Do you notice

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I own a number of Inuit sculptures, each as dense and elemental as the Earth from which it’s wrested. When I pass by one of the pieces, my hand, by some primal instinct, reaches out to caress its silken surface. Cold, yes, and hard, but alluring all the same. And responsive. My touch seems to summon the rock from eons past into the eternal now. The Inuit envision humankind reincarnating in concert with the creatures who sustain their earthly lives. Many of their sculptures depict this movement from human to animal, animal to human. Ever the circle. 

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The Death Cafe

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I counted thirteen participants, a disquieting number for a meeting about death. 

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Autumn Water

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Feeding the fish at dusk yesterday was noticeably chilly. As I sat on the concrete bench at the bank of the cascading koi ponds, I saw that the fish are getting sluggish. The water temp is dropping and their sensitive bodies have begun to acclimatize to approaching winter. Their tiny hearts ultimately will slow to a single beat per minute as they hibernate under the pond ice and sleepily await spring. The miracle of their seemingly simple yet utterly complex existence moved me to this: 

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The Majestic Diner

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Route 17 cutting through the New Jersey suburbs toward Manhattan was bumper to bumper by seven yesterday morning, with clutches of commuters at bus shelters along the way expectantly watching for their transportation. When I stopped for breakfast, a humble ingredient in the omelet led to larger thoughts of first romances long forgotten in a work-weary world. 

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Friends or Playmates?

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A perfect storm of three related coincidences this week has unnerved my until-now comfortable persona as a single, widowed man.

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Saints and Poets, Maybe

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Two months ago, I announced a hiatus from my weekly blog posting in order to free myself to complete the books that have been percolating in my head and in my laptop. 

During that time, I declared my novella, Charming Billy, completed, and I sent the manuscript to Narrative magazine.

Now I’m proud to tell you I’ve completed my next project and sent my essay collection to my editor, Stacey Donovan, for her review prior to publication as a book. Its working title is Saints and Poets, Maybe.

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The Worst Mistake

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Here’s Andrew Solomon, writing in The New Yorker last year:

The worst mistake anyone can make is to perceive anyone else as lesser. The deeper you look into other souls—and writing is primarily an exercise in doing just that—the clearer people’s inherent dignity becomes.

I disagree. 

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Remainders

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In the months since my wife’s death, I’ve been slowly and meticulously disposing of her belongs and shedding household items that accumulated during the decades we were together.

I’m learning that my living alone requires much less stuff than what was needed when we and our two daughters comprised a nuclear family of four.

There are three sets of dishes, for example. Three sets of dishes for two people—who aren’t even kosher.

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I Pressed the Button

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Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

In like manner, yesterday I abandoned further work on my novella, titled Charming Billy, and pressed the SUBMIT button, sending the manuscript across the ether and into the hands of the editors at Narrative magazine. 

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Something New in You

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During the past several weeks I’ve been returning to the theater, one of my first loves, in an effort to restore my life after my wife’s valiant but fruitless sixteen-year struggle with breast cancer. 

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