CategoryTwo-minute Reads



The title turned me off at first. Molly’s Game. Sounded young adult or chick flick, two genres I don’t watch often. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice the film when it came out in 2017. But then I discovered Jessica Chastain was the star. She’s on my list. She appeared in two movies I thought were excellent and I highly recommend: Take Shelter (she plays the wife of Michael Shannon, another...



“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” The author of that line, Joan Didion, is a rare breed in America: a literary writer with rock star status. I finally had the pleasure of watching the 2017 Netflix documentary about Didion, The Center Will Not Hold. The film expertly compiles and edits conversation with the 82-year-old Didion, interviews, and historical footage and...

Updated Vaccine Priority List


Illustration by Peter Hamlin You can only get the shot if you are designated 1A. You can get the shot if you are a health care worker. You can get the shot if you fly an airplane. You can get the shot if you live/work in a nursing home. You can get the shot if you work in a restaurant. If you are clever and devious enough to cut the line. You can get the shot if you are tech-savvy and can...

“I Was Allowed to Believe . . .”


Sadly, U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was not a student in one of my writing classes. If she had been, she never would have come up with this statement constructed in the passive voice: “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.”MTG A general rule in writing is to choose the active voice over the passive voice. Here’s the difference between them: If MTG had been using the...

My Two Favorite Blogs


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


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?


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


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


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...

Are New Year’s Resolutions Helpful?


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...

So You Want to Be a Ghost Writer


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.”


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...

Attic Drinking: Go Ahead, Judge Me!


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


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 VANISHING HALF appeared on a number of top 10 books of the year lists and it’s easy to see why. The novel has all the ingredients for a successful novel in 2020: Racial themes explored in the story of light-skinned Black twin sisters—Stella and Desiree—whose lives diverge when one decides to live as white and the other “stays” Black; a secondary, transgender theme and subplot; an up-and...

David Klein

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


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