CategoryPersonal

My Brilliant Career

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People sometimes ask me how I became a writer. Well, the path was anything but straightforward. I didn’t start out wanting to be a writer, but I gradually veered in that direction, bumping a few guardrails along the way. Here is a list of all my paying jobs (unless I’ve forgotten some). Does this constitute a career? One definition of career is “a person’s progress or...

Quest for Fire

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About the only thing I remember from Tom Wolfe’s novel, “A Man in Full” (the much less successful followup to “Bonfire of the Vanities”), was a character who said that when he wanted to make a fire he started with a tree. I liked that. In many ways, I’m like that. Sure, I have a nice fireplace where all I need to do is arrange newspaper, kindling, and firewood...

Dog Person, Cat Person, People Person

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Are you a dog person or a cat person? Apparently, you need to choose a side. I can tell you right now I am not a dog person. That doesn’t mean I don’t like dogs. I do. Dogs are fine. They can be playful and fun. But I don’t like it when dogs jump up and put their paws on me. Or when they have to stick their noses in my crotch or slobber on me. I don’ t like dogs licking me...

A Patron of the Arts Is Gone

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When I think of the Koch Brothers, I think of Charles and David and the behemoth Koch Industries. My impression of the Koch Brothers: ruthless capitalists and libertarians. Conservative and greedy polluters. I didn’t know of the eldest Koch brother, Frederick, whose obit I just read in the New York Times: “Frederick Koch, Who Spurned Family Business, Dies at 86.” It was this...

Time for a Library Visit?

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For me, the best part of my local library is the book collection. There’s also music and video content, and a Library of Things: games, museum passes, even fishing poles. There are popular programs for kids, teens, and adults. There’s a full schedule of book discussions, school visits, mentoring, volunteering. I do some writing at the library (but not this post). I’ve decided...

Six-Word Memoirs

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There is a legend about Ernest Hemingway responding to a challenge to write a six-word story with this: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” That’s about as devastating and definitive as a story can be–whatever its length. And it has inspired many writers to construct six-word stories and memoirs. Here’s another one, unlikely written as a six-word memoir, but...

A No-News Day?

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Still dark and frozen when I padded in my slippers down the driveway to retrieve my New York Times this morning. I haven’t opened it yet. I’ve watched the Australian Open. I’ve read about my lowly Buffalo Sabres. But the real news is getting me upset. I can’t read it. I don’t want to see it. I wish the Times wasn’t delivered in a plastic bag. I had a paper...

What to Write Next?

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I’ve handed my novel THE SUITOR over to a trusted reader. I spent most of the past year writing little else. I wrote some posts on this blog. I scribbled a note or two on stray ideas. But the vast majority of my writing time was devoted to THE SUITOR. Now I’m waiting. With waiting comes new and unstructured writing time. My first thought is always what novel I’m going to write...

Winter is Painting Time

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During the winter I start painting rooms in my house. Every year, at least one room gets the treatment. This year it was the entrance breezeway and the adjoining den, where I have my desk. I just finished and I’m still not sure what color I painted. Two colors, actually: one called Greyhound (breezeway) and one called Iced Marble (den), plus a trim color, called Snowbound. The wall colors...

My Sauce is Comfort Food

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I learned to make sauce from my mother, who learned from her mother, two women of Italian descent who knew how to cook without looking in a book. We’d have sauce at least twice a week growing up: spaghetti and meatballs, usually, often with garlicky braciole rolled with twine and simmered right in the pot. A variation used penne or rigatoni instead of spaghetti. A special occasion called...

This is Called Doubt

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I started thinking about the novel and got anxious that the characters are stupid and unappealing, or stock, or boring. They are duds and the story is a dud and the language is ugly and the writing forced.  The voice is wrought or annoying or soundless. The plot is vapid. The pace dull. This is called doubt. Crushing, debilitating, self-loathing doubt. I take full responsibility. I am disparaged...

Today in a Cemetery

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I visited Lee, Massachusetts today and found myself in the Fairmount Cemetery. It’s an old graveyard, with sections of leaning, faded granite slabs, many greened with lichen. Names and dates you’d need a rubbing to read. Other, newer sections were populated with obelisks and polished slabs. I walked among the gravestones and the air was cold and occasionally the sun peeked out and I...

Which One is Better–the Book or the Movie?

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The dictum says the book is always better than the movie. Consider: you read a great novel, get absorbed in the fictional world, accompany the characters on their journeys. Your imagination creates every face, pictures every scene. You lose yourself for pages and pages. You loved the book. You hate the movie. Or, at best, the movie is okay. They did a pretty good job repurposing this incredible...

I’m the Curator of a Little Free Library

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A perfect autumn day for the library. Harriet gave me the idea to sponsor a Little Free Library. She seems to know when I need a project to focus on, and this one fit me well: I’m an author, an avid reader, and we have many full bookshelves in our house—books as furniture, we call that. I have just enough skill and an assortment of tools to believe I could design and build my own library rather...

A Fitting Epitaph

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A favorite place of mine is the Five Rivers Environmental Center just down the road from where I live. When the kids were young we would hike the many trails, catch frogs in the streams, and visit the educational center. When by myself now, I run on the trail network, chasing deer and getting chased by Canada geese. There’s one spot I always visit. A small sign with an arrow points from the...

David Klein

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

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