CategoryPersonal

So You Want to Be a Ghost Writer

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I was talking with a friend the other day about being a ghost writer. It’s such a great term: ghost writer. Haunting and secretive, because a ghost writer is the invisible spirit and voice behind a piece of writing that carries another person’s name as the author. But the task of ghostwriting is anything but secretive. It’s deeply intimate. I’ve served as a ghost writer for university...

“I Did the Best I Could With What I Had.”

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Toward the end of his writing career, Philip Roth said in an interview, “I did the best I could with what I had.” I’ve glommed onto that saying, hoping to make it my own. Roth has won almost every major literary award. He’s written thirty books including some of my favorite novels, each one rich with the conundrum of human experience and packed with personal revelations for me: American Pastoral...

Christmas Babies

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That’s me on the left, Julia on the right, both of us born on Christmas, 40 years apart. What better birthday gift can a father receive–a daughter born on his birthday. Extreme gratitude to Harriet, for enduring a torturously long labor to give us a Christmas baby, and to my own mother, Irene. I was her second Christmas baby, three years after my brother Peter was born. Happy birthday...

It’s Not About the Squid

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We spent Christmas Even at my grandmother’s. Suzie and Anthony lived in a modest house in a working class neighborhood, 19th Street in Niagara Falls. On our drive there we would pass the Hooker Chemical and Carborundum plants, five of us kids in the car breathing the industrial fumes and agreeing the scent was sweet and perfumey, and then arriving at Grandma’s and entering a house smelling of...

Attic Drinking: Go Ahead, Judge Me!

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One of the best, or perhaps only, things I like about Facebook is having been in touch with a few friends from my long-ago past, people I will likely never again see in my lifetime. Recently my old friend Russ sent me a video from many years ago. I think I was fourteen or fifteen at the time this home movie—“Attic Drinking”—was shot. When I first watched the video I laughed heartily and I loved...

Pandemic Puzzling

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With the pandemic raging and many people staying home when possible, jigsaw puzzles have become a popular pastime. There’s even been a shortage of them. I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles for years, with both trepidation and determination. Do jigsaw newbies really know what they’re in for? The Hero’s Journey Whenever I work on a puzzle, especially those 1,000-piecers, it’s like I’m undergoing the...

The Blue Period

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Pablo Picasso had a blue period, from 1901-1904, which started with the death of a close friend. During this period he produced almost exclusively monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. At the time, he achieved little success at the time with these paintings, which might be hard to believe now. As he gradually emerged from his...

Dreaming of COVID

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Just a few short weeks ago I wrote about how COVID was getting inside of me and impacting my fiction writing. Admittedly, having COVID infiltrating my thoughts when writing isn’t nearly as bad as getting the virus itself, which I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid. So far. But now COVID has found another way in. Last night I dreamed about COVID for the first time. I was hungry and in...

Savoring the Winter Hike

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I have a new quest: hike all 35 Catskill Mountain peaks over 3500 feet in elevation. I’ve got one down, 34 to go. Today I hiked Westkill Mountain, joining an organized small group because this was my first mountain hiking in winter conditions. It was wet on the lower elevations, snowy with some ice up higher. The sun wasn’t out . . .but the view still inspired. Hiking is one of those...

A New Game I Want to Play

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It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I need to get moving so I head out on my bike because my legs are too tired and toes too achy for running today. I ride as far as the town park and pass by the tennis courts where I play during the summer. The courts are full of pickleball players. I stop and watch. I’ve never played, but I pick up most of the tactics and rules watching the four players on the...

Giving Thanks Should Be a Daily Duty For Me

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Taking a run at Five Rivers and thankful for it. I don’t think about what I’m thankful for often enough. Instead, I tend to get caught up in the negative, I dwell in the dark rooms: things gone wrong, failures, mishaps, misfortunes. It’s hard for me to admit this, and nothing to be proud of. I have to fight against the shadows and remind myself to experience gratitude. I have family and friends...

It’s Time to Play Keep or Cull

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I have left the era of acquiring and now entered the age of dispersing. There are 14 bookcases in my house, most of them stuffed. The kids each have a bookcase in their rooms. Harriet has one for all her cookbooks. The rest are mostly mine. Our two feature bookcases, on either side of the fireplace, I’m trimming out and painting. It’s time to do something about the all books. The time of...

The Not So Lonely Path

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I had to get out for a hike this morning to think some things over. I went to a trail that’s new for me, Bennett Hill Preserve. It was overcast, chilly, and windy — perfect conditions for me. The trail started up a ridge with a view of a dairy farm and cows through the trees and I kept a vigorous pace as the elevation increased and the gray and brown forest thickened. Pretty soon I...

I Honor My Father on Veteran’s Day

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I honor my father today, Bob Klein, veteran of World War II. At the too-young age of 17 he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific. Here’s a photo of him, a long-legged sailor, on his ship. He came back from the war in one piece and lived a long and I believe mostly satisfying life. He didn’t talk much about the war. I remember asking him if he was afraid of getting killed and...

Cheapskate, Environmentalist, or Minimalist?

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I’ve developed an aversion to shopping, both online and in person. Because when you shop, you buy things, and I don’t want more things. I want fewer things. I want to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more. Maybe I’m getting obsessive about it. Last year, I wondered if I actually owned enough clothing to see me through my remaining projected lifespan. Turns out, I don’t. You know those technical T...

David Klein

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

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