A Story in One Sentence

After watching the Oscars last night I was reminded of something that happened years ago when I was a volunteer tutor at 826 Valencia in San Francisco. A bunch of young teens from Oakland came to 826 for some help with their essays. One kid, slouching deeply into his hoodie, body language clearly indicating he’d rather be anywhere else, had one sentence in his notebook. I asked what he was writing about and he said, “All Quiet on the Western Front.” His one sentence: “The soldiers made lifelong friendships that didn’t last very long.”
I told him: this is one of the best sentences I’ve ever read. And it was true. Wish I remembered his name, but I will never forget the look on his face.

…and we’re back!

PSA: Do not assume that benign neglect is a good strategy for maintaining a website. After over a year of not posting anything (!) and getting around to updating articles and interviews (and sadly deleting many past their sell date links), I was shocked recently to discover that my beautiful design had disappeared and someContinue Reading

The Sister card

April 9, 2022 My sister’s birthday. Earlier this year, I went through the big box full of my sister’s documents and mementos. I found the card we’d exchanged over several years. I thought I’d lost it or misplaced it, so this was a wonderful surprise. I only wish we’d been able to send it toContinue Reading

A few notes on Stanley Tucci’s new book

I recently read Stanley Tucci’s new book, “Taste: My Life Through Food.” I have never met him, and I probably never will, but I wanted to say a couple of things about this book, which I really did enjoy. First (and this is a pet peeve of mine), if you make a pun, it isContinue Reading

Patriotism, Politics, and Playing Ball Revisited, One More Time

Update: 2020. This is something I wrote in 2005. During the opening ceremonies at the World Series Game 2 in San Francisco in 2003, a giant American flag filled the field, held high by representatives of our armed services. A Marine who had lost both legs and an arm tossed out the first pitch. TheContinue ReadingContinue Reading

I Want a New Drug

I did write this, but I don’t remember why exactly. For a class I was taking? It was pre-legalization and pre-dispensaries, so there’s that. Anyway. Oh, the places you’ll go when you clean out your file drawers.     Alpha-Hendrixanol™ (as advertised in AARP Magazine) Developed by the Pheelgood School of Herbal Energetics Wouldn’t youContinue Reading

The Book of Leaves

April 6th, 2020 Closets and drawers have been weeded through and organized. Small repairs have been made here and there as we continue to shelter in place. After years of dreading the task,it was finally time to get out the big box of photos that had been languishing unsorted for decades, probably. On a dayContinue Reading

Books and More Books

  On a whim, I recently combed through my bookshelves and gathered together all the print books, anthologies and journals I have contributed to in some way: either as writer/ editor, beta reader, Kickstarter donor or friend. Some authors kindly added my name to the acknowledgements, which came as a pleasant surprise. The book IContinue Reading

It’s that time of year again.

Nu? So It’s Christmas

September 24, 1919

On this day, the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, here are the thoughts I jotted down to read at his memorial service in 2001. My dad was a teacher, and like many outstanding teachers, he never took time off from teaching. Sure, there were vacations and summers, but he was always on the job.Continue Reading