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December 25, 2014
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Letters Home

Catfish: noun…

I remember learning about catfish from my grandmother. She lived on Route 97 between Narrowsburg and Callicoon and had a small pond in her backyard. When I was a boy, we would sit out by the pond and throw pieces of bread in for the catfish. I loved watching these strange prehistoric creatures nibble the bread up quickly.

“Those are catfish,” my grandmother explained while pointing out their whiskers.

Defined in the dictionary (a word since 1612) catfish are “any of an order (Siluriformes) of chiefly freshwater stout-bodied scaleless bony fishes having long tactile barbels.”  Read more

Lucky

Despite my best efforts, I’m close to an hour late to meet Alex at his place in Brooklyn for my ride out to Sag Harbor for a long Memorial Day weekend with friends. As if to add insult to injury, Emily has traveled out earlier in the day and accomplished the more difficult trip of taking both of our dogs and all of her kitchen supplies.

Needless to say we arrive later than expected.  Read more

The outburst

It had been one of those days when nothing really goes right. My bad mood swirled around my head like a dark mist as I trudged slowly home. Every step was a bother and even the warm reds and yellows of a beautiful setting sun in the distance didn’t cheer me up.  Read more

Memphis

They’ve kept the outside of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in basically the same condition as it was the night Martin Luther King Jr. was shot on April 4, 1968. The same dingy neon sign still hangs (though I’m certain it’s been redone), and the old motel facade stretches down the length of the street. There are even a few period cars parked perfectly, which definitely help sell the time travel vibe.

It’s kind of a strange idea for a Civil Rights Museum, but the effect is absolutely stunning. You feel it. History happened here.  Read more

Spring ahead

I find myself back in the city in time for spring, and not just technically spring; I’m talking about actual warm weather, bare legs, iced coffees, sunglasses and smiles. It’s been so long I barely recognize it, and I still feel like I’m getting away with something nefarious when I venture out in only a sweatshirt.  Read more

A trip to the gun range

The first thing I notice when I pull into Red’s is the group of high school kids milling around in the parking lot. I’m transported back to my own days of loitering around Cinema 6 in Honesdale, PA. Big main difference? Red’s is an indoor gun range outside Austin, Texas.  Read more

Double trouble

The first time Emily asked me what I thought about getting another dog I deflected the question.

Faithful readers will know that Emily and I have a French bulldog named Madeline. She’s getting on in years, and Emily had been reading that adding a young dog into the mix is known to extend an old dog’s life.  Read more

Community meeting

“We know that many of the neighbors are here,” the woman in a business suit said diplomatically. “We, of course, expect that most of them are against us getting this application approved.”  Read more

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