What If

What If

Weddings bring out the best and the worst in families. When my friends’ daughter got married, they braced for the worst. Theirs was an oft-married family, as was the groom’s. Into the church day the older generation—on both sides—entered with their respective, several...
For Love of Paris

For Love of Paris

Though I am a life-long Francophile, I had never read Les Misérables until after I saw the musical in London in 1986. The book seemed to me a tale of injustice and identity, yes, but more than that, a love poem, a paean to the city of Paris. Hugo lovingly describes...
Caveat

Caveat

For years I carried in my wallet a short article from the L.A. Times about a drought in in 1916. The city hired a rainmaker, who brought rain, who actually unleashed a  monstrously destructive flood. So great (and terrible) was his success that the city fathers...
Beggars and Choosers

Beggars and Choosers

“He is still a Grade B poet.” A long time ago, as a lowly graduate student in Literature, I found myself at a dinner party where the guests were mainly younger faculty and a few august professors. I happened to be seated beside one of the latter, a handsome,...
Montgomery Bus Boycott

Montgomery Bus Boycott

 “Their shoes are wearing out, but not their spirits.” Some moments in American history are embedded forever in the national imagination, our collective memory.   Paul Revere’s ride. A stunned Jackie Kennedy standing beside Lyndon Johnson as he takes the oath of...
Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Every now and then some great-reputation author (John Cheever and Saul Bellow for instance) will publish a stand-alone novella and the publishing world holds its literary breath: will this be viable? The answer is, frankly, no. However, the viability of the novella as...