. From the storm From the …

Throw my suitcase out there, too

The best coworker I ever had was the one who every morning sat with me for a half hour while drinking our morning coffee and did dream analysis with me. She was good. So was I. Coffee + dream analysis = best way to start the morning. I’m pretty decent on my own, but it’s more fun to analyze your dreams with a friend. I also really enjoy showing people the obvious connections they are …

Photographic memory

I love photography even though I’ve never been as good at the art as I might have liked; might have been. I’m grateful — seriously, grateful — to Instagram, for allowing me an outlet for the scenes I capture in my mind’s eye and feel compelled to share, but hardly ever render to my satisfaction on a traditional camera. I took photography as an elective in high school — learned how to develop my own film …

Subway metaphor

It’s likely I will never understand the passage of time. By the time I understand I will have passed time. Quickly like the express train. People some I know become blurred colors along a tiled wall. Their names once tiled too in a mosaic of sorts crumble and all that is left is a private joke as private as can be because it’s with me now. I see myself at the turnstile at the 18th …

My memory waited 14 years for this photo to catch up

“We took our coffee into the living room. He stood at the stereo and asked if I had any requests. ‘Something Blue-ish,’ I said. While he flipped through his records, he told me about the time he’d asked his daughter for requests; she was about three at the time and cranky after a nap, going down the stairs one at a time on her butt. He imitated her saying, ‘No music, Daddy.’ ‘I told her we had to listen to …

The after-taste of a dream

My dreams are poems Righting themselves upside down in Not-for-long Ville.   Still fresh with relief when I wake I take a pen so I may keep them.   But the poems fade faster than the dream even when I whisper, “Don’t.”   What’s left then, but last night’s dream, which will never be anything more than      

From the eyes of Mrs. Murry

Meg’s mother picked up the pair of brown tortoise shell reading glasses from the top of the bedroom dresser. She gently put them on and leaned in to study her face in the reflection. Cocking her head to the right, she removed the pair, placed the chewed earpiece in her mouth, and sucked the grooves in between the teeth marks. Only then did she notice the smudge on the lens. Instinctively, she reached for a tissue …

In this world, there is a fragile child

There is a cry lodged There at the farthest most upper reaches There at the roof of my mouth. There, its origin may be found in between There in between an exhale and an inhale There where an ujjiyai breath washes over it. There is not a wet cry There lies a very ancient dry cry There where it’s drier than a long suckled Japanese well. There is nothing to do There but notice how stuck …

The wail

As the two-minute siren commemorating Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day for the fallen) began its descent, a poem began to rise. Please take a few minutes to travel over to the Times of Israel, where it’s posted.

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  • Writing |

New Lyric Essay on Love and Time (2021)

In a year in which creating felt hard, I feel proud and a little bit still-in-love with this flash essay I wrote in May 2021. In the old days (circa last year), I may have submitted it to literary journals in the hopes of being “selected for publication” (aka validation…
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  • Announcements |

Into the Dream Is Now on Patreon (2021)

I’ve been researching precognitive (aka “psychic”) dreams for more than a decade, after my dreams starting showing up as real-life waking events and images.  In the spring of 2021, following a big professional life shift (euphemism for job loss), I launched a Patreon so individuals could support my writing and…
Books on tape found at Tel Aviv antiques shop, June 2014
  • Interviews |

Interview with Author Rivka Galchen (2016)

I so enjoyed Little Labors, the latest book out from award-winning novelist Rivka Galchen. A stunning, intimate, but thoughtful hybrid work, Little Labors is definitely a recommended read for this summer. Check out my review and interview with Galchen, up on The Times of Israel today.
Books on tape found at Tel Aviv antiques shop, June 2014
  • Interviews |

Interview with Author Curtis Sittenfeld (2016)

Up in The Times of Israel today is an interview I conducted with Curtis Sittenfeld, the New York Times bestselling author of “Prep” and “American Wife.” Sittenfeld has a new book hitting shelves this week: “Eligible,” a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” I’ve been a big fan of Sittenfeld’s since…
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  • Announcements |

New on District Lit (2015)

My latest column is up on District Lit today. It’s not about real estate, nor about ghosts, but about the lies I tell myself about the idea of home.  Check it out.  
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  • Books |

Book Review: The Ambassador

For all my love of time travel and exploration of whether or not we could or should alter the past, I’m surprised I don’t read more fiction in the category of alternative history. Perhaps I will now, after reading The Ambassador (The Toby Press), a novel by the late Ambassador Yehuda Avner and…
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  • Books |

Almost Book Review: Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey

It’s an almost book review for two reasons: 1. I haven’t finished the book. Of course, I am certain many reviewers — ones who get paid for their reviews, even — don’t always finish the book they are slated to review. In my case, the early review is reasonable since Madness, Rack, and…
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  • Books |

Book Review: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk

Book Details Title: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth: And Other Pop Culture Correspondences Author: John Moe Publisher: Three Rivers Press   Review It was in one of my favorite online magazines, Fast CoCreate (a Fast Company publication) that I first heard about John Moe’s anthology of satiric correspondences which fictionally …
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  • Family |
  • Making Friends |

I wrote a letter to a friend

I wrote a letter to a friend today and inside that letter — which was not a letter but something like a letter sent by electronic mail — I composed my feelings into something like feelings. And it’s a pattern, my tendency to compose somethings like. It’s not a pattern…

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