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“Mercy Street” — Jennifer Haigh

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Jennifer Haigh’s “Mercy Street” was published this past Spring in what has proved to be an exquisite sense of timing. My reading of it also happened to be very timely, given recent Supreme Court rulings against women. Claudia, 43, divorced, no children, is the novel’s protagonist. She is a counselor at Mercy Street, a women’s health center that provides a range of health services including...

My Abortion Story

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A friend asked how I was doing. Usually, we exchange a casual, familiar tune: I’m good, how are you? But this time I answered, “Angry and despairing.” That got his attention. “About the Supreme Court rulings.” Guns. Prayer. Abortion. This is about abortion. I can’t tell you how much I support a woman’s right to body autonomy, and how disgusted and worried I am about what our country is becoming...

Facebook at its Finest

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I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, for the usual reasons. I’ve got nothing to brag about. I don’t post proud-parent pictures, glamorize my perfect vacation (not that I’ve taken one recently), or spout about my life philosophy. I’m also not a shameless self-promoter on Facebook, although I do occasionally post a subliminal message about how much someone might enjoy one of my books...

A Summer Blockbuster Streaks Across the Sky

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My friend Jimmy texted me and said it was $7 night at the Spectrum and did I want to go to the movies. What film did he want to see? Top Gun: Maverick. Uh, no. Not my kind of movie. But my friend said his son saw the movie and it was incredible and the action sequences were some of the best he’s seen. Plus, it’s got a 99 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s almost...

Busy on the Summer Solstice

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Lucky me, I was awake at 5:13 a.m. this morning when the summer solstice started in the eastern time zone in the Northern hemisphere. At that moment, the earth arrived at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt toward the Sun. The result is the longest day—and shortest night—of the calendar year. I was too busy to make the trip to Stonehenge for the summer solstice...

Dad Lessons I’ve Learned

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I’m reposting this from an earlier date in honor of all fathers on this Father’s Day . . . 1. Show Up Regardless of whether you live with them or not, a father’s job is to show up whenever possible and be a positive force in the lives of your children. My kids are young adults now and I’ve been fortunate to be present for most of their journey from infancy to adulthood. You’ve got to...

This Artist Friend of Mine

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1990, Santa Cruz, CA: One of the other waiters pointed her out to me. That’s Linde. She always comes alone and sits at table twelve and drinks at least two margaritas. She has a German accent, loves to talk,  full of energy. Once or twice a week she comes in. I seat her at table twelve. I make sure she gets her drink. We talk about the menu and she’ll try anything that’s new from the chef...

How to Leave a Party

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I was at a social gathering in a bar with people I hadn’t seen in a long time—50 years! It was a reunion of my elementary school. We were a big enough group I could go unnoticed for a bit, and small enough that I had a chance to speak with everyone, share a few memories, and catch up on what we were doing. I enjoyed seeing my old classmates. Most of them I could still recognize. I also enjoyed my...

The False Narrative About Being Fat

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Julia Klein contributed this guest post. She 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 also wrote “7 Tips for Holiday Eating,” which is a handy reference for any time of the year. Note: the word “fat” in this post refers to a neutral, descriptive term of bodies. It is not used in a...

“The Candy House” — Jennifer Egan

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In Jennifer Egan’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Visit From the Good Squad,” the goon is time. There is no escaping the passage or ravages of time. That novel of many characters and many narrative threads unfolded in the world of rock music. In her latest novel, “The Candy House,” the candy house is the digital world: you think it’s free, but there’s always a price to pay when handing...

“Ask Your Doctor About . . .”

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The United States has the distinction, along with New Zealand, of being the only countries that allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical marketing. Three cheers for the First Amendment! Marketing prescription drugs to consumers was first given the green light by the FDA in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1997 that drug advertisements began to flood the media landscape. That was when constraints...

My Lesson From Tom’s Life

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I went to a celebration of Tom, an old friend who had died. It’s the kind of event that takes place now instead of wakes and funerals for those who aren’t religious. I didn’t know Tom that well—he’s the younger brother of one of my closest friends—and I hadn’t seen him in over twenty years. But I have a few memories. One was when Tom took us on an epic mountain bike ride way back when I first was...

The Parade is Back

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After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the annual Memorial Day parade returned to the Town of Bethlehem in Upstate New York. It’s one of those small-town parades that find that balance between a martial and a community spirit. It starts just a couple of blocks from my house so I walked down this morning to offer a hearty sendoff. A few veterans, many firefighting vehicles, and community...

A Moment of Tranquility

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When fractured in a world gone horrific, helpless against the forces of antagonism, trembling in anger and frustration, numb from despair, your breath tangled and spirit crushed, sometimes all you can do is visit a treasured place, and if you’re fortunate you might notice a moment so aligned and rhythmic, and even if it’s not the song of hope you wanted still you are offered a moment of...

The Story of My Covid

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In May of 2020 we had tickets to The Moth Radio Hour held at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. The event was canceled due to Covid. I’ve always enjoyed listening to the Moth—live, unscripted storytelling events that NPR carries on WAMC. And about ten years ago we went to a Moth event in Northampton, MA. People get passionate telling their stories—sometimes they are one-of-a-kind dramatic...

How to Appear More Intelligent

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“3 Easy, Research-Backed Ways to Appear More Intelligent,” the headline reads. How can I not click on that link? It’s like being thrown a guaranteed lifeline in a stormy sea of self-doubt. At my age, my intelligence quotient might have peaked, or even begun its descent on the far side of the bell curve. It might be all I’ve got left is putting lipstick on the pig—at least I might be able to...

“Sea of Tranquility,” Emily St. John Mandel

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In 2020, six years after her huge bestseller “Station Eleven” Emily St. John Mandel published “The Glass Hotel,” a novel about a Ponzi scheme I found compelling and have read twice—one of those alternatively structured novels that follows a diverse cast I tend to gravitate toward. Less than two years later came “Sea of Tranquility.” I thought: Mandel is on a creative tear. She’s wholly juiced up...

In Support of Women’s Rights

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We stood waving our signs under the hot afternoon sun and we called and chanted to passing drivers at the busy intersection. It was a day of organized protests, held across the country, to demand equal health care rights for women, for women’s choice, and to revolt against the sickening storm of conservative theocracy flooding our nation and attempting control of our lives. Some drivers honked...

Long Live the Tulip Queen

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One of the few special events in Albany, NY is the annual Tulip Festival in Washington Park. The tradition dates back to 1948 when the city of Albany sent aid to the Dutch city of Nijmegen which was struggling to recover from the devastation of World War II. To express their thanks, the Dutch sent tulips, and the annual Tulip Festival was born. Part of the Tulip Festival tradition is the naming...

A Modest Pronoun Proposal

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I’m a guy that knows my grammar, yet I’m constantly messing up a person’s preferred pronouns. I forget that a friend formerly referred to as she now uses the pronoun they. But they is a plural pronoun and so I get confused. And he is now zhe. But what’s the correct pronunciation of zhe? And then there’s hir, which looks like a typo. As much as I appreciate your desire to use your pronouns of...

David Klein

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

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