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Productivity

6

I am supposed to be writing. I have numerous deadlines.

I’m unable to organize my thoughts.  I’m unable to find words in the silence.

I consider that sitting at the computer a moment longer will cause me to drown in frustration. I decide to spend the day in the studio. A day turns into a week of productivity, just of a different sort.

Three things I accomplished this week:

1. Meeting in person and speaking by telephone with several people with whom I hadn’t connected in some time. If, God forbid, I die tomorrow, no one will miss the words I failed to write this week. I would, however, regret if I neglected the people I love. I was deeply affected and inspired by this reflection in the New York Times Magazine.

2. Making a mess in the basement studio; I was throwing on the wheel with red clay. I’d love to post pictures, but I’m afraid that my spouse would see them and feel compelled to comment. (Guess which one of us works in a Nanotech Clean Room and which one of us prefers to play in the dirt…)

3. Participating in an art class with my friend and co-teacher Flora Rosefsky. I’d led the text-study session last week and planned to attend her studio-art session this week. I could have stayed home and used the time to write. Instead, I chose to connect with our students through creating art-midrash.

Here are photographs of my Found Art Sculpture titled “One Breath.” If you want to read the only words I’ve written this week—an artist’s statement explaining the piece—click here.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

found object 1 web

One Breath (front)

found object2 web

“One Breath” (back)

 

 

 

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Teamwork

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My October post at Tiferet is a reflection on Genesis 2:18 that I wrote in honor of the better half of my team, who happens to be celebrating a birthday this week:

“It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper corresponding to him.”      (Genesis 2:18)

Scale_of_justice_2.svgThere is a story in our family repertoire about our younger daughter, who told her preschool teacher about our family’s preparation for Sabbath dinners: “My dad is the cook and my mom is the baker. They have good teamwork.”

In addition to being adorable, our budding feminist was sharing one of the values that we had tried to instill in all three children: the need for equality within marriage. We have a pretty egalitarian partnership, and…Read more →

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Wanderlust

1

We had reached an impasse. I stubbornly insisted that he renew his passport and he refused, saying, “I’m not planning to go anywhere.”

As if that was in any way relevant.

The conversation always ended with my exasperated appeal, “It doesn’t matter! You should always have a valid passport!”

passportSure, my need for him to possess a passport was predicated upon my immigrant grandparents’ neurotic fears of deportation. We are, to a great degree, programmed to react or overreact to our ancestral anxiety.  But his grandmother’s family was almost entirely wiped during the Holocaust. I simply could not fathom his having allowed his passport to expire.

Not only anxiety but fantasy motivated my nagging, as well. I’ve always loved to travel and one of my only regrets is that we haven’t had much time or the financial means to do so lately.

When we were newly married and without children, we used to threaten to call one another at work to say, “Meet me at the airport with a suitcase.” But neither of us ever found an opportunity to make good on the threat.

Now we both travel for business—attending conferences, delivering lectures, teaching workshops. One leaves for the airport early on Sunday morning, while the other settles into a fitful sleep after the garage door closes.  We return from our respective trips exhausted, and the re-entry to work and family life is often jarring.

Two months ago, he came home and announced that he had mailed his passport application. I tried not to gloat.

But when the envelope arrived from the State Dept. a few weeks later, while he was attending a conference in Indianapolis, I simply couldn’t resist. I mean, he was already traveling and I could just meet him at the airport with his new, valid passport. Between us we have ample miles on Delta to finance a spontaneous vacation.

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This lighthearted “conversation” ended with my mild oath at our current stalemate. Still, I’m confident that it will happen someday. One of us will make that phone call.

Wanderlust will win.

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