latest by jen

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.

Why yoga is the ultimate “ex”

I’m on again in my on again-off again relationship with yoga. This, perhaps, is why you might find more typos in this post than normal. My right shoulder is a little upset with me. It’s even trembling as I type. I’ve been practicing yoga — and practicing is truly the operative word here since I’ve never quite committed nor become expert — since 1997. It was through an employee-friendly work environment at Scholastic that I found ...

In the dark

I was one of those kids who was afraid of the dark. Now, when I say “one of those kids” I do pause for a moment and wonder what kid isn’t afraid of the dark. What adult isn’t still? I think most of us are afraid of the dark. Even grownups.  We just pretend we’re not or drug ourselves or sex ourselves up to believe otherwise. We do something to smother the very innate fear we ...

When you don’t have anything to say

This time of year in Israel is often uncomfortable for me. I won’t say difficult, because it seems highly inappropriate to label anything in my life as “difficult” in the same breath as I speak of the Holocaust, of war, of fallen youth. But it’s uncomfortable. In very quick succession, we here in Israel — we being newspaper-reading adults and school-going children — are inundated with Holocaust-related content, followed quickly and intensively by war-related content. ...

Nostalgia sounds like …

“There’s an echo in the wind Makes me wonder where I’ve been”   The closest appliance to a time travel machine I’ve ever owned arrived in my mailbox today. I sold my yellow Sony edition at a yard sale over a decade ago. This one is a gift from a friend who knows how desperate I’ve been for a portal back. I popped in some AA batteries I had on hand (thank GOD) and chose a tape ...

Give me your tired your poor your books

It’s no secret I love old books. I cry over them like they’re wounded, abandoned puppies crouching behind a garbage bin in the rain. Sometimes I rescue them, but then have no use for them. (Again, like puppies.) Often there’s a story behind the compulsion to save them. I’ll save any Little House on the Prairie book I see, simply because I lost my original set of them in a flood. (For the same reason, ...

I Can’t Be Trusted

Don’t believe a word of it. Not a letter. Not even a space or a hard return. None of it is to be trusted nor considered true. At best, one or two or ten of my words will last longer than the quart of 1% cow’s milk shoved into a crusty corner of my ornery fridge. I repeat; my song is sung in tune for the length of a long exhale. After that, it’s expired. ...

123 days

There are 123 days left until 40. 1 – 2 – 3 and like that I will be Over the Hill. Which hill? The hill there footsteps away? The Tel? Tell me. It’s a curious time. This tick tocking of clock measured quietly uncertain alone without labels I’ve grown accustomed to a “Jean Val Jean” moment in time, says my husband. “Who am I?” 1-2-3 and I will be 40. Over the Hill. Not Under ...

A Jewish Mother’s Passover Lament

At least this Jewish mother … Best wishes to my friends and readers who celebrate freedom this week. Happy Passover.  

A trail of pebbles

I hardly blog about parenting anymore. It’s not because I don’t have opinions to share or thoughts to express. It’s that I finally arrived at a place where I understand that most of what I say or think about parenting is either obvious or worthless. Obvious to the older or more veteran demographic who, at best, might compassionately respond to what I write with a nod, “Oh yes, I remember that time of life.” Worthless to ...

How crowdfunding is like high school pre-calc

Did you know that the success of most crowdfunding campaigns rides on the contributions of extended family and friends? And did you know that Hannaton’s winery, Jezreel Valley Winery, launched an indiegogo campaign last week? By the transitive power of equality (or something very similar) YOU are the key to our crowdfunding success. I live on Hannaton. So does the winery. The owners, Jacob and Yehuda, are my good friends. You are my good friends. ...

Between us, there are books

It’s not difficult to spot us. Those of us in love with old books. We have shelves full of them. We smuggle them into our homes despite the eye rolling of our spouses, our parents, our roommates. We tolerate repetitive sneezing due to dust and the mildew and the ancient tree pollen lurking beneath pages 204 and 205 of the worn book of poetry; for the last time it was opened was beneath an olive tree ...

Cookie cutter approach to food activism

As we enter the period before Passover, I’m thinking about how eat, what we what, with whom we eat and why. I am meditating on freedom and gratitude. No, actually, I am not. I’m thinking about the store-bought chocolate chip cookie I just ate. For breakfast. (Actually, I had a vegetable wrap first. The cookie was for dessert. Breakfast dessert.) As I ate the cookie with deep pleasure, I thought to myself. This is happiness. ...

Husband Envy

It’s not the first time I daydreamed I was Nicole Krauss, authoress all-around good woman good Jewish but not so Jewish writer I could aspire towards and as a matter of curiosity exactly one day (perhaps only hours!) older than I. But today most of all when I learned husband Jonathan Safran Foer (even his name sounds groovy out loud with line breaks forcing teeth against my lips) cuts up old books to make new books ...

While we’re at it, let’s blame menopause and extramarital affairs on Gwyneth

“Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow became famous in her early 20s, she has made women feel bad about themselves…” begins Jessica Grose’s article in Slate this week. Ouch. This makes me want to write something along the lines of how ever since Jessica Grose starting writing articles in Slate she’s made celebrities feel bad about themselves. Except I don’t know Jessica Grose. I don’t know anything about her. In fact, while I may have read her ...
Circa 1975
  • Announcements |

Welcome to My New Web Site! (2021)

If you’ve found yourself here, I imagine you may be curious; curious to know more about my writing or my latest work, curious to know how we may work together, or perhaps, as I often do on individual web sites, you ended up here by some roundabout path, intuitive hunch,…
  • Poetry |

Seven New Poems (2021)

In 2020 and 2021, writing essays and nonfiction did not come easy. What seemed to want to come out of me was poetry. These poems complemented a period in which I was re-discovering old music, and engaging with new-to-me music. The series of poems from the past year (and newer…
time feature
  • 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…
community feature image
  • 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…
events header
  • 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.  
book shop header
  • 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…
book shop header
  • 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…