SEPTEMBER 4, 2011 8:38AM

The Grand Tour, Part Two.


 5 th precinct


It was getting dark by the time we reached the West Village.  We cut down east from Abington Square Park and wound up on Hudson Street in front of the White Horse. They still had tables set on the sidewalk. We grabbed one and ordered aRead full post »




I heard the news about Oliver Graeme at three in the morning on the sidewalk outside the fifth precinct in Manhattan, twelve hours after Susan Jelleme told me night court was out of the question.

          “What’s/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 27, 2011 6:44PM

The Leaf Blower and the End of the World




The gardeners are back today.

Collectively, working at different times at all the houses in the wealthy neighborhood where I rent a small house, the noise level they create renders this particular patch of luxury real estate almost uninhabitable throughout the sRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 8, 2011 5:32AM

In Her Sleep: My Mom Curing Parkinson's Disease, Nightly

 Mom and her mom

     My Mom & her Mom, circa 1925



My Mother called me from inside her dream last night.

It wasn’t a psychic experience; she used her cell phone.

My own phone started ringing in the middle of the night. I lurched out of bed,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 2, 2011 5:57PM

Life in the Surreal Sweet-Spot of Our New Non-Economy



If things get bad enough, they can turn out pretty well.

That’s the lesson my friend Dave learned recently. A year ago he was in deep trouble, struggling to pay a three thousand dollar a month mortgage, one late payment away from foreclosure, his interest rate steadilyRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 28, 2011 5:23PM

Jack Kirby Loses Again


 Kirby t work

The film version of Thor was a smash hit a few weeks ago, the Captain America movie looks to surpass it at the box office this weekend, on the heels of The  two Fantastic Four films, two more featuring the Incredible Hulk,  and an entire franchise built around… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 15, 2011 8:21AM

Leaving Dillon, Texas: Farewell to "Friday Night Lights"




The final episode of Friday Night Lights airs tonight, ending a scrappy five season run. It took  the DirecTV satellite network co-financing the show to keep it on the air, in a unique deal that allowed them to air Friday Night Lights before NBC. So for Sa/Read full post »



 merit students

This post originally appeared in the internet literary journal Numero Cinq


Salesmen Wanted

It was July, 1971 and Manhattan was molten in the summer heat. The air wavered over the softening asphalt and walking the furnace streets I felt like I’d been dippedRead full post »


Main Street 

             Back at the house, Julia turned to him as he came in. “You have the oddest book collection I’ve ever seen.”

“But I’ve read them all. That’s the difference.”

“You have Proust -- &rdqRead full post »


 Harlan Mallory stood at the podium, upstairs in the great Hall at the Nantucket Atheneum, talking about his Viet Nam paintings and wondering how he had won this dreary trifeca of social obligations: visitors down from the city, an evening spent with the relentless Julia Copenhaver, anRead full post »



 I just feel like a total failure, okay?

I had so much potential, that’s what everyone was saying, how much potential I had. I envy old people, no tells them about their potential, they don’t have to disappoint anyone. I started outRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 4, 2011 9:05AM

Mimi Beman's Nantucket: A Eulogy



It’s a common story: lovely small town or coastal community (Nantucket is both), languishes for years as the slightly seedy refuge for old money and new hippies, until the new rich people discover it, and start turning it into a warped version of their own gated communitiesRead full post »


HBO Thrones 


I had a lively a post-mortem conversation about Game of Thrones, the recently concluded HBO mini-series, over dinner with my friend Neil last night. Afterward I thought about  a meeting I took at a Hollywood studio many years ago. They were looking for someone to adapRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 26, 2011 3:21PM

Peter Falk and the Lost World



 So Peter Falk died last week, and someone posted the 41-year old video of his appearance on the Dick Cavett Show  with John Cassavetes and Ben Gazzara. It was exhilarating to watch, but also sad and profoundly disturbing -- a time-capsule message from another era, or p… Read full post »



 Thomas Perry



The Informant, Thomas Perry’s  nineteenth novel, was published last week. It’s an appropriate occasion to step back and take a look at this extraordinary, underrated author’s body of work.  His first novel, The ButcherRead full post »

 The Munt at work



A small mercenary army of  writing instructors have been making a good living for decades now, dispensing advice to hopeful neophytes, creating systems and structures, plans and pie charts, creating a step-by-step creativity that reduces a novel or screenplay toRead full post »

APRIL 18, 2011 7:27AM

Voodoo Economics




The Republicans have all the good catch phrases.

But one of the most revealing aspects of our new political "discourse" is that they have moved so far to the right that Democrats can now use their old catch-phrases against them. It was George H.W. Bush who coined… Read full post »

APRIL 13, 2011 9:58AM

Artist in the City: At First Sight



56th &Lex

I closed my mother's diary. The train was pulling into the Fourteenth Street station, six stops beyond the one I wanted. I jumped up, stuffing the notebook back into my pocket, shoved my way to the door and out onto the platform. I pulled out my cell toRead full post »


It’s the big Tuesday afternoon acquisitions meeting, and the whole editorial department, editors and junior editors, have gathered around the big conference table to try and convince the Sales and Publicity department to buy Turns in the Wauwinet Road, a new novel by Desmond Harris, wRead full post »



Don't worry!

It's the power of sicial media we're testing here, not you or any individual person. My little game concerns our collective power only! I entered the Numero Cinq aphorism contest and the rules stipulate that anyone can vote. Numero Cinq is my other… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 31, 2011 7:38AM

"Mildred Pierce" on HBO: Masterpiece in the Making




The critical consensus on the Todd Haynes Mildred Pierce HBO miniseries that began on Sunday night (and continues for the next two weeks) is that it’s slow and plodding and unimaginatively faithful to a corny and old fashioned book. The critics unanimously prefer the 1945… Read full post »

MARCH 16, 2011 11:13PM

American Idol: Thinning the Herd




American Idol suffers from too much,  too many and too long, these days: too much bad singing, too many bad songs. And too many pitch problems, which is bizarre in a group picked from hundreds of thousands of aspiring singers. I’ll be glad when the lame and the… Read full post »


Harlan was waiting at the light on Lexington Avenue when it struck him that walking away from a meeting with his son was weak and childish. As usual he was doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons and he was too stubborn to course-correct. They needed to talk andRead full post »

MARCH 15, 2011 1:06PM

Hate Month






March is Hate Month on Nantucket – miserable weather and cranky people and not enough money and too much to do.  

That’s fine with me. I hate everything these days. I’ve become a hater. Hate is the new love. Hate is the newRead full post »





Harlan Mallory unfolded himself out of the cab in front of Barudsky Gallery, feeling like a hick. An old hick: his bad knee was acting up and compensating for it, he had pulled his back out. He was stiff and cranky. TheRead full post »