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The Labyrinth

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This maze of cracked boulders the size of houses and jagged shards of sandstone like the tables of giants pitched at awkward hard angles. You’d best be nimble with all four limbs and your feet and hands because you’ll climb and crawl and mount and squish and wiggle through tight passages under and over a moonscape of rock. Up and down and across holding your balance facing one decision and then...

Dad Lessons I’ve Learned

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In honor of all fathers . . . 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 make time for them. 2. Be interested What you’re interested in is not...

Memory Lane: Investors Wanted

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Business Concept: Memory Lane Amount of Investment Requested: $3 Million to complete the algorithm and to fund initial marketing efforts. Business Problem: In the event a couple decides to part ways, conflict often arises not only in how physical and financial assets are divided, but also in how memory assets should be divvied up, leading to protracted and painful negotiations and additional...

She’ll Give Until the “Safe is Empty”

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About eight years ago I picked up this novel called TRAPS, about four very different women whose lives intersect in a collision of fates—a security guard, an actress, a prostitute, and a recovering alcoholic. Anyone who’s read my novels STASH and CLEAN BREAK knows I have a thing for these disparate yet connected stories and lives. I still remember how much I appreciated the novel—it was deft and...

Back in Boston

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I’d almost forgotten over the past year how much I love a fine restaurant experience. Creative food, unique cocktails, attentive service, the company of close friends—that’s a lot to savor. Plus from my years of experience working in restaurants I’m aware of and interested in all the details: the layout and logistics, the way the staff works together, how the table is set, even (especially?) what...

If You’re Feeling Woebegone, Try Woebot

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“Hi David, How are you feeling today?” So begins my chat with Woebot (quite the name!), an artificial intelligence-based chatbot that provides mental health therapy. I can write something in the text box or choose from a long list of feelings: anxious, depressed, sad, frustrated, happy (although who’s feeling happy if they’re using a therapy chatbot?), and many others. I don’t have a particular...

Children Are Cutting Off Their Parents

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I just read a troubling article in The Economist: “How many American children have cut contact with their parents?” Quite a few: “. . . Familial estrangement seems to be widespread in America. The first large-scale nationwide survey, recently conducted by Cornell University, found that 27 percent of adult Americans are estranged from a close family member.” The actual percentage is likely higher...

Keep Going, Keep Going

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That’s Fred in the center of the photo, Number 8, leaning into the first turn of his motocross race, just seconds after a thunderous start and sprint out of the starting gate. Fumes and dirt flying. Combined engines like a jet taking off. A younger man’s game, right? No. Fred is my age–and he’s still a beast on a motocross bike. He came in second in his class on a hot day...

Ask Dave is Getting Busy

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I’ve suddenly been getting a lot of letters directed to my advice column. Clearly, people are dealing with a lot of problems these days. I can’t say I’m surprised. Recently, I advised a fellow who almost burned himself up. Then I had a letter from a VIP in New York State government, who subsequently wrote back praising my advice for him and confessing something rather personal...

Who Needs Handlebars?

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How better to accept and appreciate living in the suburbs than riding your bike through quiet neighborhoods of tasteful houses and smooth, paved roads, no hands, lilacs and lawnmowers in the air, sitting high above your handlebars, pedaling, arms stretched out, balancing even through the tiny thrill of leaning into a corner and turning onto the next pretty block, no hands, no hands. What a...

Team Player or Solo Contributor?

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Someone criticized me for not being a good team player. And yet I’ve always liked the idea of collaborating with others. In school, I liked being on the crew team and hockey teams. I like the camaraderie of playing basketball with the guys. I like brainstorming with others to generate ideas and solve problems. I once co-wrote a screenplay with a creative partner and it was one of the best writing...

ANNA KARENINA, Leo Tolstoy

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It’s a major commitment to read an epic novel these days, and I don’t do it as often as I did in my younger days. I can’t say my attention span hasn’t shortened in recent years due to various factors, and the task of reading an 850-page novel seemed daunting. But I’ve never read Tolstoy and every serious reader must at some point. My copy of Anna Karenina has been sitting untouched on my...

Yoga Returns to Alabama

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I’ve never been enamored with the South, but I developed a fondness for Birmingham, Alabama after visiting multiple times while Julia was living there for much of the past year. So I was pleased to hear this week that Alabama lifted its ban on teaching yoga in K-12 public schools—and aghast such a ban had existed for almost thirty years. Why the ban on yoga? Because of pressure from Christian...

Writing Lesson #12: Background Information

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One challenge for writers is to get in background information without interrupting the narrative flow or alienating your reader. This is true whether you’re writing a novel, a business email, or a newspaper column. In a novel, the reader might be in the middle of a tense scene and then suddenly the story grinds to a halt because the author adds a flashback. Or worse, the author starts with...

A Tree Grows On Woodridge Road

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Fifteen, maybe eighteen years ago when the kids were young—so hard to remember every milestone—we planted a six-foot-high sugar maple and said, Oh, we’ll see it grow tall and beautiful someday, and sure enough the tree must be thirty feet high now, healthy and gorgeous in every season. Such a fine tree is our sugar maple, living proof we were here and time has passed. And this year I planted one...

Help Wanted: Better Pay

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It’s a perfect Saturday afternoon with the sun shining and we’re strolling along the avenue looking for a place to have lunch. We’re vaccinated and eating out again and starting to feel hopeful the world might be on the mend. The first restaurant we stop in has a slew of picnic tables outside and a bar open to the breeze and hardly anyone there, but they can’t seat us for thirty minutes despite...

Hard Work Beats Talent . . .

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I attended hundreds of youth hockey games when Owen was playing. One of the many rinks he played at had a large banner hanging from the rafters that said, “Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard.” The message made sense to me because it offered some hope and a way to level the playing field for the less naturally gifted against the talented. Owen wasn’t moved as much–he...

Grammarly: Not Just for Grammar Geeks

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I’ve been using Grammarly for about three years in Google Docs and Gmail, and now I’ve added it to Microsoft Word. This clever tool catches a fair number of items that require my attention. I know, hard to believe, given that I’m a writer. But I always say every writer needs a good editor, and even if Grammarly isn’t an editor, it can help improve your writing (this is not...

Tulip Time

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Washington Park was in splendor today. Tulips symbolize deep and meaningful love, did you know? You can tell by their sturdiness and vibrancy and perfection of shape. The way they shimmy in the breeze like life itself. The way they fight to keep their petals for as long as nature allows. What I love about tulips are their graceful cups, their petals of myriad hues, their hearty green stalks and...

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

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You either love Quentin Tarantino movies or loathe them. Put me in the love column. I’ve seen most of the films he’s directed, and one of the best is ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. The story centers around washed-up actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Rick made a name for himself starring in the Western series Bounty Hunter but has recently been...

David Klein

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

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