CategoryPersonal

A Walk On the Ice

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Cross here? What do you think? Looks pretty good. Better than downstream. The ice is strong right here. Just a little slush on top. What about out the middle? I don’t know. It looks okay. How deep is the water? Just a couple of feet here. But out there, over your head. Great. What do you think? Sun’s out. It’s a warm day. You don’t think we should? What are we going to do on the other side? I...

There’s a Lot Going On Behind a Simple Email

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That’s an email I got from my literary agent, about a year ago. How I appreciate the beauty and precision of a clear and concise email. I’ve given workshops called “Mastering Business Email.” I hammer on the need to be clear and concise in your purpose, meaning, and word choice.  My agent, although she didn’t attend my workshop, checked all the boxes on that email. There’s also the...

What Mom Told Vince, She Told Me

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I would have been twelve, thirteen, this moment I’m remembering. My mom, Irene Klein, was back at work part time taking X-rays for an orthopedic group, my dad working long executive hours. Vince was my mother’s young work colleague and she’d him invited to have dinner with us. My sibs and I squeezed him in at our sagging plank table on the screened porch, sticky fly traps dangling overhead. Vince...

The Black Chemistry

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One of those goddamn depth-of-winter days when the snow is sooty, the sky relentless gray, the trees dismal brown. You force yourself out for a run and make it as far as the cemetery but sure enough your foot aches, you step in a deep cold puddle, and you’re going to die someday. This chaotic black chemistry that is you. Then the freezing rain starts like someone mocking me. I lower my gaze...

Ode to Valentine’s Day

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We didn’t exchange cards this year. We didn’t even send Valentine’s to the kids, who are now young adults. It’s not that we’re not filled with love—we are. But a manufactured day of love doesn’t move the needle for me. I’m not sure when I first started eschewing this holiday. Certainly not when I was a kid, when my mom would overdose us with candy conversation hearts, cinnamon red hot hearts, and...

“Passing” as a Different Person

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I recently read The Vanishing Half (review here), about a young, light-skinned Black woman who makes the life-altering decision to pass as white, and the anxiety and stress that dog her life from that point on while trying to protect her secret. The novel, written by a young Black author, Britt Bennett, is currently a New York Times bestseller. After reading The Vanishing Half, I turned to...

Skating on a Winter Night

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To feel young again on a chilled winter night skating on a frozen pond across the choppy ice To feel young chasing a puck and slapping your stick calling for a pass or attempting one More than scoring a goal your goal is to remain uprightand not smack your brittle bones on ice as hard as concrete To feel the freeze in your fingertips and the run in your nose To hear your skate blades carving...

My Two Favorite Blogs

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This blog post is about blogs, so it’s a meta post. I have two favorite blogs that I regularly read. One is published daily, while the other comes to my inbox twice a week. I know and love some people who are having a hard time right now. Two of the biggest reasons are a feeling of isolation and loneliness due to the pandemic, and anxiety and distress over the fraught political situation and...

The Inevitable Decline

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The guardrail is only about eighteen inches high, a modest barrier dividing a path from a road along one of my favorite running routes. I always leap over the guardrail. It’s more a hop than a leap, since the obstacle is not very tall. No planning required, no lining up the jump, just taking the next stride with a bit higher lift. Yes, that puny guardrail almost tripped me up. Then the...

Time for a Career Change?

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I’ve been a writer for many years but now I’m wondering if it’s time for a career change. Already, I’ve had a lot of careers on my way to becoming a writer. I got the first inkling while driving 1,100 miles to Alabama that I might have a hidden talent I’d never known about. The talent is my ability to keep driving for hours and hours on end and keep myself entertained. But I was driving in a...

Gearing Up for the Solo Road Trip

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What’s more compelling and creatively inspiring than a road trip? How many novels and films have the road trip spawned? From Jack Kerouac’s counterculture buddy trip “On The Road” to Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic, Pulitzer Prize-winner, “The Road,” to . . . National Lampoon’s “Vacation” movies, and a movie I highly recommend, “Almost Famous.” I’m heading out this week on a solo road trip...

The Bills Have Me Riding the Roller Coaster Again

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Owen’s lot in life is to have a father born and raised in Buffalo, NY, and therefore Owen was also fated to be a Bills and Sabres fan, which I admit I carry some guilt over. The Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup in more than 50 years of playing. I was in the stands with my father and brother when they lost in the finals to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975. The Bills are best known for losing...

To Calm Myself, I Spent Some Time With Charles Today

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The last few days have spawned an onslaught of insanity, shame, and sadness in our country, along with a corresponding uptick in anxiety and tension within myself.

So I turned to Charles Bukowski this morning:

And then there’s one of my favorite Bukowski poems, “The Laughing Heart.” This reading by Tom Waits is perfect in tone and voice:

“Getting the Words Right”

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I get asked about my writing process. My answer is: Yes. In other words, writing is definitely a process, often a long one, with starts and stops and dead ends and open roads. But people cringe when they hear that. They just want to write something once and be done with it. That’s rarely a good idea. Fear of Writing When I was teaching writing classes at SUNY Schenectady, I discovered that...

Are New Year’s Resolutions Helpful?

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I like to ask people what their New Year’s resolutions are. It seems like an effective way to start an interesting and meaningful conversation. Or start a fight. Because, come on: New Year’s resolutions? Didn’t we suffer enough in 2020 to now put ourselves through the self-defeating promises made/promises broken routine for 2021? But we all want to be better, do better, and feel better, so we...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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