CategoryTwo-minute Reads

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

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Here’s my relationship to photography these days: I point my phone and tap my screen. With reckless impunity, I tap and tap and tap. The photos get stored in the gallery app on my phone, then backed up to the cloud, and every once in a while I scroll through my gallery and cull the photos that are poor quality or meaningless or redundant. The rest stay in the gallery where I’ll see them the next...

A TIDEWATER MORNING, William Styron

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Someone had left this slim book in my Little Free Library and I snatched it when I saw on the cover the name William Styron, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sophie’s Choice and a devastating memoir about his battle with depression among other works. The three tales in “A Tidewater Morning” are fictionalized accounts from his youth. In Shadrach, a 99-year old former Black slave...

Twenty-five Years Ago Today

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Twenty-five years ago today we rented a truck and hired two strapping 20-year-olds and moved from a city apartment into our house on a tree-lined street in the suburbs. At the time we likely thought of this as our starter house. It wasn’t big or flashy, but it had character and charm. For the first few years we used the bedroom on the first floor and rarely even went up to the second floor, so...

THE INDEX OF SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ACTS, Christopher Beha

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First of all, great title: “The Index of Self-Destructive Acts.” It refers to a baseball metric that measures “the total number of hit batsmen, wild pitches, balks and errors by a pitcher, per nine innings.” There’s a bit about baseball in this novel, but the focus is on other types of self-destructive acts committed by the novel’s cast of characters: infidelity, financial...

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...

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...

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...

In Praise of My Weedy Lawn

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Although my neighbors—they of the lawn as green and manicured as a fairway at Augusta—might disagree, my lawn is looking its best right now. It’s resplendent with golden dandelions and tiny creeping charlie purple blossoms and delicate white clover flowers. There is a reason for this: I will not put down weedkiller. All those pristine suburban lawns you see can only get that way through the...

They Paved Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot

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When we moved into our house 25 years ago, we were one of only a few houses in the neighborhood with a gravel driveway. The look was less formal than blacktop. It fit the cottagey character of our house. But I’ve spent all these years struggling with the gravel. To shovel snow, you must master a special technique of carefully sliding the shovel along the gravel so as not to pick up too much stone...

What The Flags We Fly Say About Us

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You probably don’t need to be a fan of the National Football League to recognize the flag flying in my neighbor’s yard. Not the American flag–the flag of the Washington Football Team formerly known as the Washington Redskins. After decades of protests against the name being a slur against Native Americans, and team owner Daniel Snyder saying “We’ll never change the...

David Klein

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

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