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Guest: Part II of II — Ruins

Part II: Ruins on the Mountain When the Canadian poet (not yet a novelist, not yet a musical sensation) Leonard Cohen came to Hydra in 1960 and bought a home there, he attempted to inveigle himself into Ghikas’s villa by means of his slim connection to Jacob Rothschild, whom he had recently met in London.(…)

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Guest: Part I of II – Ruins

Guest: Part I of II – Ruins

  I’ve a long, rich association with the author of this post, Helle Valborg Goldman. It’s a pleasure to welcome her as my first invited guest. She’s a kindred spirit, always was, always will be. Helle has been mulling over long form ideas relating to the atmospheric, mythic Isle of Hydra, Greece, where our families met, got close and where I(…)

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This place

If you dropped your wallet in the central square, it would still be there the following day; untouched, including contents. Someone I haven’t seen in years sits at the next café table. Without fanfare, we resume a conversation begun in 1985. A bakery, once new, is known as the Old New Bakery. The more recent, the New(…)

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Why we need schmaltz

At the movies, needing a good cry: Random Harvest, 1942, with Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson. War-addled Charles, an English officer, has amnesia. He’s in a sanatorium. An orderly forgets to lock a door on the day World War I ends and Charles wanders out into the world. He is drawn into a cabaret during a celebratory performance and taken under the wing of Paula,(…)

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Forever evermore

I received the following a while ago: Dear Ms. Gold,  We grand- and great-grandchildren of Holocaust survivors would like you as someone we consider one of a dwindling number of guardians of our memories to know that former SS Hauptstormfuther Erich Priebke died a few days ago. He was 100 years old and was the oldest known Nazi war(…)

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The itch needs scratching

Give me a long train or boat trip; give me almost any hotel room, almost anywhere in order to research/develop/write a book, catch up on old NYorker or TLS’s, stare in blank reverie out a window/porthole. I don’t mind being the only guest in dead of winter, am as contented at the Ritz in London as I am at the no star(…)

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Unimagined

I was attending a small liberal arts college just outside of Mexico City on the Taluca Road overlooking Popocatépetl volcano under which Malcolm Lowry’s hero drinks himself to death. I was nineteen. I’d missed my bus back to the city after class that day so I stuck out my thumb to hitchhike and was picked up by two good looking(…)

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In the cards

  Seeing flinty dawn through a porthole, I left my cabin for a cup of coffee. It was November 2013; I was traveling from Patras to Venice on a ship named Coraggio (Anek Lines) with two new friends. A few Turkish truckers and their wives were fast asleep in the lounge where the configuration of classic red and blue playing(…)

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Conversions, from and to

Anticipation still building as Not Not a Jew publication perches on the horizon. Am pleased by reader interest in the subject of Jewish non-Jews and non-Jewish Jews, a many-sided-diamond. There’s the subtle variety of not nots, like the folks soon to be introduced in the new novella. Of course there are also less conflicted varieties, actual Jewish converts, like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn(…)

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A not Jewish Jew

  Inching toward the publication date of Not Not a Jew, I chanced on Oliver Sacks’ moving piece titled “Sabbath” in the NYTimes. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in London’s Cricklewood, Oliver Sacks became estranged from his religion and broke away entirely because of it’s (and his mother’s) aberrance toward his homosexuality. Much like Not Not a Jew‘s Eli, Vera and their son, Ira,(…)

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