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Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

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Have you seen the new commercial for Apple Watch? It’s both appalling and brilliant. The first thing Harriet said was, “I want that watch.” In the first 911 call, we hear the audio of a woman after she flipped her car and it’s starting to fill with water. The second call features a paddleboarder who has drifted out to sea. The final emergency features a farmer who has fallen from a ladder and...

CROSSROADS, Jonathan Franzen

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A few years ago, pre-pandemic, I went to a New York State Writer’s Institute event featuring Jonathan Franzen, a writer who once appeared on the cover of Time Magazine (2010) with the headline “Great American Novelist.” Such attention for a writer is extremely rare. The most memorable part of the event for me was when Franzen was asked by an audience member what struggles he faced as a writer. He...

Happy MLK Day? Not Exactly.

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“And so we shall have to do more than register and more than vote; we shall have to create leaders who embody virtues we can respect, who have moral and ethical principles we can applaud with enthusiasm.”Martin Luther King Photo by Steve Schapiro Sadly for Martin Luther King, Jr., even the first part of his desire—to register and vote—is beyond reach. The second part about creating leaders who...

A Visit to the Ice Age

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Even though the temperature befitted an Ice Age day, I needed my daily dose of fresh air and exercise, and so into a nature preserve I ventured and began walking along a snowy and icy trail. My mind began to wander, daydreaming like I tend to do, and then I realized I’d gotten turned around and wasn’t sure which trail I was on or direction headed. I experienced this weird sensation of a time...

Fun Sport, Silly Name

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I got a cool pickleball paddle from Julia as a birthday present. Today she took me to where she works at the Y so I could play on the courts they set up in the gym. A few guys are my age. A couple are younger. A bunch of them look older, although I’m good at fooling myself that way. There are just as many women players and in the same age range. I walk up to a guy wearing a tie-dye shirt and say...

“Don’t Look Up”

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Some people I know are calling Don’t Look Up brilliant and must-see filmmaking. Others are more critical, pointing out the movie is smug and heavy-handed. Such divergence of opinion generally gets me interested and I sat down recently to watch Don’t Look Up. The premise: scientists discover a comet hurtling toward the earth, with impact expected in six months, and the result to be human...

The Ice Storm in CLEAN BREAK

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The world is coated with ice outside my window and it makes me think of an ice storm that served as a literary device in my novel, CLEAN BREAK (thank you, Harriet). I call it a literary device because it’s one of those writer’s tools I’m using to move my characters around into the right locations for the critical subsequent scenes. Plus it casts a chilly, foreboding atmosphere...

THE BURNING, Megha Majumdar

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A BURNING is a promising debut by author Megha Majumdar. Set in India, the novel weaves together the stories of three characters. Jivan is a young Muslim woman from the slums who is wrongly arrested and jailed for the terrorist act of burning a passenger train. Lovely is a transgender woman known to Jivan and pursuing her dreams of becoming an actress. And PT Sir is a school physical education...

Life is Good Meets The Man in Black

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I’m not sure New Year’s resolutions are helpful, but I’ve made one that has to do with clothing. I own a Life is Good® shirt I received as a gift some years ago. The shirt is casual stylish: khaki-green, a lone button a different color than the others, and this cool vertical stitching that if you get close enough (you won’t) reads “Do what you like. Like what you do.®” I seem to...

End of Year Letter to My Readers

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Dear Cherished Readers: It’s time for end-of-year lists. The top books, the most popular songs, the best movies. The important cultural milestones and the leading news events. The people we’ve lost. I like these lists so I can find out what I’ve missed and what I’ve remembered. There’s an end-of-year list for just about everything, including my blog posts. From the 156 posts published in 2021...

The Joy of Virtual Birthday Wishes

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One birthday wish came from an elementary school classmate I haven’t seen or spoken to in over 50 years. Another wish was from a local friend I’d seen just the night before. Then there was the old California friend who I seldom saw even when I lived in California. A former colleague from 25 years ago wished me the best of birthdays. A cousin I unfriended a couple of years ago because I kept...

Joan Didion–THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD

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I’m reposting this from last year in honor of Joan Didion, an incredible writer who died yesterday at the age of 87. The reason she wrote is the reason I write. “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...

The Unexamined Life

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The Greek philosopher Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I was drawn to this quote and its meaning when writing FLIGHT RISK. In the novel, successful, happily married man and devoted father Robert Besch is traveling for business when he survives a deadly plane crash. He manages to rescue fellow passengers from the burning plane, but suffers a rare dissociative fugue...

7 Tips for Holiday Eating

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I’m not the only writer in the family. My daughter, Julia Klein, has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and is working on her master’s degree in Applied Nutrition to become a registered dietitian. She contributed this guest post, just in time for the holidays. It’s the holiday season, which for some of us means increased anxiety around food. Holiday celebrations are often...

No Coverage for Communicable Disease

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Like everyone else, I’ve been impacted by Covid, although I haven’t had it yet (that I know of). And like every other writer, I’ve had a fair amount to say about Covid. At one point I was wondering why characters in a novel I was working on weren’t socially distancing or masking. I waffled on whether to include a crowded cocktail party scene—even though the novel takes place before the pandemic...

We Gave Up Our Leaves for You

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Black coffee wisping steam and a task list on my mind for the day. I’m hoping for a good one, with stretches of purpose and productivity, because I hate to admit yesterday scored low on the getting-things-done meter. Last night’s sleep: less than satisfactory but could have been worse. I’m here, I’ve shown up early. That alone is a check on the list. I nonchalantly part the curtain and almost...

Your Strengths Reveal Your Weaknesses

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I have a friend and colleague who recently wrote a blog post in which he admitted he wasn’t a confident person, and that self-doubt was always present in him. I was completely taken aback by his admission. Some people wear their self-doubt on their sleeves. They’re indecisive, or when they do make a decision are often consumed with a sense of buyer’s remorse that they’d made the wrong choice. Or...

THE NIGHT WATCHMAN, Louise Erdrich

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Louise Erdrich is one of the most admired American authors and arguably the Queen of Native American Literature. I was awed back in 1984 by her debut novel, LOVE MEDICINE. It was my introduction to a novel in stories, without a central plot. Over the years, I’ve read a few of her other novels, and as good as they were, none of them made the same impression on me. Nothing like the first kiss, as...

Self-Respect Isn’t Always Easy

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Someone close to me was telling me he was a failure. He was bemoaning mistakes he’s made, wrong things he’s said, goals he’s fallen short of reaching. It was painful to hear him talking this way, but probably not as painful as it was for him to voice these feelings. If you have a narrative running through your head that is constantly berating you, if you feel like a loser, if you’ve been hurt...

A Date That Will Live in Infamy

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Today is the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the day that officially drew the United States into World War II, what President Franklin Roosevelt called “a date that will live in infamy.” There was a news story today on the Bidens visiting the World War II memorial in Washington. Profiles on a few remaining survivors. Articles about that day in history. And...

David Klein

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

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