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July 29, 2014
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Letters Home

Randy Lee Hulcy

I walk by Randy Lee Hulcy every day, because he lives on Fifth Avenue and 60th Street, and it’s on my way to work. Randy is easy to spot by his big bushy gray beard, and he is often strangely (albeit fashionably) dressed with colorful scarves, dress pants and dirty high-top sneakers. I’d guess that he’s 65 years old, but it’s hard to tell.  Read more

Back to school

“Editing, after all, is an art achieved largely by subtraction, by a negation of all of those elements that do not serve the final product.”

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m preparing for my upcoming class at New York University as an adjunct professor. It’s the third time I’ve assembled a lecture about the role of an editor, and I glance briefly over my previous notes: inspiring quotes about the art of editing, a few examples of famously edited scenes, and a brief bio of my own work.  Read more

A Mexican shakedown

As the lights flashed red and blue, the uniformed policìa on a motorcycle motioned to the right for us to pull over, and I had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was, luckily, not driving, and so I had a perfectly framed view of the portly mustached man riding smoothly next to us.

If it hadn’t been so dark, I imagine I would have seen a grin spread across his face. He had hooked us; a group of American tourists with pockets full of cash, out late enough to shake us down. It’s our last night in Mexico, our first and only in Cancun.  Read more

Traditions

As Emily and I drove back to the city from my Aunt Sharon’s house, with bellies full of Christmas dinner, my eyes filled unexpectedly with tears. It was difficult to put my finger on what caused this emotional outburst since it had been a great day of exchanging presents, eating delicious food and hanging out with my family. I love Christmas and always have.  Read more

Fowl mood: Hickory’s revenge, Part 2

[Editor’s note: Part 1 of this story, which appeared in The River Reporter issue of December 5, 2013, continued the tale of the Turkey Bandit and how he freed 50 turkeys, ruining Farmer Hickory’s Thanksgiving. In Part 1, the Bandit awakes to find that his family, Hen and Junior, have been kidnapped. As we pick up the story, the Turkey Bandit is trying to attempt a rescue of his family from the farmhouse….]  Read more

Fowl mood: Hickory’s revenge

[Editor’s note: The Turkey Bandit was first introduced in the Letters Home column in 2010. The saga continues....]

Previously, we heard the account of the Turkey Bandit’s Hickory Farms rescue. The Bandit and his partner, Jack, had outsmarted the watchdog, shut off the alarm and freed 50 birds from their upcoming slaughter; to the Bandit’s delight it had ruined poor Old Farmer Hickory’s Thanksgiving.  Read more

The estate dinner

The dinner was on the books for a few weeks before Emily and I got dressed up and walked the few blocks to the fancy restaurant in the West Village where we were to meet Harris. He had been a good friend of Emily’s father, Carl, before he died, and now controlled his estate.

Needless to say, I wanted to make a good impression.  Read more

Captured

Emily and I are on the chairlift heading towards the Great Wall of China. It’s beautifully quiet, with nothing to hear save for the whirr of the lift and the occasional bird chirp. Eventually, the trees part and the wall appears over the horizon. It is breathtaking and stretches as far as the eye can see. Suddenly, the camera shakes and the image freezes. Rewinds. The trees part and the wall appears over the horizon again and this time the image FREEZES before the camera shakes.  Read more

A run-in with the law

I came over the hill and saw him. Staring blankly back at me. As fast as I could manage, my foot glanced the brake and I slowed. If cars had faces (as a young child I got this idea in my head and forever see their head-lighted eyes, grill noses and bumper mouths) then this cop car was glaring at me.  Read more

Thirty

It is a beautiful late summer night on a rooftop in New York City, and I am surrounded by close friends at my 30th birthday. All night, I bound from conversation to conversation never really feeling like I get to spend enough time with any one person. Then IT happens.  Read more