Monday, November 5, 2018

December 25, 1942

"What has the Socialism of intellectuals ever to do with the people? Think of Edmund Wilson's socialism so humanist, meditative, and the rest--but it is as self-consciously personal as Flaubert's hatred of socialism; both artists merely talk about their particular vision of the world and their horror of it."

~~ from Alfred Kazin's Journals, entry from December 25, 1942

Friday, November 2, 2018

September 9, 1942

"They are killing us off in Europe; they are killing us off by the thousands from the Rhine to the Volga. The blood of the Jews is like the vapor in air that Faustus saw when the Devil claimed his due; but no one claims us but death; our due is, apparently, the 'sympathy' of a few men of good will. From this morning's Times, however, I learn that French Catholic priests have been fighting Vichy's submission to the Nazi Jewish policy. Saliege, the Archbishop of Toulouse, has written this pastoral letter: 'There is a Christian morality, there is a human morality, that impose duties and confer rights. These duties and these rights derive from the very nature of man."

~~ from Alfred Kazin's Journals, entry from September 9, 1942

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

May 29, 1964

"[Ralph] Ellison came down for lunch, the Department-about-to-hire-you lunch, and talked very soundly and very impressively about the translation of American experience into authentic works of the imagination. . .

"Ralph is terribly impressive. With his beautiful light-Indian-Negro color, the Oklahoma accent, the scar just alongside of the right eye, and above all his sense of American experiences as something naturally flowing into and boiling up creatively in a literary mind of his kind of sensitivity, I find that I learn from him more of what I owe myself than I do from many writer-friends. This same evening, the Hoftstadters just back from Europe were over for dinner, full of self-satisfaction and purring with tales of the Mercedes and the grand tour. Whenever I am with the Hoftstadters, I feel in the air this self-consciously competitive ticking off of everything--academic accomplishment, literary accomplishment, motor-car acquisition."

~~ from Alfred Kazin's Journals, entry from May 29, 1964

Sunday, October 14, 2018

June 1, 1985

"An evening with the lost generation. . . Karl Shapiro, Alfred Kazin, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, etc. . . .Now in their 70s, still smoking, hale and hearty sex lives. . . . Of course, some of us wear white on white shirts like Jewish dentists or brokers or nuclear engineers. . . . and some of us have had as many wives as Henry VIII, as many mistresses as Dracula or Jack Kennedy. Resolutely thin, carrying on as usual, determined not to sink like our fathers, but o my! how our social opinions reflect our top lofty incomes, and what excuses we do find (we who once had no trouble execrating everyone in power) for those in power."

~~ from Alfred Kazin's Journals, entry from June 1, 1985

Thursday, October 11, 2018

favorite bad review

My new favorite negative review of Fight for Your Long Day is for "11 out of 12 conscientious objectors." Of course, authors do not live on negative reviews alone, so I'm very grateful if you would be kind enough to read, rate, or review either my debut novel or Auggie's Revenge. Thanks so much for considering this; it's greatly appreciated, at least by me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

May 29, 1933

"The world of today is at the crossroads--[t]he whole scheme of aimless capitalism and the last dregs of traditionalist nationalism are being seen more clearly in their death struggle."

~~ from Alfred Kazin's Journals, entry from May 29, 1933

Monday, October 8, 2018


An earthquake in Haiti has killed at least twelve people. The subsequent aftershocks have lead to various tremors and disturbances not at all limited to one wandering soul finding my blog on Haitians in Philadelphia and my childhood home posted around the time a far more devastating earthquake struck.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Joseph O'Neill

Joseph O'Neill's "Pardon Edward Snowden" and "The First World" are short stories I enjoyed this September. Likewise, O'Neill's interview in The Paris Review includes this gem: "Publication is almost certainly a punishment for having written a book."

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Auggie's Revenge: Reviews, Interviews, and Excerpts

Book Reviews: "The Teaching Life as a House of Troubles," by Don Riggs, American, British and Canadian Studies , June 1, 2017 ...