A New Love: Meeting Monk

A New Love: Meeting Monk

In 1987, my beautiful English cocker died of liver cancer. He was 14 years old. He left me shortly after my mother’s death, the death of my dearest cousin, and in the midst of my divorce. To say the least, it was a difficult year. I was single in New York City, working for peanuts at a nonprofit and trying to finish a master’s degree. I lived in a fourth-floor walk-up, and my dog could no longer make it up the stairs. I was also very poor. The thought of getting another dog, as much as I had loved this one, was beyond consideration. I mourned Troubles for many years, twenty to be exact. Every dog I met would launch me into the story of my deceased English cocker. People listened politely, even sympathetically, until they would finally ask, “Why don’t you get...

Interview with Five Directions Press

I was delighted to share time with author Joan Schweighhardt during this interview for Five Directions Press, which describes itself as “literary journeys along paths less traveled.” In this lovely conversation, she asks me about my transition from my career as a psychoanalyst to author. She draws out some very interesting aspects about my novel What Survives, as well as Myopia, a memoir. Plus, this is my first interview where I reveal what lies ahead: My next novel, As They Are, which is a prequel to What Survives. So many readers of What Survives were intrigued by Fatma, the older blind woman who comes to the aid of Adalet, the main character in What Survives. Everyone wanted to know more about her. And so did I. I know that there is a third novel, but it...

Loss of a Different Kind

Loss of a Different Kind

In these terrible times of multiple losses and deaths, the separation of children from their families, widespread hunger and poverty, the forced isolation brought about by the coronavirus, it might be difficult for anyone to appreciate what the loss of my furry four-legged companion might mean to me. Until that last Monday of the year, at 11:30 a.m., when our beautiful Australian Cattle Dog, Django, took his last breath in our arms, I was never alone. He was a working dog, and I was his job. He followed me everywhere I went, sitting patiently by my side while I spent what must have seemed to him to be meaningless hours at my computer. Django slept by our sides and shared in our food. He didn’t have to beg—he was simply included. He knew his place, and it was...

Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

The past several years, just before my novel What Survives came out, I became friendly with some Turkish folks who left their homeland for asylum in the United States. Shortly after their arrival, Trump was elected President of the United States. When I asked my new friends if they were concerned about being deported or what might come of this administration, they told me not to worry. There are checks and balances here, they said. They also said: And I am seeking asylum. So, I am fine. Don’t worry about me. As our checks and balances began to be wiped away, I wondered if they realized what was happening. Most of them were too busy trying to establish themselves in a new country, struggling with learning English, dealing with family members and friends in Turkey...

A Question of Carbon Footprints and Other Potential Transgressions

I was in conversation with a dear friend, one who constantly challenges me to examine my better conscience and my behavior in relationship to the earth. I had just returned from my fifth trip to Mexico, a place where I am always happy to be. The kind and loving nature of the people, the colors, the tastes and smells, the music and fireworks, the history and cultural blend of Indigenous and Hispanic influences inspire and intrigue me. As I have had a long love affair with the desert and Turkey, I also dearly love Mexico. Call me fickle, I have always yearned to explore other places and other people. But I’m aware of my carbon footprint. This awareness does rub roughly against the isolation I feel when I limit my travel to keep my carbon footprint negligible. If we...

Reading Proust in Book Club

Reading Proust in Book Club

My book club, like most book clubs, has shifted its membership over the years. When I was invited to join, there were at least a dozen members. Now we are six. Several folks moved away, and a couple passed away. We made a declaration to keep going. During one of our most doubtful periods, and at the loss of another member, someone asked: Has anyone read Proust? These are really bright people. We do have one man in the group, so I cannot say “bright women,” but these are not readers of best sellers or pop fiction. We are serious readers. And yet, not one of us had ever read Proust. So, we agreed to read one volume of Proust every other month. In between, we would read something else, to be determined, but something not so dense. And so, we began, not without some...

Life isn’t fair

Life isn’t fair

As I gaze at the photo above, I cannot know if these little boys were merely having fun or this was how they managed to eat. They look clean and decently dressed, so perhaps it was a game. Who can come up with the best treasure? I hope it was all in fun, but the neighborhood was poor. I will never know. A number of years ago, when I was a white belt in karate, there was an instructor who would get us all into push-up position, and while we held our bodies up by our palms or fists or fingertips—whichever push-ups we were doing that day—he would give a brief discourse  beginning with “life isn’t fair.”  Of course, no discourse feels brief when one is holding a push-up position. I took this instructor’s class many times until I myself began to teach, and I...

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