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The Vesper

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There are six of us. We’re three couples, all good friends. When we get together there is always a signature cocktail for the evening. It’s my turn to play bartender tonight and the choice is easy: the Vesper. It’s a variation on the martini with a three-to-one gin to vodka ratio, a half measure of Lillet blanc, a dash of bitters, and a lemon peel garnish. Shaken not stirred, the way James Bond...

7 Tips for Holiday Eating

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I don’t usually re-run a blog post, but this one is too important and was extremely popular when published last year. Naturally, I didn’t write it. My daughter, Julia Klein, has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and is finishing 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...

Life Notes: November 2022

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It’s fire season again. Thanks to my local crew that hones in on any fallen hardwood tree in Delmar, and our joint ownership of a beastly wood splitter, I’m stocked up on seasoned firewood. Nothing like an evening fire in the kitchen and in the living room—the joy of a two-sided fireplace. Pumpkin approves. My battery died on my laptop and replacing it required prying off the entire back of the...

Buzzwords are Buzzkill

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I recently read an article in Fortune titled “Let’s not circle back on that: These 10 corporate buzzwords are the most hated in America.” Then I came across a report in the Harvard Business Review that said writing in the financial industry is so full of jargon and complexity that poorly written financial statements can actually harm a corporation’s market value. As someone who’s written volumes...

The Magic of Air Travel

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What is it about air travel that makes it so ripe for speculative storytelling? Maybe it’s the improbability of flying 30,000 feet above the earth in skinny metal tubes. Or as a passenger, the complete surrendering of any sense of control over your fate.   A recent French novel and an American television series both rely on a similar premise about air travel. In the NBC series Manifest (now...

A Veteran I Knew and Loved

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My father, Robert Klein, was a veteran of World War II. At the too-young age of 17 he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific. When I asked him why the Navy and not the Army, he said he’d rather sail on a ship than march through the mud. 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 his experiences, but when...

Go Team in Blue!

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I’m so anxious. My team that wears blue, they have a big game today against their archnemesis. My team in blue is a good team, a strong team, but like any team they have flaws. Sometimes they make dumb play calls, and sometimes they stumble on execution. They’ve lost some games they should have won, but they’re my team and I am loyal to them. It’s going to be a really tough game and I wish...

Driving Lesson: The Zipper Merge

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Driving on the highway back from North Carolina, we see a sign that the right lane is closed in one mile. Immediately drivers start switching to the left lane, leaving the right lane open. I do the opposite, switching from the left lane to the right lane, while the left lane backs up almost to a standstill even though the right lane doesn’t end for close to another mile. I cruise in the right...

“I Didn’t Want It to End”

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“. . . an engrossing read.” “. . . a compelling story, beautifully written.” “I didn’t want it to end.” These are a few statements that reviewers wrote about my latest novel, The Culling. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, or if you haven’t browbeaten all of your family, friends, neighbors, and strangers you run into on the street to get and read their own copy of The Culling, you still have...

The Goddam Lousy Life of a Teenager

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Harriet’s worn copy she’s had since high school. The life of a teenager can be isolating, confusing, and painful. It was at times for me and maybe for you too. It certainly was for Holden Caulfield, the 16-year-old narrator of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” Holden has just been kicked out of his third private boarding school and embarks on a dark night of the soul in Manhattan...

I’ve Got a New Volunteer Gig

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I’m beginning a new volunteer position as a reader of short story submissions to the prestigious literary journal Ploughshares. Every serious writer would love to be published in Ploughshares. For the record, I have not been published there, but I did land a story once in the equally respected Storyquarterly. To become a submissions screener, I had to pitch my experience as a writer, my views on...

Fake Friends Are Good For You

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Did you know that fictional characters can be an important part of your social network? Most people know that social interactions are important to your well being. And according to Dr. Laurie Santos, the Yale professor whose course “The Science of Well-being” I took, “. . . when we can’t get the real thing, we’re pretty good at finding creative ways to fill those gaps.” There is a social...

A Story You Would Wait in Line in the Rain to See

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Back then, my literary agent, who I had just signed a contract with to represent my novel, “Stash,” asked me if I’d ever heard of Robert McKee and his book, “Story.” I hadn’t. She suggested I get the book, read the book, and then work on my novel some more. I had mistakenly believed the novel was finished. After all, she’d agreed to represent me, so she must have thought “Stash” could sell. But...

Fallingwater Delivers on Its Promise of Spectacular

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Somewhere in the backwoods of Western Pennsylvania stands a house called Fallingwater designed by the iconic twentieth-century architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I’ve always wanted to visit Fallingwater—considered one of Wright’s masterpieces—and I finally did. The famous view of Fallingwater. I grew up in Buffalo, NY, where I never tired of walking past the two Frank Lloyd Wright houses in my...

Does It Stand the Test of Time?

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When I travel, I like to bring along a favorite book to reread. I’ve been rereading from the list of The Most Important Novels in My Life (some short story collections made the list), and one of the questions I consider is whether the book stands the test of time. Almost forty years after first reading Lorrie Moore’s debut book of short stories, “Self-Help,” I realize time isn’t a test, or if it...

Thirty-three Years Ago vs. Today

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Thirty-three years ago today I was living in Santa Cruz, California, and endured the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake and—ironically or symbolically—the end of a long term relationship on that same day. It sucked. People died and hearts hurt and I was lost and struggling as a still unpublished writer. The ruins from the earthquake in Santa Cruz 33 years ago today. Today I experienced the...

A Battle on the Court

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For once our daytime schedules aligned and my tennis partner, also named David, and I had an opportunity to play midweek, midmorning. Usually, we play at 7:15 AM, before the working day starts, but now that hour has become too cold, too dark, and too damp. So we’re both appreciative of this perfect autumn day, 10 AM. We warm up and are set to do battle, but today’s contest doesn’t take place...

White Privilege on Display in “The White Lotus”

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Since we’re paying for a plethora of streaming services (HBO, Hulu, Netflix, etc.), I decided it was time to actually watch something on one of them. HBO’s “The White Lotus” was my choice. Six episodes, six hours of witnessing the power of white wealth, privilege, and entitlement, skewered and served up with huge doses of cynicism, cringe, and above all, entertainment. Entertainment because...

I Forgot an Anniversary

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Some anniversaries I remember. Others slip by unnoticed. I missed the anniversary of this blog in August. When I did remember, I had to think how many years it’s been. Two? No, three years. Positive note: I must have more important things on my mind than blog anniversaries. I’m closing in on five hundred posts written, which will give future biographers plenty of material to construct this period...

Rest In Peace, Old Nemesis

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With conflicting emotions I read the obituary of Timothy Mulhern that a friend sent me. Tim Mulhern was a nemesis of mine from my childhood and teen years. I haven’t thought of him in a long time, but neither am I likely to ever forget him. We went to the same elementary school, St. Mark’s, in Buffalo, NY, where his funeral was held. He came from a large family—ten kids! One of those enormous...

David Klein

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

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