CategoryPersonal

A No-News Day?

A

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?

W

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

W

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

M

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

T

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

T

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?

W

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

I

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

A

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...

My Love for Pecha Kucha

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One advantage of living near colleges and universities is that innovative galleries such as the Opalka Gallery at Sage College host Pecha Kucha nights. Pecha Kucha is a unique presentation format: you get 20 slides, each slide stays on screen for 20 seconds and then automatically advances to the next. You get exactly 6:40 to present (20 slides x 20 sec/per = 400 seconds = 6 minutes 40 seconds)...

Art as Nightmare

A

I recently visited Art Omi, a sculpture and architecture park in Columbia County. We were able to ride bikes through the 120-acre park, on dirt paths and grassy slopes, stopping near each installation. The art was original and thought-provoking, the early autumn weather warm and colorful. I’ve got family with me. It’s one of those days you’re just lucky to have. Near the end of...

What I Think of Refugees and Immigrants

W

They come from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Myanmar. From Nigeria and Yemen and the Congo. Venezuela and Columbia. They are refugees and immigrants. They are in the United States because they have been lucky enough to escape a previous and often dangerous life to start a new and hopefully better life. For hours every day, they work on their English skills so they can learn to shop, communicate...

7.1 Loma Prieta Earthquake, 30 Years Later

7

October 17, 1989. Some dates you never forget. I was living in Santa Cruz, CA when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. The world shook. My world shook. Ironically, at the moment the earthquake began, 5:07 pm, I was helping move my ex-girlfriend into a new apartment because we had broken up after living together for four years. It was a devastating moment. We ran out into the driveway. I member...

Write for Expression, Not Recognition?

W

I’ve been thinking a lot about artistic expression and its relationship to public recognition. A primary reason I write is to express myself. Whether I’m writing a novel or a journal entry, I’m trying to say something. Its meaning isn’t always clear to me, especially in the beginning, but eventually, through writing, I get there. It’s enormously satisfying to finish a piece of writing and feel...

Writing is Rewriting, Except for This

W

See that photo? Those are all the drafts and notecards and spreadsheets–the mountain of writing and writing tools that finally led to that much smaller final product: my novel, STASH. In all my novels, I’ve rewritten scenes dozens of times. I’ve revised every sentence. I’ve drastically altered plots. Hatched and killed subplots. My characters: their motivations change...

David Klein

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

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