latest by jen

The Unlikely Path to Inner Peace

I just finished reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a story of a man who sets out on a journey, both metaphorical and literal, in search of inner peace and acceptance. A friend, after hearing about “the boxed set series” project I’m working on, recommended the novel as a complementary “research tool.” It was a good suggestion. Harold is in his mid-sixties when he receives a letter from a former colleague – a terminally ...

View from above

No matter how blurred or undefined my picture of God is, no matter how my connection to religion swells or retreats; the one God-related belief I hold fairly dear is omniscience. If God were a storyteller, let’s say, he’d be third person with both a bird’s eye and a worm’s eye view of all that ever was and all that ever is and all that ever will be. Which means, I also believe, that God laughs ...

Note to Self

So much of my life lives on paper. In letters, in cards, on glossy, on matte. Inside once locked hardcover journals, there are words scratched in anger, in pain, and occasionally, in radical amazement. Inside carefully categorized photo albums, there are faces I used to recognize, love, envy. Most of it — my life on paper — reflects only what was once the drama of my life. For this is what we photograph. Parties, graduations, ...

Synchronistically delicious

I am often troubled when I hear people use the word “serendipity” when I think they mean “synchronicity.” But I never really investigated the difference between the two words. In my unresearched opinion, I always imagined synchronicity as attached to “meaningful” or extraordinary. Whereas serendipity is more playful, like a cup of frozen hot chocolate. Lucky. Fortuitous. Unexpected. Right place at the right time sorta thing.  Whereas synchronicity … when it happens … almost feels ...

Finish this haiku … if you can

I was attempting a haiku this morning when I realized there is no good antonym for alone. Walking alone is often the first step towards These were the first two lines of an idea I was trying to work through by haiku. Except, I couldn’t finish it in a satisfying way. “Together?” Is together really the only antonym for alone? I was going for an emotion, a feeling, a deep sense of being close to ...

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.
  • Community |
  • Philosophy |
  • Politics |
  • War |

What the world needs now

I spent the morning with my father-in-law in a cafe in Kfar Tavor. He was generous enough to be an interview subject for me in regards to a creative writing project I’m preparing for a class called “Art, Atrocity, and Truth.” My father-in-law is a child of the Holocaust. He is, in…
  • Family |
  • Parenting |
  • Politics |
  • War |

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…
  • Mindfulness |
  • Parenting |

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…
  • Love |
  • Relationships |

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…
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  • Family |
  • Love |
  • Memory |

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…
  • Kibbutz |
  • Writing |

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…