Jenny Milchman's "Made it Moment"
How I got Joyce Carol Oates to read the first chapter of my unpublished novel and then some:
Back in the summer of 2004, after reading that Joyce Carol Oates was giving an author talk at a local library, I decided to print out the first chapter of my novel, Lily Steps Out (Penumbra Publishing 2012), enclose it in a SASE and bring it to the reading.
EAST HAMPTON STAR:
I thought I was up on things when I learned to text. And though my aging thumbs refused to fly across the keypad of my cellphone --treck was more like it--once I got the hang of using the tiny microphone to record, it took only minutes to send a message. Easy as pie. And quick!
Kaddish in the Time of Covid 19
When my son died this past November after enduring ALS for nine years, I said Kaddish for him. That’s the daily Jewish memorial prayer in honor of a loved one. Kaddish is recited in the presence of a minyan, which means ten or more adult Jews assembled in one place. I also made it my business to get up every morning, dress, and drive to my synagogue for services, sometimes as early as 6:30am.
How terrible, I thought, when I learned the Capitol had been stormed by a mob. How could this happen in our country. And yet, when I consider the election itself--how the record number of women will serve in Congress, and how Kamala Harris will soon be our next Vice President --I'm flying high.
"Just a Girl Who Can't Say No"
Not since I was a chubby adolescent and thought I was Lana Turner in the mirror on my mother's bedroom door, did I ever imagine my self in a beauty contest. So why, at age 80, did I find myself trussed up in Spandex, in front of hundreds of strangers in a a Ms. Senior America Pageant.
BEST OF POTATO SOUP JOURNAL 2020
I push forward. I pull back. Push forward. Pull back. Forward. Back. My hand grips the handle of my Shark "ultra-light upright," walks it through my apartment. White noise constant, silencing my grief-stricken brain. She's not dead. She's not dead. I vacuum with a vengeance.
FIRE ISLAND NEWS:
The Gargoyle Hunters
by John Freeman Gill
Vintage Books $16.95
Fact, fiction, funny and sad, “The Gargoyle Hunters” is a story of a city kid growing up in a brownstone in 1974. This isn’t any city kid. This is born and bred New Yorker John Freeman Gill, award-winning and anthologized real estate and architectural writer who turns his impressive knowledge into a novel. Griffin Watts, his fictionalized 13 year-old self, is the narrator.
Saving Fire Island from Robert Moses:
The Fight for a National Seashore”
by Christopher Verga
History Press $21.99
It may take a village to raise a child, but it took 17 Fire Island villages to take down Robert Moses. It was no small task to tackle the power broker who ruled the roadways with a finger snap in the 60s, but Moses had his hands full when he set his mind on a four-lane highway through the barrier beaches of the South Shore. When you consider his penchant for roads and causeways, you might say Moses was a driven man. I mean that literally—having never bothered getting a driver’s license, he was chauffeured around by state-provided handler
Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem:
Independence Day on Fire Island
Photography by Susan Kravitz
KMW Studios $34.95
When Editor Shosanna McCollum asked me to review a book on the invasion of the Pines in Fire Island, I thought deer, ticks and Lyme disease. Not a very upbeat topic to wind down this season’s reviews. What a surprise I was in for!