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With an extra hour gifted to me at 2am last night:

Visited Aruba at dawn before the powdery white sand was even warm; could see Mount Jamanota. Took the double-decker green trolley in Oranjestad. Seeing a blissful smile, the driver asked, Vrije tijd? Ja inderaad, I replied, and climbed to the upper deck in order to look out for the sea. I went as far as the trolley would take me, then walked the rest of the way to the beach. After sixty minutes I exhaled.

My lap and thighs were covered by a red wool blanket. My eyes closed, my ears took a holiday at a time share. Had a luscious, deep tissue, satisfying foot massage.

Looped the Ronettes singing “Be My Baby” written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector, released in July 1963. After thirty-four minutes sixteen seconds, I’d had enough. Used the remaining time to drive across the Whitestone Bridge and visit White Castle for burgers with onions, pickle, and ketchup.

Completed math assignment unfinished in 1959.

Played my clarinet until each and every puffy Narcissist in my life was driven away and its reed was soaking wet.

On Sunday, March 11th, 2018, at 2am, the gift I received last night – one hour of time – along with all use made of that gift, must be returned to giver.

On Lost things like time:

[excerpt from Part II – Gone But Not Forgotten –

“Found and Lost” – Notting Hill Editions/UK]

Dear Maria Mosca,

Thanks for your patience. I was away from New York and did not receive your letter until I returned. Thanks too for writing and for reading Fiet’s Vase, a favorite of my books, though less known than others. If I understand you correctly, you ask if I have suggestions about filling in missing pieces in books that I’ve written. There are two ways I have dealt with this. First, to go there, the place where the story takes place, and look for yourself, find survivors of the time with whom to speak. (You’d best hurry, though, as these living pieces of history are rapidly leaving us.) In this case it would mean going to Utrecht, also to Joure in Friesland. This is what I’ve mostly done. (Zurich, Paris, Trieste, Krakow, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Budapest and beyond, for Holocaust-related work such as Fiet’s Vase, Anne Frank Remembered, The Devil’s Mistress, and so on.) Go to the place and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll find, especially in the Netherlands where so much remains as it was. You may actually come face to face with exactly what your subject saw, even if it occurred seventy years ago.

But, when something is really gone, can’t be retrieved – missing pieces, swathes of time, shards of information – there’s nothing to do but to work around what is missing. After all, retrieving these stories is a reconstitution anyway. It’s like pulling a statue from the sea, when it’s been underwater for a very long time. A nose, a leg, a shoulder, perhaps half the torso are missing. I personally find it beautiful in its fractured imperfection, and have no choice but to exclude what’s missing, and texture the remainder somehow.

An example of this, in my case, is when the time came to interview Miep and Jan Gies about Margot Frank, Anne’s sister, obviously a major figure in the saga that became Anne Frank Remembered. I had reserved a couple of interviewing days for Margot; arrived at the Gieses’ apartment where we worked every day. After coffee and cake, I explained that the time had come for them to tell me about Margot. Miep shook her head; Jan shrugged. When I asked how I should interpret their reactions, they explained that, although Margot had been in the picture from 1933 when Mrs. Frank and the children (who had been waiting in Aachen, Germany, for him to get settled) joined Mr. Frank in Amsterdam, they never really got to know her. Although Miep’s association with the Frank family began in ’33, then Jan’s did a little later on, both continuing until August 1944 (the day of the arrest), during all this time, they explained, they had almost no real interaction with Margot. In those years children were not expected to mix with adults, and Margot had not. The only reason they had a relationship with Anne was because Anne had defied social convention, had sought them out, been curious and bold, gregarious and friendly, asked them to spend a night at the hiding place and hence had emerged as a person in her own right; whereas Margot, though polite, had always hung back. This left me, the writer, in a strange dilemma. It meant that there would inevitably be a big blank around one of the major characters in the story. And, if you check Anne Frank Remembered, you’ll see there’s texture, and bits of historically accurate information, but that Margot – sadly – never emerges as anything more than the shadow she was to the Gieses. I guess we deal, as writers, with missing pieces and holes case by case.

Again, thank you for writing. Don’t know if I’ve been of any help. I wish you luck whether or not your subject changes his mind.



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