Diving at the deep end

•July 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment
“I must not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”
– Frank Herbert
So often, people have a dream, something they want, something worth striving for, but they are too afraid to try.  They might fail, or be rejected, and hurt, so they decide it is safer to stay where they are, taking no risk.  They choose to be ruled by fear.
In American politics today, fear is a super commodity, dictating everything we do, or don’t do, to run our country.  It is on a scale that is difficult to comprehend, or define.  Fear has become a juggernaut.
I don’t live without fear, I’m neither stupid, nor oblivious.  I am aware of danger of all kinds, but I have made a choice not to let it paralyze or cripple me.  Sometimes I take risks and get hurt, but I live.  I experience my world more fully for leaving my comfort zone.
As a mother, of course I want my children to be safe, and happy, but I can’t protect them from the world.  They have to learn to face fear, take risks, and recover from the hurts.  Telling the person two seats over in math class that you think they are cute – very scary stuff, and while rejection is painful what if they think you’re cute too?  Risk can be rewarded.  Trying out for a play when you aren’t sure of yourself, exposing yourself to criticism by so many people – what if you land a part, and get to join something that lets you grow?
It’s easy to look at those examples and brush them off as petty and childish, but what are the fears that stop you?
Life hurts, life is brutal, and there is no way to keep yourself truly safe.  You will lose people you care about, you may suffer financial reversals, possibly through no fault of your own.  You will be hurt and disappointed by friends and loved ones.  I’m not saying they will viciously turn and betray you, but they are human.  People overlook important dates, they forget things that you’ve said, they have bad days and lash out at whoever is nearby.  And if we care about these people, we are vulnerable, we are open to being hurt.
Some people want the reward, the closeness, the love, but get panicky when they are vulnerable.  Or they put someone on a pedestal thinking “this person loves me and would never cause me pain,” which makes the small mistakes and disappointments feel like betrayal.
So join me at the deep end.  Don’t think, “maybe I could get hurt,” recognize instead, this will hurt, but I can survive it and look at the dreams I’m embarking on!  Remember, if it hurts, you’re still alive, and living is why we are here.  Don’t just swish your toes at the edge, dive in!
For every little personal risk we take, for every fear we face in our personal lives, we grow stronger and more capable of standing up to the monolith of fear.  Every fear you conquer brings confidence in what you can do, and what you can try next.
Go, sample tapenade or sweetbreads, take a walk through a new neighborhood, write a poem, ask for a kiss at the end of a date, change the world by changing yours.

Finding Home

•July 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Standing at the shore in the deepest night,
Voices call to me from both the left and right.
Darkness flows through me like the sea,
Laps at everything I touch, waves of me,
Unfathomable, unattainable, inevitable.
Which whispers will call me home?

Sometimes I for…

•September 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes I forget I have a choice

When madness calls with seductive voice.

I have tricks to keep my thoughts at bay;

I live in the dark and shun the day,

Live in the moment, a world of play!

Or find the control to walk away.

Thoughts chase each other warding off sleep,

A prelude to the darkness that creeps,

Poison that seeps into thoughts and dreams

Can take my life apart at the seams.

I wish one of the choices that I could see

Was to be in a world that will accept me.



All rights reserved.  This blog and all it’s contents is the original creation of Jennifer Maher, the author / publisher.  No part of the contents may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the author / publisher.


•September 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Writing Prompt: Describe a hot day without using the words sun, hot, warm, humid or sunny. Challenge yourself to find new words.

I sat down on the bench and immediately my sweaty skin seemed to adhere to the green plastic. There was no shade in sight. Sol’s rays came down unobstructed by clouds, and reflected off the concrete creating a nearly blinding glare wherever I looked.

The bench was hard and not especially clean. I knew when I stood up, I would hear the sucking sound as my thighs painfully peeled off of the slick surface. For now, I was simply grateful for the chance to rest. Each incremental rise in the mercury leeched energy from me as surely as it wrung moisture from my body.

Giggling voices, a shrill bark and jingling bells came to me through a haze. Looking over to my right, I saw two girls pulling a high-sided wagon, painted bright yellow and festooned with small bells on ribbons. A white toy poodle wore a signboard that said “Cold Lemonade.”

The entrepeneurs moved like dandelion fluff, carried here and there on a breeze only they could feel. Then there was a lemonade stand which gleamed with the same vitality as the bold yellow flowers that are the end result of the dancing fluff.

“Hey, lady,” I could only admire the lithe, bronzed figure that addressed me. “Wanna buy a cup?” What I found ennervating, was invigorating to these pixies. “It’s only 50 cents a cup.” Up close, I could see where ultra-violet rays had showered kisses in a sprinkling of freckles across noses and cheeks. Streaks of blonde shone bright as the light that brought them out.

I reached into my coin purse and pulled out two quarters, which winked and flashed as I handed them over. A work of art, no more than 8 years in the making, framed in frayed denim and dusty ginham, mounted on the unlikely pedestal of rubber flip-flops, brought me my glass.

I said “thank you” as I held the icy cold cup up to my cheek, letting the ‘dew’ forming on the side bring the first pleasure. I inhaled the sweet, tangy scent of childhood, then tipped the cup to my lips. The cool, refreshing liquid cascaded over my tongue and down my throat in the flavor of summertime and youth. I closed my eyes and savored the memory of bare feet in green grass, chasing lightening bugs, best friends, hopscotch, secrets shared and first kisses.

I looked at the sky. It no longer seemed viciously scorching. It now appeared to be a bright beach ball floating in a cool pool. A source of delight. The reflected glare became a shared glow, the pull I felt from the bench as I stood up was that of a friend who doesn’t want to say good-bye.

As I walked away, the girls were each pocketing a quarter and looking very satisfied. I couldn’t help thinking how much more they could have charged if they let people know the water they used was from the fountain of our youth.




All rights reserved.  This blog and all it’s contents is the original creation of Jennifer Maher, the author / publisher.  No part of the contents may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the author / publisher.

Getting my house in order

•August 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

A lot of uploads today and perhaps more in the next couple of days, as I round up things I have been writing in the past several months and actually put them on the blog.

There are several pieces that were written in response to events that occurred some time ago, and various holiday bits for dates past. Trust that they were written in a more timely manner than that of their posting.

It is an election year and I am finding it harder to maintain a calm and pleasant demeanor in the face of some of the outrageous statements that are coming from the political arena. There is a strong possibility that my curmudgeonly nature will be brought to the fore by politics before the election is decided. As the saying goes, “I used to be a people person, but people ruined it for me.”

Because I am pulling together writing that spanned several months (perhaps more if I decide to really dig into my notebooks, I mean once you’re committed to typing things out from longhand…) please bear with me as I sort and tag things. I will probably edit tags and categories for a bit until I get to just the system I want.


Valentine’s Thoughts from the Motor City

•August 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This originally appeared as guest blog on The Zola System (www.alexzola.com) in February 2012

Valentine’s Day has us all thinking about love, whether with jubilation or bitterness
may shift from year to year. It’s nearly impossible not to have an opinion, so I have been
giving it some serious thought.
New love has that amazing intensity that makes the rest of the world fade into
insignificance. You spend the time apart focused on how long until you can be together
again; like a junkie waiting to score the next fix.
Coming from Detroit, where if you cut us, we bleed motor oil, I can’t help but think
in terms of cars. The shiny, new car that looks amazing, all that power under the hood….
Sitting in the driveway listening to the radio because you just don’t want to get out yet.
Some of us are so addicted to that newness that we trade for a new model as soon as the
new car smell fades. Love is the same way; some people are so addicted to falling in love
they are constantly finding a true love but never want to commit to the next stage.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are those relationships that have lasted for
decades, that show us how close people can grow over time. We’ve all seen some
relationship or marriage that we looked upon as the ideal we might aspire to. We look at
these pairs the same way we watch the cars in a Dream Cruise.
My heart beats a little faster when I see a candy apple red, ’58 ‘Vette with its chrome
shining in the sun, or a ’69 Cougar hard-top with the paint buffed to a high gloss. I envy
those drivers the same way I do when I see a couple who have clearly been together for a
long time, and just as clearly, still enjoy each other. Whether they are holding hands while
walking and talking together or laughing while they are eating out, I always think “I want
But somewhere between a brand new car and a cherished classic auto, is an old car.
I think the key to get from that brand new love to the love of a lifetime is in being able to
appreciate that old car. Maybe the body work isn’t pristine anymore and it sucks down
more than its fair share of gas, but is it dependable? Can you trust that it is going to make
it through your day to day trips? Count on it? Maybe it isn’t as fast off the line as it was in
the beginning, but you can still enjoy the ride if you focus on what is good about what you
have instead of what has changed.
Of course, if you love and care for your car from the start you have a much better
shot at winding up with a classic to enjoy later on than if you are careless or abusive. Most
important though, is to pick what you would like to have for a long time and not think of it
as what you can get by with until something better comes along.
Choose wisely and enjoy the ride!

Travel is so enlightening

•August 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I was on a trip recently and had an early morning flight to catch (7 a.m.) so I scheduled an airport shuttle. Expected time of arrival was 4:45-5:00 a.m. Fine. At 5:02 I tracked my shuttle on-line, it was eight miles away, not so good. At 5:06 I checked again, pick up was listed as complete, so not good.

After waiting on hold, customer service told me the shuttle driver had canceled my pick up for some unexplained reason, but had called me a cab which should be there in about 10 minutes. Okay.

At 5:30 I called again, customer service said they hadn’t been able to get a cab over to me (really? In L.A.?) so a new shuttle had been dispatched, I could expect it in about 10 minutes.

5:45, I got an automated call telling me my shuttle would be arriving in, wait for it, about 10 minutes.

6:00, I called again to check on the status of the shuttle, the operator was watching the driver on GPS, he was about two and a half miles away. The operator figured the shuttle would be there in about 10 minutes, and he was!

I could tell you about the frantic ride to the airport, trying to get through security (x-rays and swabs for explosives, no scanner for my boarding pass) but it would take about 10 minutes, and who has THAT kind of time?