July 18, 2017
Seven years ago, editors I did not know at a web site that had not yet launched asked me to do a piece about my generation. “The Boomers had great promise,” they said. “But they threw it away on sex and drugs.”
“I can’t speak for others,” I replied, “but sex and drugs are how I learned to be a man.”
“Okay,” they said. “Write that.”
Until then, I used made-up characters and celebrities in screenplays and journalism to explain how I felt. Now — for the first time ever — I was trapped into writing directly about my life. As growth experiences often are, it was humbling and painful. But it came with benefits: I was in a conversation. For a writer who works alone, in silence, that is huge.
Over the years, I’ve published often on the site. It’s been gratifying. And, over time, comfortable. Now comes a self-generated disruption: a plan for actual conversations. Certain to be uncomfortable for me. And humbling. But in a time when it’s easy to feel isolated and alone, definitely the right idea, and I support it at every level — including financially. Here’s how you can help.
July 14, 2017
Laura Harrington may have won the Kleban Award for most promising librettist in American Musical Theatre, but I know her only as a novelist. And I came to know her quite unwillingly. Would I read a novel about a girl in upstate New York whose father grows “the best corn and the best tomatoes in town?” No thanks. Her publicist persisted. A 14-year-old girl? A father in the National Guard whose unit is called up? Oh, and he goes to Iraq. I groaned. But the publicist really seemed to love “Alice Bliss.” And it was short. I let her send it.
There are books that manipulate you into tears, and then there are books that rip you apart, and you keep reading even though it hurts and your tears are raining — I mean that: raining — on the page. That was Alice Bliss for me. I’m not surprised that it won the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction and will soon be staged as a musical.
In her just-published second novel, “A Catalog of Birds,” Harrington has taken on bio-chemical warfare and the poisoning of the innocent. She’s set her book in 1970, at the height of a war that damaged everyone it touched. Nell Flynn is a strong student, headed for college and a career in science. Her brother Billy is headed nowhere — he enlisted as a pilot, his helicopter is shot down in Vietnam, he’s the only survivor. He’d been a gifted artist, specializing in birds; now he can barely hold a pencil. The question that drives the book: Can Billy be healed? Can his life be saved?
As a writer, Laura Harrington’s instinct is to go directly to the broken places, the critical times, the glaring problems, the fraught relationships, and then to shine a light on them that is fresh and illuminating, and makes you glad you gave yourself over to her book. Because you’re not just reading a “family saga” here — you become a Flynn. Yes, it’s that good. To order the paperback from Amazon, click here. For the ebook, click here. To read an excerpt, click here.
June 30, 2017
A friend with an adorable child recommended Opal Campbell to us, and on Day One we knew we’d won the child care lottery. In 4 years, she helped our kid be a lot like her: loving, attentive, conscientious, fun. Now she’d like a job in NYC as a companion. Call her at 917-533-3487. If you want more praise, write me.
June 28, 2017
In 2015, Michael Kusek did something insane: As magazines were folding left and right, he launched Take, focusing on “New England’s New Culture” — food, art, film, theater, literature/poetry, dance, design and architecture. Take started online, then added a magazine so beautifully produced it honored the best coffee tables in New England. Rachel Maddow praised Take in the Washington Post. A media guru named Take one of the year’s hottest magazine launches. Circulation hit 5 digits. Then the money dried up, and Take retreated to the Web. In September, it returns to print as well. I’m with Rachel Maddow in my enthusiasm for this venture. If you live in New England or are traveling there, you’ll do well to visit Take.
June 24, 2017
It happens all the time: Kriena Nederveen enters a room, and, for a second, time stops. It’s not just because she’s strikingly beautiful. It’s more because she’s so….stylish. Not, like, kitted out in this season’s trending outfit. Intelligently stylish. What you’d wear if a) you knew where to find these clothes and b) you knew how to put them together to create a “look.” Happily, after decades in the luxury fashion business and as a stylist to movie stars and musicians, she’s struck out on her own. Clé D’Or is a boutique that works 1-to-1 for women and men. Kriena can start by shopping in your closet and de-cluttering. And/or she can be your personal shopper, your beauty concierge, your go-to resource when you need a special gift. I’m sure she could even figure out who I might be if I dared to go beyond khakis and button-down Oxford shirts — but because I’m impossible, you move up in the line. Here’s the site. Here’s some praise. And here’s how to contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org