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A friend wished me a “Very Merry Christmas,” as a closing sentiment in an e-mail, yesterday. I didn’t feel joy at his kind thoughts, I felt stung. If he’d been a stranger or an acquaintance in a supermarket, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I’d have smiled with a gracious thank you and returned the sentiment with a more general happy holiday response, grateful to spread joy and cheer in the cold winter season. But he knows I’m Jewish.

My level of friendship and respect for him demanded I set him straight on his error, but I struggled…

Taking Liane Moriarty’s, “Nine Perfect Strangers” A Bit Further

The day my small-town library shut down because of COVID, I happened to be visiting it. The librarian gave everyone five minutes to check out books, and I scooped up as many that would fit in my bag, with barely a glance at the titles.

It took about ten weeks for me to crack open the novel, “Nine Perfect Strangers”, by Liane Moriarty. Protests and burning cities raged on my television screen and this light, character driven tale fit the distraction bill. …

Whenever I find myself getting down about our nation’s political and economic woes, I think of a conversation I had with my boss, back in the early 2000’s. The idea he shared with me that crisp, spring day still resonates with me, despite the passage of almost two decades. For years, I found comfort in it, replaying its melody like a piece of smooth jazz, but now it strike me like a death knell. The stakes of our survival, propped against the backdrop of our polarized citizenry, have grown too high.

I’ve always resisted talking politics at work, as my…

TJ Clark

Author of the sci-fi thriller, Invaded, TJ has a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and years of experience working in local government —

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