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Deityblog

Monday, January 21, 2008 at 12:49 AM

כמעמד מיוחד של אין ההופך לשעה להיות יש

I read that line this morning on the bus and immediately two things happened: "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" came on the radio, and I remembered the dream I had last night that was connected to Dead Kennedys' "Pull My Strings."
And this morning, BaMatMaBat is in Jpost. It's a good day.


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Monday, December 24, 2007 at 2:26 AM

Gamble Everything: Chapter 1

One Day Earlier

"What would you say you would want to change about your life, if anything was possible?" He asks me, his gaze level behind thick rimless glasses.
Instantly, I answer, "I would want to have my shit together."
"Interesting." He shifts in his chair, perhaps uncomfortable with my profanity. "Meaning?"
"To be able to have all the little balls in the air nailed down, and not be so overwhelmed by every little thing I have to do. It's keeping me from tackling the big things I want to do in my life." Are there really people out there who don't ever feel this way, who go through life completely unencumbered by crippling anxiety? Who are these people, and what kind of meds are they on?
"Have you tried making lists, Miranda?"
"Yes, but then when I don't get it all done I feel even worse about myself."
"Ah, perhaps you're making your lists too aspirational."
I blink. "Meaning?"
"Try having lower expectations of yourself."
The alarm buzzes.
"Aaaand our time is up, Miranda. Why don't you work on that and we'll see you next week?"


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at 2:18 AM

Gamble Everything: Prologue

Pieces of a novel/short story/something or other I'm working on.

There is this girl. Looks very young, with huge slightly-slanted cat eyes. Small hands with thin white fingers clutching a portable music player, the headphones lodged in her ears. She wears a loose white tunic over a light white skirt, ethereal and inappropriate for a cold December morning. A small brown hat covers short dirty-blonde hair which peeks out in angry unwashed spurts.

Coming onto the bus, she moves erratically, lumbering with the gait of a small animal. She sits down in front of me, and I see her tunic has the words "Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital" on it, along with a mysterious brown stain. She rocks back and forth in her seat, to the music or to some inner rhythm. Her eyes dart from one window to the other. She exudes self-satisfaction and excitement, showing flashes of a smile as if in appreciation of some hilarious private joke. Yet watching her, I am struck by a feeling of deep, unyielding despair, a dark, uncaring past full of loneliness and harsh words. I don't know why.

At the stop right before mine, she suddenly stands up and bounds off the bus to the nearest intersection. A second later, I realize she has left behind a small, black backpack, which now likes half-open on the floor at my feet. I grab the bag and look up, we're still at a red light. I call to the driver to open the door and I'm on the street.

"Hey!" I shout, running toward the intersection, "You forgot something!" I wave the bag in the air. "Hey!" She doesn't hear me. I draw closer, "You left this on the bus!" I'm 20 feet away when she abruptly turns around and stares at me. Then she steps right into oncoming traffic.


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at 2:14 AM

Poem by Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say you have after the novel is published and favorably reviewed.
Beforehand what you have is a tedious delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done after the play is produced and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking when you are planning to get out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you had after the third volume of remarkable poems.
Earlier they accuse you of withdrawing, ask why you don't have a baby, call you a bum.

The reason people want MFAs, take workshops with fancy names when all you can really learn is a few techniques, typing instructions and someone else's mannerisms

Is that every artist lacks a license to hang on the wall like your optician, your vet
Proving you may be a clumsy sadist whose fillings fall into the stew, but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.


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at 2:12 AM

Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford is pure awesomeness. I was home sick yesterday and watched all of her web videos (link on site), where she plays all of the characters in her family, her therapist, agent, childhood enemy, etc. etc. She is insanely talented and hilarious funny in the way she deals with serious issues including depression, anxiety, wanting to make a difference in the world but not knowing how, not having one's shit together, just a few things I might relate to a little bit. Check her out.


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Sunday, June 03, 2007 at 4:01 AM

Make Your Life Extraordinary

Maybe it's an ego thing, or a result of being a child of the 80's, but I've always believed that I was meant to do something big with my life. Have a major impact, do something truly great. Found an organization, fight for human rights and social justice, change the world. I think a lot of people believe this and lose it somewhere down the line in the face of practicality, complacency, and for some, fear. That's what I'm experiencing, anyway.

I have a great life. Love my job; it's interesting work for great causes with some very fun people. Love my home, my friends, my hobbies, my husband. But somehow, with the exception of the husband and friends, who are all wonderful, it's not enough. I don't feel like I'm contributing to the world at the level I want to be, or learning from the world in fundamental, essential ways. I don't want to lead a life of quiet desperation. I've had spiritual "awakenings" and deep epiphanies in my life that would suggest something greater.

And to clarify, I don't believe that I'm somehow superior to anyone else or that I alone can change the world. What I believe is that every single person can and should live their dreams, that the phrase "only human" is a grave distortion of our staggeringly great potential as human beings to channel God into this world and be the change we want to see in it.

I have yet to find, or it has yet to be revealed to me, my personal tafkid in this world, this life. As Yishai says, not using one's talents is like spitting in God's face. I have some thoughts, but a combination of the aforementioned hang-ups have kept me from pursuing these ideas thus far. For now, I'm plugging away at work, supporting Yaakov in rabbinical school so that he can fulfill his dream of being a master Jewish educator. I'm very inspired by his dedication and by the fact that he knows what he wants to do and is damn good at it. In about two years from now, he'll have smicha and it will be time, if I so desire, for him to work while supporting me in my next step. Obviously I don't have to make this decision right now, but it's been coursing through my head constantly and I'm torn between two options that may or may not define the rest of my life.

Basically, it comes down to the following, with pros and cons that are pretty much based on preconceptions that are probably far from reality, but oh well:

~ Human rights law. Ever since I took a class in International Human Rights Law in college, I've wanted to be a human rights lawyer.

PROS: I could be damn good at this, I have the passion, energy and with years of training will have the skills and knowledge to be of assistance to victims of serious human rights violations, in the context of an international body such as the ICC or a human rights organization.

CONS/ FEARS: I could bury myself in three years of law school and come out totally burned out and no longer have the energy to do human rights law, and instead work at a desk for some firm to pay off years of debt. I could also do very well and get a job in international law that will basically mean I'm absent from the lives of my husband and (future) children.

WHAT IT WOULD ENTAIL: Depends on whether I decide to go in Israel or the US. I honestly don't know if I have the strength to go to law school in Israel; it's hard enough without the language gaps, even if I bone up hardcore on my Hebrew in the coming years. So then first, this would entail returning to the States for 3 years (But that's okay, Yaakov and I have discussed the possibility of going to the US for awhile so that our (future) children will have a few years to develop relationships with their grandparents). Oh right, and taking the LSAT. If there's math on the LSAT, I'm screwed and this discussion is already over.

~ Theater. Since I was 7 I've been doing theater in a variety of companies. I've acted, directed, ran a teen theater company and co-founded another company in Baltimore.

PROS: Living out my dream; I love acting and just about everything involved with theater (exceptions: musical theater that takes itself too seriously, David fucking Mamet, Cats, and those ridiculous shows they're making now based on rock stars' greatest hits. Kill me.). I would be committed to doing theater that would impact peoples' lives fundamentally; pieces that challenge, provoke, inspire. I would do theater for social change, I would act and eventually found a company, perhaps in Israel, devoted to theater for social change. Hmm, that's actually a really good idea I just had -- a Living Stage-esque English-speaking theater company in Israel. To the best of my knowledge nothing like this exists here.

CONS: Would have no idea where to start. Would need serious training -- could I get that in Israel? I mean, I don't even really know if I'm any good, I just know it's what I love to do and that I find serious meaning in it, even spirituality, in bringing human stories to life.
Other major con -- would I be able to be financially stable in this field? That's a big, serious practical worry that it's easy to dismiss in the name of carpe diem, but hits you in the ass when the rent bill comes along.

WHAT IT WOULD ENTAIL: Finding a teacher, finding a partner or two, finding a space. Hell, I'd start right now, as a night-job, if I could. Why can't I? Try it out with a few people, at night, for the next couple of years, and see where it goes.

I need to go write to some people.

Thanks for listening!


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Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 5:27 AM

Shabbat with the Shamberginis

I'm just coming down off a glorious high from spending Shabbat with some of the greatest people I know. Yesterday was Dovie Shamberg's bar mitzvah at the kotel, so the whole family came in and lots of amazing chevre were there. After he did an incredible job with kriat haTorah at the kotel (in the blazing hot sun, which my now blazing red chest and face can attest to), we headed back up to the Tzemach Tzedek shul in the Old City for a lovely celebration and very good macrobiotic food. Got to chill with Eliyahu, Yosef, Shaul, Gershon and of course Shlayma and Miriam. Aron and Shoshana were so happy, they were floating on air. Dovie was a total pro, and thanked each one of his siblings for what they've taught him. He told Shlayma, "Thanks for letting me know what's right and wrong." Haha, so true. Avraham and Esther Sutton were there as well, and he gave a beautiful dvar Torah in his usual meditative, stream-of-consciousness style. I really miss learning from Avraham, and I told him so. Who knows, maybe we'll head out there for Shabbat sometime soon.

That night at the subsequent melava malka, Tova had me repeatedly hold her baby, feed him, and burp him. Apparently she has an agenda in getting me to be comfortable with babies. Sorry hon, not for awhile. Lots of other things to do before having kids, including Yaakov getting out of the army and traveling and in general being able to get a least a bit of my own shit together before not only giving birth to but being responsible for the life of another human being. At this point I can barely handle having cats.

Anyway, being around so many incredible people that I know well and feel comfortable with always spurs me to be my best self; I suppose that's often the way it is. So what to do with these feelings of inspiration?

~ CALL IBRAHIM
~ set up chavruta for real
~ have a Shavuot that puts the "holy" in "holiest motherfucking Shavuot ever"

Fun plans for tonight -- dropping off headshots at the home of a director to possibly be cast in a commercial (!), editing footage of "Some Girl(s)" with Michael, finishing cleaning the crap out of the old apartment with Yaakov and getting the new one ready for the arrival of Yish-to-the-I.


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Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 2:12 AM

hello hello hello

Dammit, no matter what I do I can't seem to get back into the blogging groove. Here are some updates:

The Orthodox Anarchist Has Left the Building
Went to Dan's Descent into Exile party the other night. Israel will definitely be a less fun and radical place without him, but I fully support his decision to leave and seek his fortune elsewhere. Dovide and Amy were there, and we made plans to learn together, which I'm very excited about, and which fulfills my stretch from last week -- to make a set time for learning each week. So yay!

Journaling vs. Blogging
Amy and I got into a discussion about journaling vs. blogging: which is more authentic and spiritually satisfying. I feel that I journal and blog for very different reasons. I journal to process, I blog to give people updates about my life, for the most part. Most of what I write in my journal is extremely personal, not stuff I would put up online. I write in there for release, and it's a very freeing and gratifying process. Blogging is also great, but why I'm less drawn to it is because a. I started this blog to keep in touch with friends all over the world, but b. I don't feel that many people are reading, so c. it's hard to focus on it, therefore d. I don't write and e. nobody reads and f. self-fulfilling prophecy self-fulfilled! But I do see the value in it and therefore am trying to break this cycle.

Pop Culture Crap
I'm just gonna say it, I know I should be too cool to give a crap, but I'm pissed that Melinda was kicked off American Idol. She was hands-down the best, she reminded me of a cross between Aretha and Tina Turner, and she got kicked off because she's not as cute or trendy as the other two, who are so saccharine and boring. Whatever, stupid show yields stupid results.

We've Moved...
...so don't go looking for us at our old place. We won't be there. Our new place is on 15 Eilat, and it's very purty, or at least will be when we put all the crap away and our new aron comes. I'll post chanukat habayit details soon.

3 Spiritually Constructive Things for Today:
~ Be productive at work. I know, it doesn't sound so "spiritual," but wasting time is not good for my soul.
~ Daven mincha.
~ Call Amy about chavruta with Dovide.

We shall see....


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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 2:48 AM

Dream

Had a really nice, chill Yom Haatzmaut, and a very meaningful Yom Hazikaron (my first in Israel). But meanwhile, crazy dreams these past few nights. Here's one I remember:

Walking through Nachlaot at night with Y., on some sort of mission to do something. Don't know why Yaakov and L. aren't with us. We get to this area that's a ruin or a museum, a building that had something to do with World War II and Nazis, don't know what. It's pretty scary, in that way that old buildings are sometimes scary at night, especially if they have weird connotations. A female police officer with short hair yells at us that we can't be there, so we leave. On our way out, there's a couple behind us, a father and daughter. But once we're out, they're not behind us anymore, they somehow disappeared, and I say to Y. that I think they were ghosts. Then he leaves, and I'm in Nachlaot at night, but the scary deserted part, and all of a sudden there's a huge crocodile there, covered in the blood of something it just ate, and it's in between me and my way home, so I'm freaked out, and I start banging on doors yelling in Hebrew that there's a crocodile outside and please let me in! and nobody does, all I get is silence and locked doors and I'm desperate and scared. End.

WTF? Anybody want to interpret?


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Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 12:48 AM

what have you done today to make you feel proud?

It's playing in the background, courtesy of Ben, my bleached-blonde fun-loving work little brother.
So yesterday I didn't daven mincha because of an afternoon meeting I had forgotten about. I did, however, learn with Yaakov, and I did spent a significant amount of time with Letters, which I found to be both intuitive and synchronous, so that was great. I was reading some back entries in my journal, old weird dreams, morning pages, and came across an entry that was virtually identical to yesterday's post. And it was March 21, 2006. Things spiral, right? I took it positively, that I'm waking up again, this time at a much better place than I was last year.

So three things for today:

1) daven and learn (should be regulars)
2) more Letters
3) clean for Pesach--always a cathartic experience

Also, while we're on the subject of lists, need to:

1) call my grandmother
2) call Roger about the seder
3) sort out my failure to appear for jury duty in Baltimore--I didn't even get the summons until a week after the date I needed to appear. I hope they don't arrest me at the airport or something. I immediately thought of this cartoon by the genius Emily Flake.

Now "Galileo" is playing and I'm missing Shana and those nights singing at the Shambergs' so much it hurts. So glad we're going back next week.


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