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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Between Books: ending one novel and beginning another

I finished writing, rewriting, and editing “Max, the blind guy” two weeks ago. Finishing a book, as most writers can attest, is a loss; it takes something out of you and away from you. You also breathe better after this loss.

I liken the end of a book to the loss of a friend you had come to dream of ditching after a long bout of traveling together, and now it’s time to part ways, perhaps forever, but at least for a few months, to get the smell of his three-day-old shirts out of your nostrils and the echo of his voice off your mind.

But now I need a new friend. Not Max, or Greta, but a new “guy” and “girl” with whom I can hang around, and who will entertain me and horrify me; people who I’ll not know completely for a while, and then learn all their intimate details, even their secrets. This type of “friendship learning” was not always available to me. For several years I would meet a few friends, only for them to leave me too shortly, before their story was complete; maybe I’ll run into those few cotton-and-carbon souls again, and then I’ll have the chance to catch up and learn more, maybe all that they have to tell.

Those past friends will have a bit of a time to get my attention though. In the last five years I’ve come across many potential friends whom I want to befriend and learn all about their lives. My imagination of them, and others, is fecund, and I’ll ride this wave until I don’t know how to surf any more. Maximilian Ruth and Greta Klein were such a pair; I saw them in the spring of 2009, and they weren’t far away from my mind until their story was finally all told, and complete, two weeks ago.

As for now, SURF’S UP … I’m on the board once again. There’s a new pair of friends, Earnest and Charlotte, whose stories have piqued my imagination for quite a while; they bother me, in the most subtle manner. We’re getting together in a couple of weeks. Our meeting ought to be unusual, as are most first formal gatherings. I wonder what they’ll ask me.


“Max, the blind guy” is a story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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