Dora Maar, by Picasso

good riddance.
and don't talk to me about
loss of menstrual powers
that linked me to the moon--

Clearly a Musician: Sarah Beth Briggs
British pianist Sarah Beth Briggs discovered her musical talent at the age of four when her father, an amateur pianist, began to teach her how to play the piano. Her mother also encouraged her, but neither parent pushed her. Now she pushes herself: Not yet 30, she is a world-class musician, playing with orchestras and at...(more)

Drawing Lines
It was the holy day of Shbu'oth. I traveled up from Eilat to spend it in Jerusalem. I had the option of going to a free Jewish youth hostel in the old city. The hostel managers set up travelers with families, for Shabbath (sabbath) and holidays. But it was hopelessly Ashkenazi. And ultra-orthodox. It was out of the question. I went to a pricey youth hostel in the new city, with the hopes of finding a Mizrahi synagogue and...(more)

"First, Are You Jewish?"
When I was 15 or 16 years old, I was involved in a Labor Zionist Youth Group, mainly because my friends were, like some of my friends were volunteering at the American Conservatory Theater so I volunteered there. We were practicing to do a folk dance routine -- I forget what the occasion was...(more)

Hebrew School

in hebrew school

we learned


to say the name of god...(more)

Expressions From Her Window:  Hero Joy Nightingale Tells It Like It Is
She edits an award-winning e-zine of poetry, travelogues, and experiential writing
. Not bad for a 13 year-old girl.   When she was eight years old, she attended the Royal Academy of Music in London to study music composition. Not bad for a girl who...(more)

Straight to the Heart of Hollywood Moxie: A Candid Interview with Sally Kirkland
As I arrive to interview Sally Kirkland at her hideaway bungalow in Malibu, I see the actress coming up the beach toward me, toweling off the salt water from her swim. At 5' 9", Sally is statuesque in a 1950s style suit with broad white and navy stripes. She greets me with a warm smile, then brushes strands of blond hair away with the back of her hand and invites me in out of the wind...(more)

You try to smooth out my rough edges. But I like my sharp points.
I like drawing them

across everyone's ukulele strings, plucking them out like
gray hairs. You try to sculpt me like...(

No Confusion Here
I have no confusion regarding my sexual identity. I know exactly who I am, where I am, who I'm with, and why. It's everyone else who seems to have a problem.  I'm a lesbian, who happens to be married to a man. By choice. I know...(

Pride and Joy: The Lives and Passions of Women Without Children
Can women "have it all"? Increasing numbers of women are deciding that they don't want it all. In Pride and Joy: The Lives and Passions of Women Without Children, Terri Casey relates the tales of 25 childless women. Far from the stereotypical selfish or child-hating old crones, Casey's vibrant, happy confidantes-- married, single, divorced, or widowed, and a few lesbians--have chosen to remain childless for a variety of reasons including...(more)

"Technicolor Nightmares: Who the hell is that woman?"
The night a friend snapped my picture I was feeling--you know--gorgeous. I had that electrifying feeling that provokes hair-tossing, joke-telling, hand-on-hip posing, and hip-swaying.   In the picture, I did not look gorgeous. I looked anxious, exhausted, and raccoon eyed. I had...(more

What's In a Name?
I've been trying to invent an alias for myself, but I never realized how tough it is. Almost any name should improve on my own. Kush rhymes with tush, and Kushner clunks. It seems ethnic but unappealingly so, as if from a country no one cares to visit. The name Eve led to childhood taunts like "Where's Adam?" (right next door, unfortunately) and "Leave, Eve!" It's a palindrome, for God's sake. No wonder...(more

The Whole Woman
When a woman surrenders her need for social approbation, she is apt to utter remarkable things. I remember how my face burned as a teen-ager watching my mother - long past the decorative roles of woman - boldly quiz a shoe salesman on his personal justification for capitalism. Candor is sweet revenge for older women whose ripened souls can - at last! - slough off the dull cloak of "niceness" like...(

Whose Kind of Crazy?
I think I've disgusted my therapist of almost four years: since I first went to see him in his bright home office tucked in the hills, I have transformed from "weird-bald-waif-stranded-in-Marin-County-because-the-VW-van
-her-back-to-Arizona-if-she-didn't-get-some-help" to "successful (I use the term loosely)-writer-married-to-charming, handsome, Jewish personal trainer." And still insecure, ridiculous, jealous and compulsive...(

Woman as Goddess
Mythifying a woman by bestowing her with divine status is a time-worn and recurring phenomenon in Indian society. Myths reduce a complex issue to a simplistic, easily understood formula and is repeatedly used with devastating effect in several areas of popular life. The British Council, in conjunction with the Multiple Action Research Group, Delhi, organized a brilliant exhibition called Woman/Goddess, which will tour Calcutta, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. The photographs, made by 25 male activists...(

Black Belt
I'm garbed in nine pounds of 100% heavyweight cotton fabric as I sit in seiza ("say-zah"), the Japanese kneeling position, on a mat dampened and sticky with the perspiration of forty bodies. Those wily samurai of ancient Japan are the purported originators of the wacky outfits now worn for training in this particular martial art, aikido. White drawstring pants, a quilted, long-sleeved jacket held in place by a smartly tied white, brown or black belt overlaid with a navy blue or black hakama, six yards of fabric made into an ankle-length skirt-culotte-diaper affair.... (more)

You call me an enigma
And to you I wink ;-)
For you rightly call me a puzzle half seen
Set behind frosted windows and stained glass
And I do not share so easily
Those gossamer wings and delicate fragrances
That my laughter seeks to hide.
... (more)

Dirt, The Last War
Oh how tired she is of the bitching and cleaning, cleaning and bitching. That voice flat as a spatula, slapping at air, same questions and accusations, her mother crouching in some who-sees-it corner, scrubbing at mouse turds. What do you plan to do with yourself? What kind of answer is that? How do you expect to earn money? What kind of answer is that? Twenty-three years old. No job, no husband, no house. .... (more)

The enneagram is a complex, ancient system of nine personality types that is often helpful in figuring out how you and your friends, lovers, colleagues, bosses, and national leaders operate. While enneagram experts claim that it is not possible to change which "point" you are, all acknowledge that under optimal circumstances, you operate much like one of the other points, and under stress, much like another..... (more)

The Would Be Entrepreneur
Five years ago my sister and I started a business. I should say now that this is not a story of venture capital and IPOs. There are no Stanford graduates anywhere near this story (they wouldn't be caught dead near it!). Also zip for the generally advised 6-9 months of operating capital. We started a mail house, or what is sometimes still called a lettershop, with $2000 in borrowed money and a labeling machine. Along the way, I have learned as much about myself as about my chosen line of work...(more)

Disrupted Fantasies
It's happening more and more. Reality keeps interrupting my fantasies.

It's like that pre-recorded message from the Emergency Broadcast System that interrupts TV shows, but this show is in my mind; "WE INTERRUPT THIS FANTASY TO INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE A 35-YEAR OLD WOMAN WITH A HUSBAND AND TWO CHILDREN, AND THIS COULD NEVER, EVER HAPPEN TO YOU!" For example, I'll never be a rock star. This is the fantasy I usually have in the car. I'll drop the kids off at pre-school, take their "Raffi" tape out, and pop-in my own selection.... (more)

Looking For Lost Bird
A wise woman I know once observed we often discover who we are by first learning who we are not. The journey from innocence to self-discovery, however, is neither straight nor smooth. An intriguing road map of one woman 's trek is found in "Looking for Lost Bird: A Jewish Woman Discovers Her Roots." At 43 years of age, author Yvette Melanson is unexpectedly gifted with a new family and cultural identity. "I used to be white. I used to be Jewish. I used to be rich. And as anyone can tell from my speech, I used to be from New York. " A fateful Internet search revealed she was taken from her mother on a Navajo reservation and adopted by a suburban couple.... (more)

Mom and Apple Pie
"Sorry, Honey. I'll be home late again tonight," Bill had cooed in his placating voice. "Maybe an hour, maybe two."

Cora wondered what would happen if he came home tonight, and found her gone. Would he search the house, calling "Cora! Cora!" in the same demanding tone he used to call the dog? Would he grumpily turn on the TV, wondering why the hell she couldn't leave a note? Later, would he go into the bedroom, check the dresser; her two top drawers, find them empty? Would he see that the big green Samsonite suitcase was gone, and Cora's red coat missing? Or would he doze off watching TV and panic when he awoke in the morning, stiff and disoriented, and realize it was tomorrow, and still no wife?... (more)

Nameless Forever
I knew that Christmas came when the snow was deep on the ground, but we didn't celebrate Christmas at our house because my parents were orthodox Jews who had immigrated from Russia....(more)

Ooooh... I'm telling on you. I'm gonna tell on you. This isn't something you should be doing. You know better. You know you know better. So why are you letting this man make love to you like this? Why you let him kiss you in those places? If your mother ever found out she'd kill you and you hate to make her angry you hate hurting her so why you keep letting him do you this way? Does it feel that good? Yes it does. You know it does. It isn't your time yet. No it isn't your time. What happened to when I'm married? What happened to the next guy has to be sincere and he has to love me? What happened to he has to love me? You forgot that? It wasn't that long ago...(more)

This Woman
This woman who let me out,
will never fit into my shoes.
I wish no resemblance of her, but
I would like her, at least,
to comprehend....(

Virtual Love
On the book jacket, VIRTUAL LOVE is described as "Liaisons Dangereuses for the electronic age, at once shocking and, in the most subtly sense of the word, romantic." The book is about Marc and Aphra, two psychiatrists who agree to a "teacher and student" relationship so he can learn sex therapy from her. Eventually, though, these learning sessions in "space" bring the two much closer than intended....(more)


I hear a call. I donít know where it is coming from, or if it is just a trick of my mind, but I hear it nonetheless. A call from a time long past. A time when there were no cities. And there was no "society," as we know it today. A time when people and animals were one. When survival was the basis of life. When there was endless land. Before technology. Before the internet. This time no longer exists, yet I keep longing for it, and dreaming of a way that I can somehow return. Going camping in the wilderness isnít enough. I know that it is just a vacation that will soon end. Reading about it isnít enough. Something deep inside of me is screaming out that I have been misplaced in this time period. That my heart and soul are waiting for me somewhere else. But I donít know how to get there....(more)

Boobie Pride
When I was 9, my mom told me it was time to get a bra.

I looked down and asked her why. She told me that it would look better, people wouldn't stare. What do you mean stare? I thought about our recess boys-and-girls-still-play-together soccer games, June school trips to La Grande Splashe, and my Superwoman Halloween costume and assured myself that some stupid little wire, a couple of straps, some elastic, and a bit o' bounce wasn't gonna change any of that.
.... (more)

Bridal Obsession
It has been my observation that men hide porn, and women hide bridal magazines. Those ubiquitous ad-packed two-inch thick bibles of bride-dom can't possibly survive only on the readership of actual brides-to-be. The slack is picked up by we closeted romantics, we covert seekers of the Perfect Dress, we who secretly dream of cruising the aisles at Crate & Barrel with a clipboard and a fiancé. We may not be engaged. Hell, we may not even be dating anyone, but that doesn't lessen the collective longing to leaf through pages of veils, china and all-inclusive resorts..... (more)

The Farmer In the Dell
When I was six years old my parents sent me to a summer day camp. It was at some school for "smart" kids and it was the first time I was the only black person in the room. It was my first time being the "only". I didn't think much of it because I had been to school with white kids before but there was always other brown people around too. This time it was just me being the only black person on the room. But since it didn't seem like such a big deal to anyone in my life I didn't treat it like one..... (more)

Feminism, Art, and the White Man I Love
"I live with the feminist opposition here," my boyfriend Josh said in class today. Everyone laughed. I had been trying to interrupt him. But I am not opposing him.

Things infuriate me, and sometimes it's hard to feel confident. I stand in the check out aisle of the grocery store and look at the magazines. I see the weird stylish women with sullen faces and I just have this longing to fight it. This stoic model is not only an unhealthy vision for us, but she is coupled with disturbing phrases: GET HIM TO MARRY YOU; LOSE TEN POUNDS IN ONE WEEK; HOW TO ENJOY SEX. You know what I mean! When I pick up one of those glossy magazines, thoughts swim around in my head that shouldn't be there. I wish I could wear that, and not be the Thigh Queen. If I buy that lipstick, maybe I could look like Tyra Banks. I hope Josh doesn't leave me for someone prettier
..... (more)

Loved from Afar
I had a star sighting the other day at a Chinese restaurant and the only thing I could share it with was my coat. I was dining alone, something that at one time was unheard of but is now my norm. While I do have a boyfriend, something recently has come between us; unfortunately it's the entire US of A..... (more)

"My How Time Flies"
Through a smeared window, I look out at withering roses and parched herbs. I've failed at gardening and I hate housework. An odd smell suggestive of cat urine clings to the carpet and objects of unknown origin lurk beneath my unmade bed.

I choose my friends carefully. It isn't just anyone that can be admitted to my inner sanctum of dirt and decay. Nasty isn't "in" this decade. Nasty is especially repulsive to my female friends. Most women just don't get the glory of grunge..
... (more)

Peeling Off the Labels
My parents insist that I was "bad" from the beginning. By this they mean that I cried a lot in infancy. Here's what Dad once told my husband: "We never knew what to do with Ilana. Her sister, Joyce--now, she was easy. If she cried at night, I'd say, 'Hey, kid! Quit crying!' And she would. But no matter how much I yelled at Ilana, she'd keep carrying on.".... (more)

Thud! Went My World
"Just have fun tonight, whatever you do," Dennis said. "I'm not going to go to the drive-in."

"Are you sure?" I asked.

Dennis and I stood in the walkway of my front yard discussing plans for Friday evening. It was July 22, 1983. I was 15 and Dennis was 17, and we were girlfriend and boyfriend. I wanted him to come with me to the drive-in; he wanted to go fishing. Our little tiff was spoiling the day....

What Makes A Girl
Are we wired at birth or can we be shaped to be female over time?

That's the question Sharon Krum of the Guardian (London) asked me this morning. She's writing an article about the boy whose penis was mutilated in a botched circumcision when he was 8 months old in 1964. His parents were advised at Johns Hopkins, where world-famous sexologist John Money taught, to change him into a girl.... (more)

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