Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yes, I’m resuming this blog after a very long absence.

These have been two very exciting years. In 2010 my first published novel, “Writer’s Block” came out. What makes it even more exciting than my first memoir, “Mother and Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939,” which came out in 2006 is that being a full time writer of fiction has been my dream since the age of 12 or so.

Those of you who have read one or more of my memoirs will know that I was living in Poland and Jewish at the start of the war, that I had a beautiful and courageous mother who, unfortunately, missed out on the “nurturing” gene. She brought me out of Hitler’s clutches in heroic fashion, then plopped me into boarding school in America, something I was emotionally not ready for, because she had a life to make for herself in this country and didn’t really have room in it for me.

Well, “Writer’s Block” is a humorous and fictitious account of what might have become of me had I zigged instead of zagging in a number of places. My hero, Kip, was born in Germany and Jewish and brought to America and deposited in boarding school much as I was. But, while my mother soon married then proceeded to push her husband to advancement he wasn’t ready for in the diplomatic service, Kip’s mother, Anna, is a business woman who, with help from rich admirers, develops a modest chain of dress boutiques.

When Kip graduates from college, Anna wants him to come and manage one of her dress shops, and Kip runs as fast as he can to a small college in the Midwest and gets a teaching job in the English department. There he gets seduced by an attractive unwed mother whom he marries and who gives him three years of misery before running off with the assistant football coach.

Brought up in boarding school and with no experience in family life, Kip doesn’t know how to cope with all of this. His colleagues on the faculty shun him like a leper, he is incapable of engaging in a proper romantic relationship, and a new college president begins to turn the cozy little college into an impersonal university. Kip spends some thirty years doing the only thing he knows how, enduring.

Then, and this is where the story really begins, a colleague, a teacher who spent his summers in the little village of Venice on the Massachusetts coast writing successful Gothic romances, and thus enjoying a more prosperous life than the average teacher, crashes his private airplane and leaves Kip his Venice house. Kip, of course, is sure some lawyer made a mistake because things like this don’t happen to him, but he is finally convinced to drive to Massachusetts and look over his new house before he puts it on the market.

The keys to his new house, he is told, should be picked up from the village postmistress, a widow named Amanda Lazaro. Kip takes one look at Amanda Lazaro and falls in love. The fact that the fifty-something postmistress is very attractive is aided by Kip’s romantic mind finding a reason why she should have his bachelor friend’s house keys in her possession. Kip decides that he will quit his job, settle in Venice, and turn his lemon of a life into the Great American Novel…. while courting the delectable Widow Lazaro.

But Kip is the poster boy for disaster, and …… well, I don’t want to give the story away. At any rate, let me say that “Writer’s Block” is the start of a series of adventures featuring Kip and Amanda, and you’ll do well to give them a try.