Silence is a source of Great Strength. ~Lao Tzu
My wedding to my wife, Mr. Pei’s daughter, was held in Wainscott, a beautiful hamlet by the Atlantic Ocean. Wainscott is part of the Hamptons, but while having much the same power to allure and be home to celebrity and wealth, it has retained, or at least I believe, a grounded sense of self. In this regard, Wainscott, if I gave it more human characters, is gentle, tough, resilient, humble, generous, and altogether charming.
So why wouldn’t I want to get married in Wainscott? In addition to my stated love of…
Never be daunted
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
The first thing I noticed on the plane to Paris was how similar my wife and her father, Mr. Pei, acted once seated. No slumping or slouching with either of them — they sat like they walked — straight up and down, like exclamation marks in motion. They also fell fast asleep after takeoff and woke only when the stewards came with food or drink. Then they went back to sleep. Neither read anything nor watched television or listened to headphones. It was serene and strange and completely impressive.
It was the summer after my senior year in college. I was a graduate who barely graduated, who enjoyed collegiate life too much, and who saw the diploma more as an ending than a starting point.
Luckily, as I navigated the painful and confusing transition of leaving my beloved Villanova University, I had the benefit of living in Wainscott, a beautiful, oceanside hamlet in the Hamptons (situated between East Hampton and Bridgehampton).
I also had a job that kept me outside and exercising and in beer money. I worked for my uncle’s landscaping company, serving, rightfully so, at the bottom…
Mr. Pei Goes to the Hamptons
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” Bob Marley
My father in law, Mr. Pei, was a celebrity barber in Taiwan. It’s true. Like so many Chinese immigrants he came to Taiwan in the mid 1940’s to be free of communist oppression. But first he stopped in Shanghai where he learned his trade. And if you were going to be good at the job, Shanghai, at that time, was the place to be, with a…
One of my literary heroes, and my writing sherpa — the person who has influenced me more than any other when it comes to styling my prose and shaping my fiction — is W. Somerset Maugham. His works, if you don’t know, include Of Human Bondage, The Purple Veil, A Moon and Sixpence, and countless other iconic novels, novellas, short stories and plays. He also was a sage when it came to the business of explaining to writers the essence of writing, including this tidbit:
So I won’t. Not for this…
One of the most important courses in any meal is the dessert. And, like the final act in a good play, is long remembered with pleasure.
4 oz (mailondes?) sweet chocolate
4 egg whites
Work in egg yolks to chocolate melted gradually. Stir until smooth. Then beat whites to a stiff froth. Mix together lightly. Pour in dish and let stand in ice for 4 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
Upon my grandmother’s passing many years ago, and in going through at the time with family her personal papers and belongings, I came to…
This story starts in the sea. And it ends in the sea. It begins with water. And it ends with water. It is never stopping. It is always starting. So what’s it about?
Well, a swell, can’t you tell.
Let’s begin. It was late afternoon, late fall, and I was on a private charter a mile off Montauk Point. There was a touch of breeze and light from an emerging, honey-gold sun had made short haste of a heavy fog determined to keep secret the fact that massive schools of striped bass were prowling the surface. But we could hear…
Growing up in Rochester, New York, in a town a few snowball tosses away from the Great Lake of Ontario, I was blessed with many neighborhood friends who, like me, loved sports and loved to play sports.
The two are not always interchangeable. One can play sports and not play at all. I don’t mean sitting on a bench and not getting into the game, which I admit, I did much too much for my liking when I was on organized school teams. …
Healing and Moving on after Loss
More than a day and less than a year after splitting with my first wife, I started to feel better and once again considered dating.
I was working with a therapist during and after the divorce. I shared in session one day that I might be ready to move on romantically. …
Why it’s just as important to understand your goals as to meet them.
A few months back, I experienced a profound family loss. This setback added to the stress and sadness of living the past year in a state of near-constant alarm and roiling turmoil. As a result, I began to slide into a two-step feeling of narcissistic hopelessness:
(1) I was being singled out to suffer; and
(2) there was nothing I could do about it.
Of course, this was not close to the truth. If anything, my personal situation, while painful, has not only been experienced by countless…