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This Artist Friend of Mine

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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

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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

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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...

“The Candy House” — Jennifer Egan

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In Jennifer Egan’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Visit From the Good Squad,” the goon is time. There is no escaping the passage or ravages of time. That novel of many characters and many narrative threads unfolded in the world of rock music. In her latest novel, “The Candy House,” the candy house is the digital world: you think it’s free, but there’s always a price to pay when handing...

“Ask Your Doctor About . . .”

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The United States has the distinction, along with New Zealand, of being the only countries that allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical marketing. Three cheers for the First Amendment! Marketing prescription drugs to consumers was first given the green light by the FDA in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1997 that drug advertisements began to flood the media landscape. That was when constraints...

My Lesson From Tom’s Life

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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

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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...

A Moment of Tranquility

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When fractured in a world gone horrific, helpless against the forces of antagonism, trembling in anger and frustration, numb from despair, your breath tangled and spirit crushed, sometimes all you can do is visit a treasured place, and if you’re fortunate you might notice a moment so aligned and rhythmic, and even if it’s not the song of hope you wanted still you are offered a moment of...

The Story of My Covid

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In May of 2020 we had tickets to The Moth Radio Hour held at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. The event was canceled due to Covid. I’ve always enjoyed listening to the Moth—live, unscripted storytelling events that NPR carries on WAMC. And about ten years ago we went to a Moth event in Northampton, MA. People get passionate telling their stories—sometimes they are one-of-a-kind dramatic...

How to Appear More Intelligent

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“3 Easy, Research-Backed Ways to Appear More Intelligent,” the headline reads. How can I not click on that link? It’s like being thrown a guaranteed lifeline in a stormy sea of self-doubt. At my age, my intelligence quotient might have peaked, or even begun its descent on the far side of the bell curve. It might be all I’ve got left is putting lipstick on the pig—at least I might be able to...

“Sea of Tranquility,” Emily St. John Mandel

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In 2020, six years after her huge bestseller “Station Eleven” Emily St. John Mandel published “The Glass Hotel,” a novel about a Ponzi scheme I found compelling and have read twice—one of those alternatively structured novels that follows a diverse cast I tend to gravitate toward. Less than two years later came “Sea of Tranquility.” I thought: Mandel is on a creative tear. She’s wholly juiced up...

In Support of Women’s Rights

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We stood waving our signs under the hot afternoon sun and we called and chanted to passing drivers at the busy intersection. It was a day of organized protests, held across the country, to demand equal health care rights for women, for women’s choice, and to revolt against the sickening storm of conservative theocracy flooding our nation and attempting control of our lives. Some drivers honked...

Long Live the Tulip Queen

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One of the few special events in Albany, NY is the annual Tulip Festival in Washington Park. The tradition dates back to 1948 when the city of Albany sent aid to the Dutch city of Nijmegen which was struggling to recover from the devastation of World War II. To express their thanks, the Dutch sent tulips, and the annual Tulip Festival was born. Part of the Tulip Festival tradition is the naming...

A Modest Pronoun Proposal

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I’m a guy that knows my grammar, yet I’m constantly messing up a person’s preferred pronouns. I forget that a friend formerly referred to as she now uses the pronoun they. But they is a plural pronoun and so I get confused. And he is now zhe. But what’s the correct pronunciation of zhe? And then there’s hir, which looks like a typo. As much as I appreciate your desire to use your pronouns of...

Many Years Ago on Mother’s Day

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Irene Klein and son It’s almost forty years since I’ve had a mother. Many memories of my mom are foggy, others long forgotten. But today I’m remembering how on our birthdays my mother would rock us in the chair and sing an Italian lullaby. Every year. When I got older it became a joke, but still a required tradition. It was funny because my mom and I both knew I was grown up now. David’s an...

There’s No Avoiding the Goon

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Back in July 2010, two compelling novels were published by Random House. One was “Stash” by David Klein and the other was “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. Both novels were structured around interlocking stories told from the point of view of multiple characters, but while Egan’s book became a huge bestseller and winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Klein’s novel received only modest...

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 Mindset Gap

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There’s a weekly Sunday email newsletter I subscribe to called Brain Food, which claims to be “packed with timeless insights and actionable ideas from a wide range of disciplines.” It’s kind of a self-improvement epistle centered around thinking and decision making, mostly geared toward the professional class, but interesting enough to a writer like me. This week’s newsletter, in its “Tiny...

Ask Dave: An Unethical Love Letter?

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I thought I had shut my Ask Dave website down after receiving a number of complaints about the advice I’d given to a fellow who was trying to stay clean and after being investigated by authorities who rudely accused me of making up stuff about someone who closely resembled former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo. But apparently the site is still live and I recently got this letter: Dear...

Gazing at the Face

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I’ve never lost my phone or worried someone would pick it up and start snooping. Maybe I should be more concerned: imagine all my secrets revealed. And there’s always the first time it happens: you say you never lose your phone and then you do. So I recently added facial recognition to the lock screen of my phone, with a password backup . That’s how you enter the inner sanctum now. I’ve shared my...

David Klein

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

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