Shorts

Shorts…

Herewith, a variety of items in shorter forms: interview, story, memoir, essay. To sample or buy (at the moment most are free), just click on one of the store icons. And below, under the heading Time Capsules, you’ll find some free occasional pieces.

First up, a new interview with the great Elmore Leonard…

Dutch on Dutch CoverDutch on Dutch

In this lively, expansive and generous interview, the greatest crime novelist of our time, Elmore “Dutch” Leonard, talks about everything from the essence and appeal of his stories, to why he writes in longhand, to the finer points of robbing a bank.

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Now the short stories…

The Jungle Plant coverThe Jungle Plant

From Jessica, this tale’s eccentric teller: “Only once in a great while, like maybe every couple years, it would decide to make a flower, a blue and yellow thing I admit was kind of pretty. But you never knew when it was going to happen, and most of the time it didn’t, and most of the time that plant was just plain ugly. Anyway that stupid thing was what Winnie spent half her life worrying about.”

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The Visit coverThe Visit

Every week on Friday for more than a decade, Martha Parker had come to clean Leda Palmieri’s Grosse Pointe home. But this Friday was different. Mrs. Palmieri did not want to visit Martha in her ghetto room. After all, the slice of life they shared was narrow indeed. And yet this was something she knew she must do.

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A Round With J.C. coverA Round with J.C.

It was only a temporary job the summer before graduate school, but when the young fellow clerking at a public course hooked up with an old black caddie, their match became one of the most unusual rounds in the colorful history of golf.

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Fixed coverFixed

His thumbs, his fingernails—his life, for Chrissake—everything was riding on the outcome of his son’s last Little League game. But in a fractured moral universe, Dad was holding the wrong end of the stick.

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Shrunk coverShrunk

For a time in their dating-wars romance, she seemed too good to be true—bright, witty, gorgeous and erotic. Finally when it became clear that she was real—and adored him—there was just this one little problem.

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And here are a couple of non-fiction pieces…

Selling The Bison coverSelling the Bison

A few decades back, when I was divorced, broke and living in a cramped abode fashioned from a two-car garage, the job promised good money and flexible hours. All I had to do was get through a two-day training session

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The Lessons of Sport coverThe Lessons of Sport

With the death of an old friend, Hall of Fame athlete Dave DeBusschere on a street in Manhattan, I found myself ruminating on the strange uses we make of the relentless world of sport.

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Now for the Time Capsules…

Time Capsules

These are freebies. Click on “Continue Reading” for the full piece. They will often reach as far back as the ‘60s and ‘70s, and I’ll be adding to them occasionally.

A Child’s Gift

It was a bright fall afternoon, and we had just dropped off his mother at a bus stop on Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s main drag, a brief pause on her way to a grad school class and later, the “world of work.” Our son, something less than two at the time, was a creature of considerable fascination. As I negotiated this attractive residential street in suburban Pleasant Ridge, with its tall lush elms then gorgeous with autumn reds and golds, his small delighted voice from the car seat behind me said, “Papa! The trees are flowers!”

Stunned by this tiny kid’s perfect little metaphor, I thereafter told everybody we were raising a poet.

Name That Summer

Let’s see if you can remember the year. It was the summer that …

James R. Hoffa testified before the Select Senate Committee on Improper Labor-Management Practices in Washington and was grilled by two ambitious young brothers named Kennedy.

Detroit movie theaters were playing the recent Academy Award winner “Gigi.”

Young Charlie Starkweather was electrocuted in Nebraska State Prison for his 11-murder shooting spree the year before.

The Formidable Sanctum

When I was 12 we moved from one side of Mack Avenue to the other. It seemed a simple move at the time, only two miles or so; I remained in the same school, kept the same friends. The move was in fact considerably more complicated than it appeared. We were, after all, leaving a pleasant, unpretentious block on Detroit’s east side for the formidable sanctum of Grosse Pointe Park.

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