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In This Corner, Will Smith

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I can’t say I watched the Academy Awards Sunday night, but I repeatedly replayed the video of actor Will Smith going up on stage and slapping comedian Chris Rock when Rock made a joke about looking forward to seeing Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, starring in GI-Jane 2. If you don’t know the reference, the actress Demi Moore—famously hot at the time (1997)—famously shaved her head as a marine...

Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action

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I had an opportunity to see the Oscar-nominated live-action short films. Every year (except for the last two because of Covid), these films are shown at my local Spectrum Theater. After the last time I saw the live-action shorts in 2019, I said I never wanted to go again. Each of those short films (there are usually five or six shown together) was so utterly depressing and tragic that I left the...

Grief on a Timetable

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Since the U.S. is sure to pass one million Covid deaths (970,000 and counting), it might be opportune timing that a new mental disorder diagnosis has just been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): Prolonged Grief Disorder. The DSM is a comprehensive classification of officially recognized psychiatric disorders. Published by the American Psychiatric Association...

Hope Springs Eternal

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Fighting through a maze of rocks and winter’s dead leaves, this harbinger of spring, two crocus blooms, purple and gold, determined to be seen and I saw them, surprised and pleased. War and death and disease and hatred—and still, hope springs eternal.

Pie vs. π

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That’s right, it’s Pi Day—March 14, or 3.14. Or 3.141592654 and on and on, with no repeating pattern. What does one do on Pi Day? Bake pies. For those who may not remember Euclidian geometry, Pi, represented by the Greek letter π, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. For any circle, the distance around the edge is a little more than three times the distance across. Two...

Living Off the Land

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Tapped the tree, cooked the sap, made breakfast. We’ve got four mature maple trees on our property and I tapped two of them this year.  The time to tap is when the nights are below freezing and the days warm up enough to get the sap flowing. On a good day, I get a half-gallon of sap from each tree. On a frozen day, nothing. Tapping a tree is the easy part. Drill a hole, stick in a tap, and...

“The Worst Person in the World”

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I’m fortunate to live just a few minutes from the Spectrum 8 Theaters, where independent and foreign films are still shown. And now that I’m going to theaters again, I had a chance to see The Worst Person in the World, a subtitled film from Norway that takes place in Oslo. Simply seeing another culture with its nuances and new faces depicted is refreshing for me. I’d classify the film as a...

I Caught Her Reading My Journal

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I caught her reading my journal. I got home and she was already at my place, which is within our rules. When one of us is late the other knows where the key is hidden. Make yourself comfortable. That means open the refrigerator, check out my bookcases, pet my cat. It never means read my journal. I’d left it on my desk. Cover closed, but plain as day. It’s the journal where I write my private...

What About That Ending?

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I’m in a phase of rereading some of my favorite novels that I’ve been pulling from my bookshelves. Last week it was Revolutionary Road. This week it was In the Lake of the Woods. Only a daring and confident writer (or a misguided one) would write a novel that carries the reader along, building an overwhelming sense of suspense and uncertainty, and then leave what seems to be the major story...

It’s Not So Easy Being A Giant

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André the Giant was born André René Roussimoff, a French professional wrestler who was over seven feet tall and afflicted with acromegaly, a disorder in which the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. He died at age forty-six.  Visiting a statue of Robert Wadlow when the kids were young. Robert Wadlow, also known as the Giant of Illinois, at eight feet eleven inches, was the tallest...

Summoning The Crows

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Maybe you do too, but I have days firmly in a dark place. I wake up that way. The writing goes poorly, or I say something I regret, or the news of the world has me down. Maybe Prince Happy keeps telling me how life is good, but I’m still feeling like the man in black. With all the light I have, still the shadow looms. I know the playbook. Get mindful and meditative. Savor, savor, savor...

The Road to Suburban Malaise

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One of the things that drew me to literary fiction as both a writer and a reader is the deep dives this form of art takes into human psychology, desires, identity, and motivation. Through novels and short stories I was able to cultivate my sense of empathy and at times “see myself” in other characters and through fictional worlds. One of those worlds is suburbia, where I have lived for more than...

The Dating App Era

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People used to place personal ads in newspapers in hopes of finding potential mates. There’s a steamy Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin thriller, Sea of Love, in which Pacino plays a cop who goes on date after date trying to identify a serial killer that’s using the personal classifieds to lure his victims. Ellen Barkin is either the femme fatale or the love interest, or both. The days of personal...

Gaslighting

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Harriet’s in Florida for a few days visiting her mom so this was an ideal time for me to finish painting her closet doors. I’d been careful about moving her clothes out of the way of my brush while sliding the overlapping doors back and forth to gain access to the edges and the sides. I was on my third coat of paint, since I was covering dark wood with white paint. And then I noticed it: a...

Hot Meditation

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I’m not a good meditator, when it comes to closing eyes and focusing on the breath and clearing the busyness of my mind. I get restless, I get bored, and even if I have what I might call a “good meditative session” I don’t notice any positive aftereffects. But put me in front of my fire, close to the heat, and I’ll watch the flames perform. Where will the tongues will flicker next and which piece...

This Happened On Valentine’s Day

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Close to 7:30, Valentine’s Day, the restaurant full. “Remember, when Vic and Simone get here, act like you don’t know anything,” Kyle said. “I will,” Anna said. “I told you I will.” Anna wasn’t good at hiding her excitement. Her emotions played on her face like a movie on the big screen. She often looked like someone on the verge of bursting into song, although she never fully did. “When they...

THE POWER OF THE DOG

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I’m very much in the minority on this one: I didn’t love the film The Power of the Dog, by acclaimed filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano). Me, who likes the understated, who appreciates the quiet story, found myself restless, even bored at times while watching the movie. The drawling narrative focuses on two brothers, wealthy ranchers in Montana in 1925. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the classic macho...

A Way to Make Life More Bearable

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I got a Facebook message from a woman who said her granddaughter has “her heart set on being a writer.” Said granddaughter is always writing in her journal and writing poems and stories. Grandmother wants to know if I have any advice or tips she can pass on to her granddaughter. Sometimes I think there’s more advice out there about writing than there is actual writing. Do a Google...

Immoral Books

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What book are you reading? It’s called “Maus.” What? Where did you get that? The school board made it very clear that book was being removed from the library. Noelle lent it to me. She owns a copy. You’re not supposed to have that book. It shows people hanging. It shows the Nazis killing kids and there are naked people in the book. Schools should not be promoting that kind of thing. They’re not...

David Klein

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

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