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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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“A free day, a perfect pearl”

I awakened today and found a gift had had been given to me during the night. The gift: a day that belongs entirely to me; seamless; to be shared or not as I like. Virginia Woolf’s line, ‘A free day, a perfect pearl‘ comes to mind. I google the line in order to attribute it properly. What comes up: 1) Wikiquotes/Virginia_Woolf 2) Love in the Second Act: True(…)

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Fear of impending doom

As spring of 1945 burst through exhausted ruins, peace visited Europe beginning on May 8th. Now was a chance to make a better world and what better time to begin than spring. A few days less than three months later, August 6th, 8:15 a.m. 1945 an American B-29 bomber dropped a uranium gun-type atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” on Hiroshima,(…)

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Notes from Ecuador

A young Canadian acquaintance has gone to the interior of Ecuador as a volunteer. Following are a few notes taken from a phone call he made during his stay: “…, they are the most beautiful and lovely people. Words can’t even describe how beautiful they are. I went there to help them. But they helped me –(…)

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