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A Beautiful, Bracing Chill


One of my joys of summer is taking a hot, sweaty run and finishing on the shores of Lake Erie where I pull off my shirt and shoes and plunge into the refreshing lake—floating, cooling off, recovering. Every time I visit the summer place in Canada I look forward to this ritual. But now it’s near the end of September, summer gone, and the morning temp is cool and the run didn’t make me so hot and...

The Cut-Up Poem


Last weekend at the Albany Book Festival my table was next to the Adirondack Center for Writing table. It’s an organization that’s building a community of writers and readers in the Adirondacks region, offering classes, workshops, events, and more for writers of all ages. They had one of those old-fashioned gumball machines at their table, this one offering (for a free turn of the handle)...

What Midlife Crisis?


I’m tabling at the Albany Book Festival when a woman walks by my display and picks up a copy of In Flight. She immediately flips the book to glance at the back cover copy. Two seconds later she puts the book down. She says in a tone that can only be heard as snarky, “Why would I want to read about a man’s midlife crisis?” “It doesn’t say midlife crisis,” I tell her. “It says midlife transitions.”...

My Favorite Mountains


Back when I was focusing on hiking all 46 Adirondack high peaks that reached over 4,000 feet, that singular mission kept me focused on the biggest mountains and the most grueling hikes. After checking off about half of the high peaks, I abandoned my quest. I realized there were too many mountains that required more than a single day’s hike to conquer, meaning I would have to carry camping...

Visit Me at the Albany Book Festival


Local readers: if you’re searching for compelling, well-plotted novels with engaging, complex characters, you can visit me this Saturday 9/23 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the Albany Book Festival sponsored by the New York State Writer’s Institute at SUNY Albany. I’ll be at my display table, where you can hear the author himself talk about, promote, and sell his own books! I like to stage my...

A Library Return


The doorbell rang. It was two chimes—ding-dong—which meant the front door. A single ding is the breezeway door. Twenty-seven years in my house and I can still mix that up. But I can write Pi out to ten decimal places, so I’m cool. A man stands on my front stoop, rocking on the balls of his feet, as if about to launch himself to chase a ball. He holds a book in his hand, half hidden behind his leg...

Can You Define Gender Queer?


As a writer of books, I believe in the freedom of all writers to write whatever they want, to express whatever ideas are bubbling in their brains. Consequently, I’m against all book bans, which I consider the equivalent of banning free thought. And yet book challenges and bans have become a primary front in the pathetic culture war being waged in our country. What exactly are book challengers...

The Sugar Maple One Year Later


About a year ago I wrote “Long Live the Sugar Maple,” about our imperiled tree. This is an update. First, a bit of background: it must have been about twenty years ago that we had the sugar maple planted out front. I’ve always loved the sugar maple’s shape and iconic fall colors and the sweetness of its syrup.  It’s the official tree of New York State. I’ve planted plenty of...

“Marketing Executive” Barbie


We went to see Barbie the other night. There’s a reason the movie is breaking all kinds of revenue and attendance records: it’s highly original, visually compelling, and a lot of fun. Margot Robbie (Barbie) and Ryan Gosling (Ken) deliver outstanding performances. And it had me smiling a lot. In some ways, I’ve never seen a movie like it—the way it depicts Barbie’s perfect, plastic fantasy world...

Schools are Open, and Taxes Due


I’m having an eye exam and the optometrist and I are talking about Bethlehem, the town in upstate New York where we both live. She says she likes Bethlehem but where she lives in a newer development she can’t really walk anywhere. And there aren’t many good restaurants. But most of all what bothers her are the high taxes. She says she just became an empty nester with her second child off to...

News of the Engagement


Yes, there’s another novel in the works. THE SUITOR is about a recent college grad who falls in love with a charming schemer, leading to her father attempting to prevent the marriage. Sticky situation, right? In this scene, Anna breaks the news of her engagement on a visit to her parents. It doesn’t go according to plan. “How is Kyle?” Deb asked. “I’m sorry he couldn’t make the trip...

No Cell Phones in School


My kids are long out of high school (one in grad school, one working within their profession), but their alma mater—Bethlehem High School—has a new policy starting this year: no cell phones. Have you ever once seen a teenager without a phone in their hands? It’s going to be an interesting experiment. Upon arriving at school each day students will need to turn their phones off and lock them in a...

Drag Queens on Giant Mountain


When you’re hiking up one of the high peaks in the Adirondacks (Giant Mountain, 3,000 feet elevation gain), you can’t spend the whole time whining and complaining about the steep pitch, the huge rocks you have to walk over, the hands-and-feet-scrambles, or your sore feet and legs. Because—this hike was a choice you made. You have to spend time talking about other things, and because I was with my...

The Light in August


William Faulkner wrote a southern gothic novel The Light in August that I haven’t read. The title is a reference to a house on fire, but for me the Light in August is a liminal phenomenon. With the light now angled two months past the equinox and casting lanky shadows, the days remain hot. A gap opens in the habits of light and temperature. I sense a difference, the sun steering toward autumn and...

Is Writer’s Block Real?


I have a writer friend, Wendy, who has been suffering from the worst kind of writerly affliction: the dreaded writer’s block. She tells me she’s stuck in the quagmire, sinking slowly, grasping at air.   Writer’s block is a daunting creative challenge. You can’t find an idea anywhere. You can’t make any progress on your work-in-progress. You have a physical aversion to sitting down at your...

I Succeeded in Watching ‘Succession’


I was late to Succession, the wildly successful HBO Max series that ran for four seasons. I knew eventually I’d get to it after my sister told me, “I couldn’t stop watching, and I hated every minute of it.” After working my way through the 40-episode series, I can see why she said that. Every episode was compulsively watchable, while often leaving me uncomfortable. I consider that a testament to...

Curriculum Changes


Where I live, for multiple days in the past month the air has been hazy and scented with smoke and the sky cast in a menacing sepia tone. It was like something straight out of a dystopian novel. Huge storms have battered many parts of the world. July was the hottest month ever recorded. The world is on fire. For decades, scientists have warned us about the dangers of a warming planet and climate...

Prometheus Gave Fire to Man


Seventy-eight years ago today, the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A second bomb fell on Nagasaki on August 9. Between the two attacks, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, leading to a quick Japanese surrender in World War II, and forever changing the course of history. Theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the “father of the atomic bomb,” is...

We’re All Students of Writing


This one is for my writing students. But aren’t we all students of writing? Don’t we all want to write well so that we can communicate clearly and be understood—whether we’re dashing off a text, composing an important email, or pouring our hearts out in a love letter? Writers often do a lot of research to help inform their work, but you can’t just dump a bunch of expository material into your...

What a Twitshow


You might have heard that the social networking platform formerly known as Twitter is now called X. Owner Elon Musk executed the name change along with a new logo is less than forty-eight hours. No bothering with months of brand research and focus groups for this guy! Not being a Twitter (X) user, my interest is from a branding standpoint. Is this a good business move? The Twitter brand is...

David Klein

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


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