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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

As per usual, I’m way behind on my reading. But, thanks in large part to the holiday weekend, I have managed to dip into other genres this week. Including a couple of movies I’ve been meaning to watch and a trip to the theatre. I recommend them all:

Holiday-Weekend Culture Gobble

IAVWebArt_412x2001) Movie #1: I Smile Back, based on the novel by Amy Koppelman. (You’ve never seen Sarah Silverman in a role like this before. And if, like me, you’ve been missing Josh Charles since his departure from The Good Wife, you’ll be very happy to see him back on screen.)

2) Movie #2: Mistress America (which I wanted to see even before I knew there was a fiction-writing motif running through it).

3) Stage play: Incident at Vichy. Reminding me, yet again, of my abandoned efforts to self-teach the art of playwriting. And also how much of Miller’s oeuvre remains for me to read/watch.

Sad News from Israel

Unknown-1I was deeply saddened to learn earlier this week of the death of the Israeli author Amir Gutfreund (b. 1963).

I discovered Gutfreund’s work about ten years ago, when his acclaimed novel, Our Holocaust, translated by Jessica Cohen, was published by the Toby Press. It was among the first novels I encountered that featured the experiences of “grandchild” characters learning about what their elders had experienced in Nazi Europe (a topic that I happen to be writing about, again, for a book chapter I’ve mentioned here before; in fact, I also managed to get a few hundred new words written over this Thanksgiving holiday).

It was stunning.

I wrote about it in a review-essay for The Chattahoochee Review (which I am sadly unable to locate–if any of you might be able to access this and send me a PDF, I would be extremely grateful).

You can learn more about Amir Gutfreund here (warning–possible paywall), here, and here. There is also this lovely video snippet and this recording (which I have not yet heard myself).

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Meantime, life goes on. As does the monthly Practicing Writer newsletter. Which went out on Monday and can be consulted online here.

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  1. My wife & I just watched I Smile Back, Sarah was on target with her character and did not miss a beat. Many of us have known someone like that and watching them fall is heartbreaking. The helplessness you feel for that person also creates difficulties in the surrounding loved ones-the stress to all involved can overwhelm.

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