The NYS Writers Institute Resides in the Doughnut Hole


What does one do on a sunny, mild September Saturday? In my case, I spend it indoors at the Book Festival presented by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. I’ve heard people call this area of upstate New York the hole in the doughnut. They say there’s nothing really here, but we’re within easy driving distance to the world-class cities of New York, Boston, and...

Goal-Oriented on Blackdome


I’m sitting with two friends on a rock outcropping on top of Black Dome in the Catskill Mountains.  It took us three hours to reach the summit, a hefty hike including hand-over-hand steep spots, shaded cols, and endless one foot in front of the other to navigate the rocks and roots. The satisfaction of the mountaintop is palpable. We’ve been rewarded with sunshine, a mild temperature, and an...

The Scariest Scene for a Writer


Sometimes the stars align and we’re all at home and in the mood to watch a movie as a family. This time we went old school and sat down to the iconic horror film “The Shining”, directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Stephen King. From Rotten Tomatoes: “Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his...

A Post About Compost


Food waste accounts for eight percent of greenhouse gas admissions. The carbon footprint of U.S. food waste is greater than that of the airline industry. Food waste happens in supermarkets, in commercial kitchens, and in our own kitchens. We’ve all purchased fresh food that’s gone bad before we’ve eaten it. We’ve all been spooked by slimy things we find in the back of our refrigerators. Plus...

I Held a Baby


I am asked if I want to hold her and I offer my arms and cradle the baby. She is tiny and buttery warm. Her eyes are closed and she is new and exquisite. Weightless and yet entirely substantial. I stare at her like a dream. All around me, her parents and family beam like full moons. A powerful sense of well-being flows over me. A smile arcs across my face. Immediately, instinctively, I begin a...

Happy Birthday, Irene Klein


July 27, 2022. My mom would be 98 today, an age few people live to become. I can understand and accept that, of course. But she died at age 58, which was a lot harder to accept and understand. When someone has been gone for so long, you only have distant memories to recall, the same ones on a repeating reel. Maybe that’s why I write about my mom more than my readers might want to hear, but...

To Niagara Falls — And Back


I said I was going to take the 50-mile round trip bike ride from my cottage in Thunder Bay to Niagara Falls and back. But as the day of reckoning approached, I began to get have doubts. I’ve never ridden 50 miles on a bicycle. I was afraid my quads would give out or my butt would rub raw or my back would seize up and I’d end up having to call Harriet to come pick me up somewhere along the Niagara...

Geese in a Graveyard


This time the geese are talking to me. They’re everywhere. Along the shore, among the gravestones, on the driving path, in front of my car. I have to come to a full stop not to run them over. I visit this cemetery once in a while to think of my mom whose ashes we spread in the lake. Today, because of the geese, because of their strange, insistent behavior, and because among all these Canada geese...

My Abortion Story


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...

Dad Lessons I’ve Learned


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


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


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


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...

My Lesson From Tom’s Life


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


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...

David Klein

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


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