Author Archive for jdbernard743

What Goes Around…

On August 1, 1999 Robert Gottlieb, the esteemed editor-in-chief at Simon and Schuster, reviewed Speaking of Diaghilev in the New York Times Book Review. The book is John Drummond’s definitive biography of Serge Diaghilev, the famous/infamous ballet impresario. Gottlieb is best known as the editor for Toni Morrison, Joseph Heller, Nora Ephron, John LeCarre and Robert Caro–but he was also a lifelong balletomane and wrote frequently on the subject.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because last week when I was feeling overwhelmed and reflecting on both the good and bad news associated with moving a household, I noticed a yellowed corner of newsprint sticking out of a book in our new bookcase. The book was Speaking of Diaghilev and the clipping was Gottlieb’s review. read more

Do the Right Thing…

I haven’t been here – on the page – since early January. It’s the longest break I’ve taken in 15 years. There are several reasons. M and I sold our condo and moved from the edge of Lake Washington to an apartment overlooking Puget Sound. Moving is not for the lazy or the weak. 

The University of Washington has a life events scale that rates the impact and stress of certain changes—the death of a parent, sibling or spouse, a serious medical problem, etc. Moving, it turns out, is near the top of the scale. Now I know why.  read more

Breaking News: Trump Dies of Covid-19*

Year-end is always about fresh starts, reflection and speculation. Since I’m writing a novel, my imagination is probably more active than at other times and less grounded in reality.

The novel’s plot features a number of ghosts who return to advise and haunt the living characters. One of the ghosts is Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States who, in my creative rendering of the past, present and future dies of Covid-19 in the White House residence on October 10, 2020.

In real life, he reported that he and Melania had tested positive for the virus on October 2nd, and later that day he was airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital. On October 4th he left the hospital briefly to wave to supporters before returning to WR for further treatment. On the 5th, against the advice of his doctors, he returned to the White House, struggled up the steps of the South Portico and dramatically ripped the surgical mask from his face, telling the crowd below not to be afraid of the virus. read more

My Belief in Cycles…

With everything that’s happening on the planet these days I’m paying increased attention to all its cycles–cosmic, solar, historical, political, business, gestational and creative. Some, like cosmic, solar and gestational are immutable. The others are at the mercy of humans and human events.

In the fifth century B.C. the Greek historian and geographer Herodotus was the first to categorize and investigate ethnographical, geographical, and historical events and come up with a theory regarding their origins. It was the first systematic theory of history. Over the 2600 years since other theories have been propounded–Thomas Carlyle’s Great Forces or Great Man theory, Arnold Toynbee’s Challenge and Response theory, and Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The “random” theory,” currently in favor, holds the interaction of billions of humans and their choices along with all the other natural and unnatural factors in the world creates history with no discernible flow or path. read more

Biden, Gaza and 2024…

The 2024 presidential race is already underway, and I am deeply concerned. Ron DeSantis, Nicky Haley, Tim Scott, Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, Joe Biden… and Trump. The list sounds like the next round of Dancing with the Stars hopefuls.

Where is the candidate to inspire us? Where is the one with real leadership skills who might be able pull the divided country together?

I’m emotionally torn these days, the way so many are — feeling strong affection and appreciation for Joe Biden and yet feeling gripped simultaneously by a pounding fear that a Biden-led party will lose next year and lead to a Trumpian Götterdämmerung. Like many Americans, I’ve found myself having The Conversation over and over again, with friends, sources and people who work in Democratic politics: whether Biden is the best candidate to defeat Trump, his chances of winning, if there’s some better course.David Brooks, (New York Times) read more