latest by jen

Exchange of letters

I was thinking of Sarah this morning when I realized how many similarities there are between the online friendships I’ve cultivated and the pen pals I used to collect as a young girl. Sarah and I are planning to meet in real life for the first time. Despite the fact that we both are former Americans living in Israel, and only live an hour’s drive from each other, we’ve never sat to drink coffee together; …

It is a dream and a song

In one of my cardboard boxes, I found a folder with some work samples from my time as a book club manager at Scholastic. While rifling through the R.L. Stine Goosebumps newsletters and colorful seasonal book catalogs I used to edit, a typed out note on white paper fluttered through the air and landed on the floor. It took me only seconds to realize what it was: a note from my former co-worker, Nelson, a …

A case for hoarding

I’m a hoarder. I hoard paper, photos, t-shirts, cozy socks, cookies, memories, books. Especially books. And memories. I’m not so compulsive to be recruited for a reality TV show, but I’m bad enough that closets are always full and there’s never enough storage space. Not in my house, not in my brain. Despite this need to hang on, each time I have moved homes (about 6 or 7 times in adulthood), I’ve let go of …

Dance as a writing prompt?

My new friend Miriam is a long-time professional dancer and choreographer. I met her in a writing workshop at Bar Ilan University and have enjoyed hearing her tales of dance, particularly those she found herself in while living in far-flung areas of the world foreign to me. But yesterday, Miriam surprised me even more when she led our group in a movement exercise designed to be used as a writing prompt. Movement as a writing …

Love is as close as the refrigerator door

When I was a girl, our refrigerator was stocked. Not just with food, but with memories. My mother liked to collect magnets from places she had visited — and while it’s difficult to remember exactly from where and from when, I do distinctly recall a trail of experiences splattered like paint across the front of a series of refrigerator doors of my childhood. It’s a tradition I’ve, without much serious intention, carried forward. It started …

Spyware (A Telepathic Blogger’s Haiku)

I know you’re reading. I feel you each time you do. But more when you don’t.

Disclaimer: I am not the me you think I am

In the days since the Justine Sacco twitter incident (which has officially been labeled a mob by the New York Times), I’ve spent a little time on a project that I’ve been meaning to focus on for a while: Cleaning up my internet bread crumbs You see: I’ve been at this a while. This thing I call “sharing of myself with strangers.” I’ve been writing and posting opinion pieces, and uploading and approving photos of …

The day I didn’t break up with the Internet

My recent post about my disappointment in the behavior of the Internet (specifically as it related to a Twitter lynch mob against PR professional Justine Sacco) garnered a lot of traffic. I asked myself, “why?” Sure, the post was opinionated and related to a trending topic. But I think the primary reason is because misery loves company and a lot of people are miserable. We’re stuck in really bad relationships… With the Internet. Admit it. …

Why I am more appalled by the internet than by Justine

In the ongoing, yet soon to be old news saga of PR professional Justine Sacco, Gawker has surprisingly (not!) tarred and feathered a woman, and called it “reporting the news.” When I saw the #hasjustinelandedyet saga in a friend’s Facebook feed over the weekend, I was drawn in. It was hashtagging at its best, after all. Alluring. Personal. Clever. With a hint of snark. However, I was too busy monitoring a group of rowdy eleven year …

Guns are just a metaphor

This is not a post about gun control. It’s not a post about violence prevention in our schools or in our towns. It’s a post about growing up — my growing up — as a mother. And the single greatest lesson I have learned in my ten years, 364 days of parenting. Ready? I know nothing. Absolutely nothing. If I look at myself now from the future, this will always be true. Each day, as …

Do your dreams predict your Facebook feed?

I’m entering dangerous territory. Dreamland. Dreams — and how they figure into our waking lives — fascinate me. I don’t remember which came first —  my vibrant dream life or my wonder for that version of reality. But both have been with me since childhood. What’s curious to me these days is lucid dreaming and predictive dreaming, both of which I seem to be getting better at. The other night, for instance, I noticed I …

Happiness is a warm, crisp chocolate chip cookie

It’s pretty cold for Israel. Damp, too, and muddy. We’re in the middle of a patch of rain and about to get hit by a storm that will likely bring snow to parts of the desert. Just the right kind of weather to put me in a bad, bad mood. But I’m not … yet. I’m working from home today and feeling really, really thankful for that. And because I’m working from home, and because we still have …

The space between dreams

Fevered dreams Unfulfilled chills Can’t shake ’em off. The space there between awake and asleep Hot outside Cold inside A mystery understood only by the archetype of me. If I could write the space there between awake and asleep it’d be a bestseller. The book of the month for vampires and demons that dwell inside the space between dreams.

Life Lessons of Learning to Ride a Bike (Part II)

Who knew what a wealth of life lessons teaching your kid to ride a bike would provide? (Who knew, actually, what a wealth of life lessons parenting, in general, would offer. Not me! Can I have my money back? Just kidding… sorta…) Three years ago, I remarked on the magical moment of “letting go” a parent and child both experience when the child finally decides to ride a bike solo. But what about when a …

Smushy mushy heart

Smushy mushy heart springs back like Silly Putty even when it’s broke.

The small victories of a working mother — flash poetry

“There’s a clean shirt in your backpack!” <Door slams! Bam!> First to sign up for parent-teacher meetings. Small victory. Showed up on time — early pick up, after all. Small victory. Pushed the migraine aside (til tomorrow) in order to be present today for preschool Chanukah party, songs, dance, and black light. Huge victory. Grater?!? Where’s the grater? Found it. And it’s clean. Ready to make latkes. Here you go. Take it. Take the potato, …

Love Song for a Vampire

If I had nothing else to do in my life right now — no full-time job, no school, no household chores, no parenting, no community commitments — I might decide to drop everything and pursue a journalistic investigation of music and memory. Truth is, I am doing this already on a very personal level. For those of you who follow the blog, you might have already sensed my budding fascination in some of my recent …

A virtual cure for anxiety is almost here

This morning, my hair dryer caught on fire. Which is a lot better than my hair catching on fire — which actually happened once, the first time I visited Israel in 1992 and forgot to use a converter before I set my curling iron to my bangs. I lost half my bangs that day … which was probably a good thing, in hindsight. I sensed something was wrong this morning when I started to smell …

  • Letting Go |
  • Love |
  • Memory |
  • Mindfulness |
  • Nonfiction |

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…
  • Memory |
  • Philosophy |
  • Spirituality |

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…
  • Books |
  • Writing |

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,…
  • Parenting |
  • Philosophy |

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…
  • Dreams |
  • Family |
  • Mindfulness |
  • Parenting |

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…
  • Modern Life |
  • Religion |

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,…
  • Love |
  • Memory |
  • Music |
  • Writing |

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…