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Dear Mom:


I think of you on July 9, and today I was digging through my box of family artifacts and remembering that period of time we were writing letters to each other. I might have been recently graduated from college. I’m not sure how we got started, but in a few of my letters I was trying to explain some life decisions I’d made. Where to live, what kind of job to take, some relationship matter. Maybe...

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?


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...



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


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...

Fugue State


Robert survived the plane crash, walked away, and disappeared for two days before he was found, waking up and returning to himself only when the police knocked on the hotel room door he was occupying with a woman he did not recognize. The diagnosis was dissociative fugue: a rare psychological disorder characterized by a complete loss of identity and unplanned, unintentional wandering, caused by...



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...

Empathy Takes a Toll


I’m on my front lawn installing a wire cage around an aspen sapling to keep the grazing deer off the sweet new leaves. Less than four feet tall, I hope the tree will make it. A dark sedan pulls up in front of my house. I stay with my work for a moment, bending back tines to connect the circle. I look up and walk over and lean on the open passenger window. It’s Jean from across the street, my...

The Labyrinth


This maze of cracked boulders the size of houses and jagged shards of sandstone like the tables of giants pitched at awkward hard angles. You’d best be nimble with all four limbs and your feet and hands because you’ll climb and crawl and mount and squish and wiggle through tight passages under and over a moonscape of rock. Up and down and across holding your balance facing one decision and then...

Dad Lessons I’ve Learned


In honor of all fathers . . . 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 make time for them. 2. Be interested What you’re interested in is not...

Memory Lane: Investors Wanted


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”


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


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...

If You’re Feeling Woebegone, Try Woebot


“Hi David, How are you feeling today?” So begins my chat with Woebot (quite the name!), an artificial intelligence-based chatbot that provides mental health therapy. I can write something in the text box or choose from a long list of feelings: anxious, depressed, sad, frustrated, happy (although who’s feeling happy if they’re using a therapy chatbot?), and many others. I don’t have a particular...

Children Are Cutting Off Their Parents


I just read a troubling article in The Economist: “How many American children have cut contact with their parents?” Quite a few: “. . . Familial estrangement seems to be widespread in America. The first large-scale nationwide survey, recently conducted by Cornell University, found that 27 percent of adult Americans are estranged from a close family member.” The actual percentage is likely higher...

Keep Going, Keep Going


That’s Fred in the center of the photo, Number 8, leaning into the first turn of his motocross race, just seconds after a thunderous start and sprint out of the starting gate. Fumes and dirt flying. Combined engines like a jet taking off. A younger man’s game, right? No. Fred is my age–and he’s still a beast on a motocross bike. He came in second in his class on a hot day...

Ask Dave is Getting Busy


I’ve suddenly been getting a lot of letters directed to my advice column. Clearly, people are dealing with a lot of problems these days. I can’t say I’m surprised. Recently, I advised a fellow who almost burned himself up. Then I had a letter from a VIP in New York State government, who subsequently wrote back praising my advice for him and confessing something rather personal...

Who Needs Handlebars?


How better to accept and appreciate living in the suburbs than riding your bike through quiet neighborhoods of tasteful houses and smooth, paved roads, no hands, lilacs and lawnmowers in the air, sitting high above your handlebars, pedaling, arms stretched out, balancing even through the tiny thrill of leaning into a corner and turning onto the next pretty block, no hands, no hands. What a...

Team Player or Solo Contributor?


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...



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...

David Klein

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


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