CategoryPersonal

The Posture Experiment

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Like every writer, I spend a lot of time at my desk. That means hours of slumped shoulders, strained neck, and bent back. Hazards of the trade. Today, for example. I’m deep into reading about famously unethical psychology experiments. I lean forward, I peer at my screen, I read and I read. Minnesota Starvation Experiment First, it’s the Minnesota Starvation Experiment (1944-45), which...

THE NICKEL BOYS, Colson Whitehead

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I’ve taken it upon myself to participate in Black Lives Matter. I’ve attended a BLM protest, explored my own experience with racism, made financial contributions, and tried to become more educated and empathetic to the systemic plight of Black Americans. Within this context, I read Colson Whitehead’s THE NICKEL BOYS with high expectations. First, there was the high standard that any Pulitzer...

Thinking of Ice Rinks in July

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Maybe I’m motivated to write about winter because I’m sweating through the hottest, most humid summer I can ever remember, and I haven’t had a chance to swim once. Not once. And I had another reminder of winter when the New York Times, in an article about climate change, pointed to a scientific study about backyard ice rinks. Who knew backyard ice rinks were the stuff of science? The research...

To My Friend Jim

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We met when I was sixteen. We were still in high school and Jim dated a friend of mine who lived down the street. I didn’t see much of him for a few years after that, but then Jim transferred to the university I attended and we lived together in an apartment with Fred our senior year. Jim embraced me as a friend at a time when I had few other friends in college. I could even say he saved me. I...

Elegy for Irene Klein

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A beer and a cig, why not? That’s my mom. I hardly knew her. I left home at age 17 to go to college. She died when I was 24. How can you know your parent when you’re just a kid and a teenager, so wrapped up in your own life, so lacking any perspective? I could see my mom as only my mom and hardly as an individual with a life of her own. By the time I was mature enough to go there, she...

My List of Must-See Movies

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I have already created a list of the Most Important Novels in My Life (which is up for occasional editing and review). Now comes my list of must-see movies. As with the most important novels, for a film to make the list it must meet one or more of the following criteria: It was so profound and meaningful to me that I’ve seen the movie multiple times.It significantly influenced me as a...

July 4th: Happy Birthday You Hot Mess

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Fourth of July 2020. I looked up and down the street. Many houses were flying their flags. I was conflicted. I put mine out. I managed to fly it for an hour or so until I became uncomfortable and took it down. Here I am getting triggered by my country’s flag. I’ve allowed to happen what I’ve railed against: the flag being a symbol of Republicans and the shithead in the white...

I Feel Bad About Restaurants

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To go out to dinner as a child was a rare and special occasion for my family, even when we went to the ubiquitous Your Host, a chain of 31 mediocre family restaurants in the Buffalo area. Fish fries and toast points. Yum! As we got older, into our teen years, my parents would take us out to dinner to a nice restaurant once a year, so we could get a little culture and practice our manners. These...

The Wind Chimes Were Quiet, and Still I Savored Them

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Certain words are becoming important to me. One of them is savor. I wrote about savoring the experience of shaving. Today I took time to savor the wind chimes around our house. We have many. Right now it’s ninety-five miserable degrees outside, the air is silent, nothing stirs the chimes. But when savor calls, you listen. Our newest wind chime. This bronze beauty was a father’s day...

More on My Experience with Race and Racism

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Yesterday we attended the protest rally and march in Troy. It was an incredible scene: thousands of protesters, peaceful marching, incessant chanting, almost everyone wearing a mask. I was proud to attend. I recently wrote about my earliest memories of race and racism. Here’s what I remember after that, from my years growing up in Buffalo: In sixth grade I joined the St. Mark Lions 90-pound...

Racism: A Personal Introduction

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BUFFALO, NY, 1960s. I’m seven or eight years old, the fourth of five children in my family, three girls, two boys. We live on a busy street in a wood-structure, single-family house in a white neighborhood. At the end of the block is the Catholic elementary school I attend. I have no black classmates. I don’t know any black people. Next door to us is a two-family. The Millers move in on the second...

Today I Flew the Flag, Not Upside Down

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Julia asked if I was putting the flag out today. I realized I should. I flew it for one reason only: It’s Memorial Day and I wanted to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military. They deserve this honor. Otherwise, I haven’t been flying the flag. The last time I did, in 2016, I flew the flag upside down as a call of distress. I got some pushback over that. I’ve been...

Memorial Day 2020

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May 24, 2020. Memorial Day Weekend. This is the front page of the New York Times today: 100,000 thousand dead so far in the United States from COVID-19. So far. The sub-head to the story states, “They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us.” There will be more deaths. Probably many thousands more. Compare this number to the number of U.S. deaths in war. Almost twice as many...

My First Novel Was a Disaster

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I’m on page 38 of 327 pages of a novel I’m reading and I want to put it down. I’m uncomfortable reading. Anxiety is building in me. Anguish weighs me down. Even shame. And yet — I also experience a sense of wonder. The novel is called THE PETTING ZOO, and it’s the first novel I wrote, 30 years ago. I came across the manuscript — wasn’t sure I still had it...

COVID-19 Reaches the Cottage

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My calendar has been a lot less full these days. It’s the nature of my lifestyle during COVID-19 and my life in general as a writer: I have unstructured time that I use the best I can. Today I had an alert from my calendar: this is the weekend I’m supposed to open the family cottage. The cottage is an inherited asset shared among my siblings and is a lifelong gathering and living...

David Klein

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

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