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This spectacular photo in an ad in Lufthansa Magazin captures a wonderful feel for summer. Todd and I were on our way to Italy.

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The quote below, from The Moviegoer  is among the most quietly visceral Every Man passages I’ve ever read. So accurate, so clinical, so very human.  The protagonist, a young New Orleans investment counselor, is standing on the library steps talking to a woman friend he happened to run into.

“…To our utter amazement we discovered that we both have the same life-goal. Do you know what it is?” “No.” “To make a contribution, however small, and leave the world just a little better off.” “That’s very good,” I say somewhat uneasily and shift about on the library steps. I can talk to Nell as long as I don’t look at her. Looking into her eyes is an embarrassment. “—we gave the television to the kids and last night we turned on the hi-fi and sat by the fire and read The Prophet aloud. I don’t find life gloomy!” she cries. “To me, books and people and things are endlessly fascinating. Don’t you think so?” “Yes.” A rumble has commenced in my descending bowel, heralding a tremendous defecation. Nell goes on talking and there is nothing to do but shift around as best one can, take care not to fart, and watch her in a general sort of way: a forty-year-old woman with a good open American face and another forty years left in her; and eager, above all, eager, with that plaintive lost eagerness American college women get at a certain age.

Photo of Walker Percy is from

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Point of view–how a story is told–is all important, as illustrated by this Marshall Clarke photograph, in which either the photographer (or perhaps the cover editor?) got the POV just right for this action shot to herald the article “Fast Company” about the Hopkins championship cross-country runners.

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If we lived in London…


As a writer, one receives many more rejections than acceptances or prizes. I say this as an author with five published stories and with first prizes for short fiction and mystery from the Maryland Writers’ Association, as well as with a small-press debut novel favorably reviewed in a respected source (in the Washington Independent Review of Books, here, in case you haven’t read it). But one of my favorite accolades as a writer came in the form of the email invitation below to an event last September. If we lived in London, we certainly would have attended. (Even living on this side of the ocean, we might have attended but for Todd’s teaching schedule and my sister’s nearness to death.) Clearly, the crew at the London-based Erotic Review Magazine are fun people.

If you haven’t read my humorous story “Incorrigible” in their magazine, you may do so here.

(Photo of the Polish Club, above, from

Dear Contributor and/or Friend of the Erotic Review,

We’re celebrating our 21st Birthday at ThePolish Club, 55 Prince’s Gate, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PG.
The party starts at 7pm on Wednesday 21st September and there’ll be a few short speeches, a burlesque performance, canapés and plenty of vodka cocktails. And dancing later on if we can still stand up.
We really hope you’ll be able to come: if you can, please RSVP to (just put ‘ACCEPT’ in the subject box) and we’ll put you on the list. Please either print out the invitation attached (or have it on your mobile) to bring along on the night.
Looking forward very much to seeing you then,
Jamie & Lisa
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Ode to Bank of America, Southern California Gas and, Most of All, Nationwide


“We can’t acknowledge your sister’s death until we have a death certificate,” said the woman at the branch where my sister had done her banking. Meantime they would continue to honor automatic transfers, she assured me.

A mailing I received from the gas company complained that the bank didn’t pay their bill by automatic transfer and attached a non-payment fee. I wasn’t surprised, since many people work for large corporations and don’t know what they themselves are doing, much less what the corporation might do. Filling this gap in information seems to be modern man’s biggest challenge.

A previous letter I’d received from the gas company, in response to my request that they send statements to my address instead of to my late sister’s, said they were shutting off service in seven days.

To the gas company’s second mailing–the bill that the bank didn’t pay–I attached a check and a note: “I trust you turned off service, per your letter attached. With my sister’s death, and with the condo being all electric otherwise, only the stove will cause a new owner to have gas.”

Nationwide wins in the absurdity and insensitivity contest. Less than 60 days after my sister’s death I received from them a letter that said at top *****SECOND NOTICE****** and at bottom a threat to escheat the account to the state. Mind you, under the governing California law, an estate can’t claim property until 40 days after a death. Why a *****SECOND NOTICE*****? And when does property escheat to the state–they conveniently leave that information out. Surely not within a few months?

(Photo above Frightened Face, I didn’t look that good even when I was twenty.)


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