Uncategorized

Dreaming Out Loud: What I’ve Been Up to Since 2016

Hello, friends. WordPress tells me there are more than 3000 of you who subscribe to this blog, which has been running, on full and on empty, for more than a decade. I’m currently working on a bunch of new projects I think many of you might be interested in, and I want to make sure you know about them. This won’t be a complete update on everything I’ve been up to since 2016 (which includes a global move, a career change, and a divorce). That will have to wait for another time, another space.

1. This web site is currently being updated and redesigned as jenmaidenberg.com. I haven’t yet decided on whether or not to keep the andyaddayadda domain name. More to come on that!

2. I launched a Patreon page for my current research and writing about dreams, memory, mental time travel, love, and healing. You can subscribe for as little as $8/month and get access to monthly audio updates (called “Dreaming Out Loud”) about the novel research I’m doing as it relates to the therapeutic use of dreams, storytelling, music, and memory! Or, join at any level because you want to support an independent writer whose writing matters to you! Patreon is about supporting writers, artists and other creators — just because, not in exchange for a good or service–so that they have to hustle less, and get to create more.

The new #creatoreconomy recognizes and acknowledges how art is healing and deserves to be valued more in our economy. Don’t you think? I heard about Patreon via subscribing to musicians, artists, and healers I’ve believed in or followed for a long time on free social media channels, but never bought from. In general, I’m trying to get into the habit of donating to creators or buying from them at whatever level is comfortable for me. To that end, I’ll also be sharing on my own channels the art and writing of creators whose work in the world I want to amplify. Stay tuned for more on that, too!

3. I’ve been publishing for the last seven years on Medium. You may enjoy reading the content there: lyrical essays, poetry, dream exploration. Claps and reads on my medium articles = money for me = less hustling for gigs (see above post) = more contribution and acts of service on the behalf of others. I’m aiming big: For years I’ve been an activist for healing. Now I want to add to that activism for creators. Your support of my creative work and research allows me the time and energy to focus on that and not constantly striving for the next freelance job to pay the bills. Future Me is deeply grateful for your support.

That’s it for now.

Except for one thing: It’s not all about me. In fact, it’s not about me at all. If it wasn’t for you, there’d be no Me. Your listening of me, your reading of me, your showing up as a reflection of me and for me in whatever way you do or once did, is what supports and solidifies Me being Me.

Drop a comment below if you’re up to a new creative pursuit you want me to share, amplify or check out. Or if you’ve been plugging along with a blog I used to support back in the 2010s and think there are some posts there I’d like. Link below.

Sending you love across time and space!

Jen

Memory, Parenting, Writing

Jet lag ramblings

Last night after I returned home from ten days away, I lay down next to my daughter to chit chat before she fell asleep.

“While you were away, mommy,” she said. “I prayed to God for something I know I’ll never get.”

“What?” I asked her, even though I was pretty sure I knew the answer.

She sighed, “A real baby.”

“You’re right honey,” I replied. “I’m not having any more babies, but maybe God will listen anyway, and hang on to your request ’til you’re a mommy.”

With that, she sighed again, and held Nadav, her American Girl baby-boy doll a little tighter than before.

 

* * *

This morning on Twitter a journalist posted there would be an air raid siren in the southern Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

“This is part of a tsunami drill,” he wrote. “Don’t panic.”

As if the poor people of Ashdod and Ashkelon haven’t been traumatized enough over the last few years of rocket warnings. Shouldn’t they devise a unique alert sound for a tsunami? And, anyway, what are the residents of Ashkelon and Ashdod advised to do in the case of a true tsunami?

Certainly taking cover will not save them from the rushing waters of a churning Mediterranean sea.

 

* * *

I never realized it before, but jet lag is a necessary and appropriate method for transitioning from one culture, one point of view, to another.

 

* * *

If I were to have another baby — which I will not  — I wouldn’t have named it Nadav if it was a boy, or Shaked if it was a girl, even though both are my favorite names for new babies in Israel.

It occurs to me this morning after I read the message about the tsunami drill, however, that tsunami would actually be a lovely name for a girl. The word rolls off the tongue like the wave it describes, but more gently. Like a ripple in time.

Tsu – Nah – Me.  

 

* * *

When I land in New Jersey, I like that I have traveled backwards.

When I land in Israel, I like that I have lost a whole day.

I like to be pummeled by time like that.

I like that I am able to anticipate the absolute engulfment caused by change in time, even if I can’t control it.

 

beach photo 2016
Shavei Tzion, Israel. Photo by Jen Maidenberg
Poetry, Writing

Announcing a new column on District Lit

I’m giddy with excitement to let you know my first feature column went up on District Lit yesterday. “My Time, Your Place” is an ongoing exploration of the boundaries between reality and dream, time and timelessness, place and wandering. (The title is borrowed in part from the Yehuda Amichai poem, “In My Time, In Your Place.”)

I hope you check it out from time to time, and share with your friends if the writing moves you to do so.

As a tribute to Amichai, whose poetry inspires me in so many ways, here is the poem the title references.

In my time in your place

Childhood, Dreams, Love, Memory, Music

What is a classic?

What is a classic?

The Giving Tree in English. But not in Hebrew.

What is a classic?

The Wonder Years. Especially the one in which Paul becomes a bar mitzvah. Or any episode with The Byrds as background music.

What is a classic?

Mighty Love. Let My Love Open the Door. All You Need is Love. In My Room.

What is a classic?

Cornbread. Warmed.

What is a classic?

Square dancing in gym class. Sorry, more Wonder Years.

What is a classic?

I don’t know. Classics are supposed to be timeless and yet some classics have changed for me with time.  Like, The Giving Tree used to be IT for me and now I suppose The Missing Piece is. But that just happened 15 minutes ago. Can it be a classic already? Moby Dick is not a classic, and yet it is, just not for me. Not yet. But it might be one day and then I will look back at today and realize I was ignorant of the classics. The Wizard of Oz is a classic, but I’ve watched it too many times and now it is a classic, but stale.

Like The Shawshank Redemption.

Like TBS.

Like Apple Pie.

I suppose if I had to say, a classic is that which makes me cry when I am not sad.

What is a classic?

The tune to My Darling Clementine.

Mint.

Feet in the sand.

The Barbie Dreamhouse with the elevator.

Jim Croce.

Half-burnt marshmallow on a stick.

Josh and Jodie.

My dad’s green fiat.

Pepsi Free.

Yesterday.

That time my Bubbi cried at Denny’s because her eggs were runny.

That time my brother threw a rootbeer bottle at me.

That time the car was stuck in the mud in a rainstorm, but I only remember that one in a dream.

What is a classic?

Forgot my locker combo.

Forgot to study for the final.

Left my passport at home.

What is a classic?

“These poems do not live: it’s a sad diagnosis.”

What is a classic?

“In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves reduced to I
and the whole thing became silly, ironic, terrible.”

What is a classic?

“It is startling
to realize that
some of our most cherished memories
may never have happened — or may
have happened to someone else.”

What is a classic?

What is         a classic?

——–

The above contains poetry by Sylvia Plath (“Stillborn”) and Adrienne Rich (“In Those Years”), and commentary on memory by Oliver Sacks

Childhood, Letting Go, Love, Making Friends, Memory, Relationships, Spirituality

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.

Me and my first, Dec. 2003, Tucson
Me and my first, Dec. 2003, Tucson

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. Orange vomit on my shoulder a lot. Not a lot of friends nearby. Unrealistic expectations of marriage, parenthood, community, work, friendship, life.

It’s not that I’m BRILLIANT now.

But I am now aware enough to know how dumb I am. And how age brings a wisdom born of experience that in some ways is better than firm breasts.

The more I speak about and write about 40, the more people (read “women”) say to me:

I loved my 40s

The 40s have been the best years of my life

I really found myself in my 40s

These kind of comments, from real people, are uplifting and have actually started to ignite in me a desired anticipation — the kind I remember feeling in the months leading up to 13. When was the last time we were truly excited for a birthday … not because we had a crazy evening planned or a vacation, but because it was appropriate to celebrate our advance? What happens to our birthday joy as we age?

I have a summer birthday and so I used to be very familiar with anticipation in advance of birthdays. My friends often reached milestones ahead of me : 13, 17 (driving age in NJ), 18, 21, etc. Those last few months before it was my turn were always killer. The summer I was 12, waiting for 13, I remember telling boys when they asked at the camp social, “how old are you?” that I was 13. That my birthday had been in April. For some reason, that mattered then. As if they wouldn’t ask me to dance unless I was old enough to have boobs. (The boobs wouldn’t come for 4 more summers.)

Last summer, when I turned 39, I remember feeling a sense of dread.  It didn’t help that last summer I also suffered from a bunch of moderate health issues, serious enough to impact my daily life . (It’s likely that at least half of them were stress-related, and maybe 1/4 “pre-40” related.)

My 39th birthday, spent with family by the Jersey shore was lovely, but undercut by a constant heartburn. The antacids didn’t help. The gluten-free diet didn’t help. The technology detox didn’t help. I understand now it’s because the heartburn was only partly physical. Much of it was existential. Prilosec can’t help with that. Not even the Wild Berry flavor.

This summer, I am determined to drop the burn. Be all heart. Feel 12 again. I am determined to want 40.  So badly that I pretend like I already am.

Boobs, or not.

 

 

 

 

Letting Go, Love, Memory, Mindfulness, Poetry, Uncategorized

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 Street station.
What do I do?
I can’t get on the local now.
It’s too late.
Much
I have to let her go.
She’ll be fine, I whisper.
That’s what her colors tell me.

Letting Go, Love, Philosophy, Writing

An Open Letter to Time: I Know the Truth About You Babe

Dear Time:

Your linear passage is ruthless.

We notice this early, but don’t grasp it til it’s too late.

Your strict adherence to forward motion is maddening, and yet reliable.

It is a gift, in fact,

For we must flow with you, while

we foolishly ache to change you

(as if we could).

We cling to you, but you move at lightning speed.

We can’t hold on.

We spend you like there is no end

to you.

Waste you.

Take advantage of you … like you’re giving it away for free.

We kill you. And then beg for more.

For mercy.

Our love for you, Time, is a comedy.

Our abuse of you is tragic.

Be stingy with us, Time, as you would an ungrateful child.

But be loving, for we sigh (weep even) when we lose you.

We are just simple travelers, Time.

Greedy, yes,

But hopeful.

Never meant anyone harm.

Least of all you.