Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Balak Rap Song By Me
Still More Thoughts
When we are really wondering, we don't say "just wondering." Because to wonder is an awesome thing.
I am pleased with the recent posts I've done in which each paragraph is a new, stand alone unrelated thought from the next. And yet.
I just searched within my blog the words "Nicole Krausse and yet," looking for what I wrote about learning from Nicole Krause that "and yet" can be a full sentence. What came up from the search included her name, but not in relation to "and yet."
What came in the search I just did is this post. I called it "Write of Passage." It includes a rich dialogue of comments from fellow writers about what they blog. Like many things we remember as eras, I'm not sure how long it was that this blog community existed for. i look back at it as a golden age of a blogging world I was blessed to be part of. I look back at it as at a dream.
When I was kid, in the seventies, shows like Leave it to Beaver and players like Mickey Mantle seemed to have been from a time a million years before mine. I just realized today that my shows, like Happy days, and my players, like Cleon Jones are now from 40 years ago. That's much longer a period than the gap of about twenty years that was between me and the fifties. Mind boggling.
They say you should only learn Torah from a Rebbe who is like a malach, an angel. It is human to be concerned about one's own learning and spiritual growth. Angels are stagnant, they don't move, are not concerned with their own upward movent, but only with their missions for others. Maybe the idea of having a teacher akin to an angel is that the teacher needs to be focussed on you and your development rather than on himself.
This idea was presented in a talk I heard over Shabbos from the Rabbi Elye Yitzchok Brisk, Rabbi of the Toshnad Heichel Torah U'Tefilla. He cited it in the name of the Chasam Sofer, emphasising the detail that a malach is refered to as an omeid - one who stands in place, while a person is described as a holeich - one who moves forward: At the time that your teacher is teaching you he needs to be standing still himself and helping you move forward.
I think I'll always remember how Nicole engaged me in conversation before signing The History Of Love, despite the long line behind me, so that she could personalize the signature. Then she inscribed it "For Neil With Luck + Hope."
This six year old post just found me. It's about summertime, and how it ends. I really enjoy and miss the comments of old, particularly from Lavender Garden.
"Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in a house across the field from a girl who no longer exists... They collected the world in small handfuls... Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering..." - From The History of Love, by Nicole Krausse
There's a part of all of us that longs to know that even what's weakest about us is still redeemable and can ultimately count for something good.
- Mister Fred Rogers
Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Heard this line many years ago, think it's brilliant.
After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, 'No hablo ingles.' - Ronnie Shakes
Thursday, July 14, 2016
When I need to make a social phone call, each of those words and concepts pose challenges for me.
I hope that my thoughts about other people will all be interpreted by G-d as prayers.
Sometimes the first time you speak to someone on the phone it goes super well, and sometimes not so much.
A dear friend called me last Friday and I was helping with navigation on the way to my dad. I tried. I couldn't talk. I've him back. he's called me back. Who says you outgrow playing games like tag?
As it gets close to 12 years of my blogging I ponder this kind of writing.
Sometimes I wonder if I've spent too much of my life deciding (not deciding?) between six of one and half a dozen of the other.
Something connects everything in my life. While the realms seem different they are not so different, and my behavior, my reaction, is consistent in each stadium. It's all practice, either reinforcing the same responses or making headway in meeting them differently.
Some way, somehow, one thing always leads to another.
After seeing a play I ended up at this ten year old post from the halcyon days of the Jewish blogosphere.
Thursday, July 07, 2016
Review: ‘The Hatred of Poetry’: Let’s Count the Ways - NY Times
By JEFF GORDINIER JULY 7, 2016
In “Mean Free Path,” a collection of poetry published in 2010, Ben Lerner kicked off a stanza like this: “There must be an easier way to do this/I mean without writing.”
That central anxiety — a sense that great ideas tend to become a little discombobulated during the difficult act of putting them into words — hovers over and haunts “The Hatred of Poetry,” an extended essay that hinges on the impossibility of writing poetry. There is something impossibly knotty about the arguments it makes, too. The book comes across as such a cerebral curio that (like Mr. Lerner’s thinky and digressive novels,“Leaving the Atocha Station” and “10:04”) it’s almost impossible to describe.
Let’s try. (Although if we were to give up trying, Mr. Lerner would probably applaud.) The gist: A lot of people seem to hate poetry, which is arguably neck-and-neck with mime as the most animus-attracting of art forms. Loathing rains down on poetry, from people who have never read a page of it as well as from people who have devoted their lives to reading and writing it. Pivoting off a provocative line by Marianne Moore — “I, too, dislike it.” — Mr. Lerner admits that he can relate to the haters. Hostility, he suggests, qualifies as a crucial mode in which poetry and human beings start a conversation with each other. Antipathy is the entry point.
“Many more people agree they hate poetry than can agree what poetry is,” he writes. “I, too, dislike it, and have largely organized my life around it (albeit with far less discipline and skill than Marianne Moore) and do not experience that as a contradiction because poetry and the hatred of poetry are for me — and maybe for you — inextricable.”
Mr. Lerner’s own poetry, like his fiction, has a habit of floating off in directions that the reader does not anticipate. “The Hatred of Poetry” expands on that signature move. After establishing that poetry is a magnet for scorn, Mr. Lerner does not do what you might expect. He does not go all Garrison Keillor and mount a passionate defense. He does not raise a frothy toast to the glorious music of verse. He does not say, “I realize that you hate poetry, dear reader, but I’m going to make you fall in love with it.”
Instead, he devotes the lion’s share of this pocket volume to exploring some of the ways that poetry has bothered and disappointed various factions, starting with Plato and passing through the countless magazine essayists who have, with tedious regularity over the decades, gnawed on the old thematic bone of “the death of poetry.”
One problem, Mr. Lerner offers, may be that readers expect too much of poetry. They want it to rouse the citizenry to political action, and it doesn’t. They want it to peal with the music of the spheres, and it doesn’t. They want it to be a magical elixir that can remove them from the demands and drudgeries of the world of commerce, and it can’t. It seems to fall short of the ecstatic perfection that the very word “poetry” calls to mind. For a lot of folks, poetry makes nothing happen (to borrow from W. H. Auden) aside from causing verse-dodgers to feel guilty for running far away from it after high school.
Mr. Lerner skates across this frozen lake of pique with delicate skill. His probing mind works in his favor: He’s virtuosic in picking apart a weak lament about poetry from a 2013 issue of Harper’s Magazine. What works against him is the curiously airless, antiseptic nature of the enterprise. Coming upon certain passages in “The Hatred of Poetry,” a reader might be forgiven for thinking that the book amounts to a contemporary version of the monastic debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
When actual lines of poetry do emerge in the book, they pass like trays of delectable hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party. It’s as though someone very smart is talking to you, or at you, making an argument in an emphatic tone of voice, and . . . ooooo, look, there’s a snack portion of Emily Dickinson, just out of reach! John Keats, Claudia Rankine, Walt Whitman: The paradox of “The Hatred of Poetry” is that it manages to induce a craving for poetry in the midst of analyzing how poetry repels people. Assuming a pose of wallflower-at-the-orgy detachment, Mr. Lerner so abstinently avoids the topic of beauty — and love, for that matter — that you reach a point where you actively hunger for it.
Mr. Lerner is all too aware of what his argument lacks. “I hope it goes without saying that my summary here doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive — poems can fulfill any number of ambitions other than the ones I’m describing,” he concedes on Page 76, when he’s already in the homestretch. “They can actually be funny, or lovely, or offer solace, or courage, or inspiration to certain audiences at certain times; they can play a role in constituting a community; and so on.”
Well, when you put it that way, what’s there to hate? In a sense, “The Hatred of Poetry” winds up being a meticulous tangent about how the people who have contempt for poetry are (mostly) missing the point. (Possibly what has them worked up is hatred’s flip side: They love poetry too much, and their love has soured.)
The book achieves its goal in the most circuitous of ways: by its (lovely) last sentence, Mr. Lerner might get you longing for the satisfactions of the thing you’re conditioned to loathe. Or, as Mr. Lerner describes a moment of reverie in that 2010 collection of his, “Put the book away/Look out the window: we are descending/Like Chopin through the dusk.”
The Hatred of Poetry - By Ben Lerner - 86 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $12.
Monday, July 04, 2016
More Free Form, Disconnected/Connected, Random/Real Thoughts and Feelings
Splendid isolation; the song that just played. Also a way of describing isolation, and not necessarily of a living thing, (it was a foreign policy). It's resonating, evoking the idea that we're always winning and losing. Isolated sounds negative, but one can find it pleasant. This is supported by the Gemorah's story in which a healer asks a sick friend, "Is your illness dear to you?"
In order to become less isolated we have to be ready to let go of the splendid part of isolation.
I like the idea of not writing (living?) in a linear way. (Aviva Zornberg is fond of the possibility that when you do something like read a new book it doesn't only change your life moving forward, but it changes your life as a whole, even the time before you read the book. Your life is now the life of a person who read that book. See her book,Bewilderments, page 302.)
Rabbi Abraham Twerski suggests something that he doesn't empirically prove: that the more talented people are the worse their low self esteem issue will be, if they have that issue...
Talent seen by the world, and even seen sometimes by the talented person themselves does not guarantee confidence or happiness.
Beauty gets old fast. What doesn't?
Existential angst is no-one's fault.
Marriages of all kinds exist, and one marriage you're in can block you from another one...
Onward, onward, for G-d is good, and there is only G-d.
Are all healers wounded?
Who is the me you see?
Now it's later, and also now, again:
I am single. (In a way we are all single people. The words of Irving Bunim come to mind: "I am myself. I alone can experience myself, truly know myself. Hence, if I am not for myself, who will be for me? The most loving wife cannot share my pain, experience my anxieties, or suffer my death.")
That moment when you realize that a Facebook commenter not only didn't read a previous comment, but that the idea of another commenter saying something meaningful never entered their mind.
Why do I get irked by the question - What are you doing over the summer? Perhaps it's because doing this - living a rich inner life of thoughts and feelings is my answer.
I'm glad I know Zelda. The poet. Through her poetry. i wonder, would it have been different or better to know her personally? I believe this is the way it was meant to be. Our connections are through words and feelings, not through body language not through physical energy. But through her lippers that utter from the grave and find the words for major pieces of my life. And she sends me messages, cryptic ones but they include me, and my name.
Waiting without trying is like selling without buying. Petty was right that the waiting is the hardest part. And it's harder when you wait without making efforts toward what your waiting for.
When the media report about the media how come they never pause and say, "That's us!"? Question just came to me with the answer: They don't want you to realize it's them.
In relationships and roles, as in all of life, contradictions abound.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Breathing At The End of a Day
Andy Statman and David Grisman are playing what they call "New Shabbos Waltz" and I call a beautiful tune for Lechah Dodi. So, all's good in the world. As they play my day steps away.
Andy Statman is an inspiration; so talented, so committed to his truth.
I once saw him open a gala Chanuka extravaganza and no-one was really interested in him. They were all waiting for the Miami boys. Somehow his being ignored by the crowd confirmed for me how good he is.
Now Pandora is playing Sir Charles Coote-Captain Higgins, so soothing.
It's by Robin Bullock. Now "A Time For Us," is being played by Estoban,
...And now "Free" is being played by C Lanzbom. ...And now Stefan Grossman
is finger picking his way through "Working on the New railroad."
It's time for Mincha/Maariv.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
From Thought to Thought
When you don't just live through what your eyes see outside of your body life is different in texture and taste. When you have a world inside of you that's always moving and shaking you you need more time to rest.
Every moment is particular, including this one now.
I feel strongly that inside us is where the ups and downs actually happen.
This post has been written in stints. It may or may not be posted in the middle of a night/in the early morning hours. I like it to say the night of the day before; even when it's early in the morning the next day, feels more right.
I love writing. Writing teacher Jennifer Natalia Fink changed my life. I was in my upper 30s, not a kid, but I was a happy student in her workshop, actually learning. She would speak of vomiting words out onto the page. She did not believe in taking substances to affect your consciousness. But she did like the idea of (still does, I imagine) in taking advantage of naturally altered states. Like when she wrote while experiencing an ear infection. This comes to mind when I write, feeling tired, and in a strange way, find my style differently inspired.
I am grateful for the wide array of moments in life, like this one shooting by, during which I feel content.
Who is happy? He who feels rich with what he has.
There are things beyond words, and everything goes back to G-d. I find , lately, that I think more and more about the inefficient language we use for G-d. They say that a good metaphor takes you away from the thing you're looking at for a second so that when you go back you see it more clearly. But when it comes to G-d, do we go back? And when we return from images of G-d as husband, father, or king, do we see G-d more clearly? No, no; there is something off about how we talk about G-d. Silence, perhaps is the greatest praise.
You have to choose your silence carefully.
Hunger is an altered state which for me is pretty mainstream - then I eat. It's like tiredness, no stranger to me. And then, eventually, I sleep.
When I wait a little longer to eat and sleep then my writing and my self are a little more raw, a little more real.
I am hungry now. I was tempted to say starving, but that's crazy talk. People who are truly starving people and I have little in common.
Another moment, this one after having eaten and slept. After an afternoon nap I always feel better. And guilty. Same with eating, afterwards I feel good, but often know I didn't eat as well as I could have and thus there's guilt.
About 30 years (summer of '88) ago right before I left Israel I asked a Rebbe of mine to tell me a DT. On the spot he addressed why weights and measures are discussed right before Amalek. Perhaps, he suggested, our Amaleks get to us when we are off balance. I yearn for balance, even when I have it.
Have you ever recommended someone? As part of my work/life I've written recommendations hundreds of times. The point is to say what you believe while doing a good job at sales, i.e. not underselling. I once wrote a recommendation for a friend. This (like so many things I think about) was years ago. I included one bit of mild, constructive (I thought) criticism, amidst abundant praise. I showed it to my friend. My friend was furious. I took it out. This question nags at me. It's about more than recommendations. When we look at someone and then review what we see, how much negative should we keep in the picture?
Day and night , like everything else, are both real and metaphorical.
"Charlene," by Vance Gilbert just started playing on Pandora. Here's the song being sung. And here are the lyrics. The lai lai lais sound Jewish. The emotion runs deep in this song as he sings it and in my heart as I hear it. On so many levels.
I wonder if it's worth it to get a full body medical scan. Isn't it worth it if there's a way to find out whatever issues might be going on with your body?
I wish I could get a full scan that reveals my mental health issues. And one that reveals spiritual concerns.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Rav Hirsch talks of the fact that the two mountains, Grizim and Eival - one where blessing were read, one where curses were read - at the start looked the same. One flourished and one didn't. That's the way it is with blessings and curses. They can germinate from the same equal playing field, but the final results reveal the great difference between actions that in the end lead to holiness and blessing, or G-d Forbid, the opposite.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Quotes About Storytelling
"Neither novels nor their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species." - John Green, From the Author's Note to The Fault In Our Stars
"Reality is not just the story we are locked into" - David Grossman.
And these two from Rav Nachman of Breslov:
"People criticize stories as being somehow unsophisticated, etc, but if stories are lacking depth why does G-d start his book with them?"
"People think that stories are to put people to sleep but in truth stories serve to wake people up."
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
An Other Day
12:46 PM - I am starting to write now. Ben Kweller is singing "Fight" via Spotify. I am appreciating this; "You've got to fight all the way/You've got to fight till your dying day."
Yesterday was Shavuot, as was the day before.The day before Shavuot was Shabbos, and the day before that was Friday, when I was at work. Today is Tuesday, and I am at work again, though the building is mostly empty of people.
For Yom Tov I was in the Catskills at a retreat with about 100 others. I am thinking a lot about what it means to be other than someone else.
12:51 PM - Just looked for a haiku I wrote this morning about how we are each others to one another. I can't find the written copy, only the fragments in my head. Been working all morning to finish writing and submitting my fourth final. Just filled out next year's parsonage form and submitted it. Work is a major part of my life.
12:53 PM - I recently started reading Saul Bellow's The Victim. I found it in school, and gave it a look, knowing nothing about this work. I've tried Bellow before, and I'm 13 pages in - the furthest I've gotten in any of his books. His work sometimes feels dank to me, this time I'm a bit more pulled in than in the past.
12:55 PM - Spent a few minutes checking off Spotify songs, fast forwarding on to the next, adding to my catalogue of 1600 plus songs that I've "liked." Spotify brings me comfort.
This morning I got permission to take home abandoned copies of To the Lighthouse, andThe Great Gatsby from school. I have trouble with classics, but I try. I have trouble with reading, but I try. I have no trouble collecting books. In fact, a good summer project may be to purge some of my library.
12:58 PM - I need to eat some lunch and then get back to work. Hope to break from work during lunch, may multitask while eating.
1:10 PM - "Full Circle," by Ben Kweller has proven to be a good heading song for a Spotify station; it's pulling in good tunes. Now playing: "Fort Hood," by Mike Doughty.
Eating part of lunch is done: Can of tuna, rice cakes, almonds, zahtar, water. I often eat good food, but too much of anything is still too much.
While eating glanced at The Times. Did not hear about the Florida massacre that happened early Sunday morning until this morning. The Times has a lot about it, including the obvious denunciation of Trump's comments.
I was surprised to just read that Norman Lear was a featured speaker at a recent media event. He's 93, haven't heard much of him lately. This news leads me to believe he's alive and living.
1:51 PM - Been trying to buy a concert ticket on line or by phone for half an hour. Still trying. Something about doing this technologically drains me. Answering to a robot is frustrating.
1:59 PM - Finally, beli ayin hara, it seems I have procured the ticket I wanted.
4:31 PM - Home. Early. It's an in between finals day... The elevator is broken. It's very hot. I'm schvitzing and tired. And I'm thinking, "Why can't I find me someone kind?" And I'm thinking - "Am I looking?"
7:22 PM - I needed and got some chill time at home. Thank G-d.
8:22 PM - I blinked.
11:27 PM - Honesty. Billy Joel had it right. It's lonely. So hard to be truly honest.
Need to head to bed. Glad I got some test grading and other things done tonight.
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
The words "O chavrusa o misusa," are often regarding the importance of having a study partner. The phrase comes from a story in the Gemorah and in context it clearly means a community/chevra. This is something I think and feel a lot about, particularly at this moment.
I discovered Guster when one of their members was involved in a Chanukah album that I heard about. I find them to be one of a kind and uniquely to my taste. Hard to explain why we like what we do, it is so personal... The things that touch me touch me so deeply. And Guster is one of those cases where I have to remind myself that they are not necessarily to everyone's taste, though it's hard for me to get how that can be.
This is one of my favorites (it inspired a poem six years ago):
Thursday, June 02, 2016
Wow, did I used to write a lot here. Now I write in various places. Like here, on a blog where I share poems of others that touch me. And on the site that shall not be mentioned by name (though I have on occasion, over the years, mentioned it by name) (also here). I don't feel like writing more now, here. But also, I do...
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Alice Munro stories are the literary equivalent of model airplanes. So many pieces, so complex, yet simply beautiful in the end.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
"I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies." - The Little Prince
Thursday, May 19, 2016
"The world is for the instant of the Sabbath reconnected with a primal wholeness." Aviva Zornberg, Bewilderments, page 190
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
I get why I used to want to write here so much. I am changing, it seems. I am living life. I am writing differently, and less publicly.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Eleven years ago I posted these haiku (I thought then that the plural was haikus) (no, it's not).
PS - Also wrote this 11 years ago today:
"During a break in the afternoon I finished The History of Love. I really liked this book. It's the kind of book that the less you know about it going in, the better. I wish I knew someone else who read it that I could discuss it with. I'm a hard sell when it comes to books. I need to be pulled in or you lose me. And this was quite compelling."
Sunday, May 08, 2016
Aviva Zornberg: What Changes For Moshe
I was blessed to hear a transformative, truly profound talk by Aviva Zorberg today. I'd like to share it all. here are some of the points buzzing in my head. Twice G-d told Moshe to take himself and go down from the mountain. But Moshe wanted to go up. He wants to live in the heavenly realm, and asks repeatedly to "cross over." In the end he doesn't gt the crossover he asks for. He gets a different crossover, one that connects not to his relationship with G-d, but one that relates to his people. He makes himself vulnerable to them, tells them how G-d shut him sown when he asked to enter the land. This human sharing gave them a beer chance of hearing his very raw and real tochachah...
This somewhere between an abstract and a teaser. It does not do her talk justice. Hopefully one day in writing and/or in living I will do justice to her thesis.
Sunday, May 01, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Idea For Skit
Monday, April 25, 2016
like sea and dry land. Sometimes memory
is the solid ground we stand on,
sometimes memory is the sea that covers all things
like the Flood. And forgetting is the dry land that saves, like Ararat.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
MY PRAYER THIS PESACH
May Pesach come to us as a redemption. May it be more than a burdensome time of plans, preparations, expectations, more than glorified busyness. May we feel Divine release from what we are enslaved to. May we see the answers that we've cried for come to us. May we be blessed to cooperate and let our redemption unfold.
The first and main thing the Jews had to do before being redeemed was to want it. They cried and their redemption arrived. Then they had to do little but cooperate, as their new lives unfolded. May we merit seeing the experience of our ancestors clear the path for us, their children.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
A Pause, A Few Words
I hesitate. That's a lot of what I do. Sometimes it serves me well, sometimes not so much. And there are odd times when in retrospect I needed to be more hesitant. This applies to my writing here, and to everything.
I take a minute now, mid-day, to pray though blogging. I yearn for the right balance between caution and action. May G-d bless me and you and everyone with wisdom and health and safety and all the ands we want and need.
Tuesday, April 05, 2016
13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married
I Find This Fascinating.
I think one of the greatest writers who ever lived is Dante. I have read “The Divine Comedy” many times. The main thing he is saying is that you are not punished for your sins. You are punished by them. When you have done something that is not the best you could have done, you’ve changed yourself. What you have become, that is your punishment. - Anne Perry
One of the zero
He sits, his head in his hands
Sighing out the day
One of the zero
the zero who read the rules
wasting time in school
He doesn't stand out
from the zero who stand out.
One of the zero
He checks the option;
yes, he agrees to the rules
which he didn't read
"One of the zero,"
he ponders the sound of it
wanting to be more
Just one thing to find
Whatever that one thing is
One can't be enough
There is not one song
that I know all the words to
I realized today
Just when it seems that
you can't possibly succeed
try just one more time
Some days are jazzy,
other ones are rock and roll-
sometimes they're the blues
In some languages
poems and songs share one name
But not in English
"Fly like an eagle,"
Steve Miller's band sings-
And I will- one day
Reb Shlomo Carlebach
was the only one ever
to say I looked "sharp"
One G-d, One G-d, One
And many, many of me;
We believe in him
- Ner le'echad... le'meah -
Can serve one hundred
with both eyes on the same thing
But one looks away
In class- just one pen;
for me it's like forgetting
layers of clothing
I write haiku; rinse, repeat
Until one strikes you
Okay, just please not the glue.
I said not the glue
I've never had a coffee-
unlike Bob Dylan
"make one thing perfectly clear"
I yearn to do that
the party of the first part
or another one
in one way or the other:
depends how you turn
is rarer than one might think
cherish such a thing
That's the one I see right now
Not of tuition
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Sunday, March 06, 2016
Writing is always
a try at a magic trick
an enormous leap
Forceful jumps that leap
freely springing off the ground
maybe I need these
Rarely do I stand
between Egypt and the sea
where I need to leap
Perhaps it is time
for a precipitous passage
via leaps and bounds
Once we have landed
it's time to look and prepare
for the next leap up
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Everyone Has A Name By Zelda
As Translated Here
that God gives
and one’s father and mother give.
that stature and the curve of one’s smile give
and the weave of one’s clothing gives.
that the mountains give
and the walls of one’s city give.
that the stars give
and one’s neighbors give.
that one’s offenses give
and one’s longing gives.
that enemies give
and love for others gives.
birthday celebrations give
and one’s work gives.
that the seasons of the year give
and our blindness gives.
that the sea gives
one’s death gives.
Letter From Steinbeck to His Son
November 10, 1958
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
From Inside Two Workdays of the Week
Monday 1:43 PM - Lacking time to write, yet I feel I should. So much to do. But writing is like breathing. I am running from recommendation wring to teaching to guiding to meetings. Staff meeting in fifteen.
Pausing to drink in the silence and solitude of this brief moment.
Thank you G-d for the gift of life, of love, of feeling, of thinking, of doing, and of being. As I inhale and exhale I contemplate all I have to be grateful for in my life.
Tuesday 1:38 PM - Just called a teacher of mine from graduate school. It was over twenty years ago. I spoke too long on the answer machine. I wanted to tell her directly. I couldn't not say, even into a recording device that she was the best facilitator of discussions of any teacher I ever had and that I remember her so fondly.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Remember: despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves. — Matt Kahn
Monday, February 22, 2016
7:26 AM - Lately I have been answering the question of what to write and where to write it by writing here. I am trying right now to do a free flow. That reminds me of a story I heard Rabbi Frand tell on Shabbos (as part of the
A spider lives inside my head
Who weaves a strange and wondrous web
Of silken threads and silver strings
To catch all sorts of flying things,
Like crumbs of thought and bits of smiles
And specks of dried-up tears,
And dust of dreams that catch and cling
For years and years and years . . .
Friday, February 19, 2016
Fri Feb 19 - 11ish AM (Forgot to note the exact time when I wrote this) Sometimes my work feels non stop to me, bottomless, and ever fulfilling. Four tests this week, two of them today. The teaching is balanced with my caseload of guidees. Pausing now for a second after giving tests to classes in a way that involved them overlapping and taking some time from another teacher because it's Friday and it's science testing week and I went out my way to schedule this test the day after their bio test. And there were two kids who need and are mandated to do the test orally, And one student was overwhelmed and left the paper blank, And and and.
And now a haiku:
Warning and surrendering
with red and white flags
2:49 PM - Just got home a few minutes ago, and it's Erev Shabbos. Feeling tired. My job/my life keep me busy.
I do give a lot. And I like being worried about and looked out for too. I jump to care for others but/and I appreciate being cared for and about too and I am grateful for when I experience that in my life. (Details omitted due to tact.)
2:54 PM - I feel like it's been a long time since I wrote of Zelda.
3:04 PM - Here's one:
May we catch Shabbos
as she flutters
down upon us
wearing a flower
in her sunlit hair.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
7:07 AM - Time fascinates me as I try to not just to squeak through it, but to use it, and often - like now, to muse it.
11:13 AM - Taught a class, gave a test. Now breathing for a moment. Soon, off to a poetry competition for the rest of the day.
On a related note:
One of the moments that struck me in Michael Moore's powerful and beautiful (and political and sincere and snarky) new movie (which is sadly doing poorly in theaters because he is too ill to promote it) was the following. Finland has the best stats in the world for education. They do it very differently than in The US. Very little school time, very little homework, very few private schools. When Moore informs them that poetry is left out of school curriculum one teacher's sad reaction was so visceral, so representative of a high truth that she and I both know to be true. Life without poetry is a very incomplete life. (In the same segment he interviews a teacher who says that his number one goal is for students to be happy people. He asks the teacher what he teaches. Math.)
7:27 PM - Pushing myself to write a bit, as quickly as I can (I type slowly) now I have the urge to take an online test where I'm told how many words I type a minute.) Going to make dinner.
8 PM - Took test -
"Your score: 143 CPM (that is 29 WPM)."
Made spare ribs.
Left dad message.
10:18 PM - So much is not our fault and yet is our responsibility.
11:15 PM - Hareini mocheil lechol mi shehich'is oti...
Good night and G-d bless.