CategoryTwo-minute Reads

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...

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...

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...

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...

Feeling Lucky? Get Gambling!

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I was meeting a friend, mentor, and professional associate (all one person!) in Schenectady at a restaurant for lunch and arrived early because I ran a few errands on the way and ended up with extra time. How to spend that time? I’ve been thinking I should spend more time making money, since the book royalties gravy train chugs slowly and the financial portfolio is nosediving. So why not pop in...

Be Careful Who You Slap

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A couple of years ago, I made a list of the Most Important Novels in My Life. Since then, I’ve been rereading them to see how well they stand the test of time. Christos Tsiolkas’ “The Slap” remains near the top of my list. The story is set in suburban Melbourne and follows a core group of friends and relatives that cross racial and class lines. It opens with Hector and Aisha hosting a...

The Most Important Novels in My Life

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I have set myself a task for 2020: reread the ten most important books in my life. To qualify for the list, the novel (or novella or short story collections; I’m including those also), must meet one or more of the following criteria: It was so profound and meaningful to me that I’ve read the novel multiple times. It significantly influenced my own development as a novelist. The...

The NYS Writers Institute Resides in the Doughnut Hole

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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...

A Different Kind of Mafia

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Bills Mafia refers to the collective fanbase of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The term got its start in 2010 when Bills fan Del Reid got was sparring on Twitter with Adam Schefter, an ESPN reporter. Schefter blocked Reid, who responded with the hashtag #BillsMafia. The hashtag grew and grew. Bills fans and players both embraced it. Now everyone who follows the NFL knows about the Bills Mafia, a...

There are Six of Us

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There are six of us. We are three couples and all close friends. We live in the same town. We get together often to socialize and to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, etc. We take turns hosting. Two of us are on second marriages. One of us is unemployed and battling a sense of worthlessness. One of us is having an affair that two others of us know about. It’s not the same one of us...

David Klein

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

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