Thoughts on the Ken Burns Hemingway Documentary

Photo by Taylor Wright on Unsplash

Like many other writers, I watched HEMINGWAY, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s three-part, six-hour documentary about the life of writer Ernest Hemingway, with interest. I’d read and admired Hemingway’s work, and read several biographies about him, and was curious to see how Burns would tell the story of this complicated man’s life.

Rather than focusing on the way Hemingway revolutionized writing, or the impact of depression over several generations of his family, or on the way the writer’s issues with and questions about gender shaped his work, the organizing principle Burns and Novick chose was Hemingway’s four marriages.

We learn…

The Ultimate Cataract Surgery Mix Tape

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

With age, comes wisdom. And, frequently, cataracts. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. A while back, I was facing cataract surgery myself. Hoping to have a little fun with this particular rite of passage, I asked my Facebook friends: “What songs should I put on my Cataract Surgery mix Tape?”

Within seconds, I had my first response:

The First Cut Is The Deepest.

“Good one!” I responded, trying not to wince.

Then the next suggestion appeared.

Doctor, My Eyes.

“Perfect!“ I replied.

“Blinded By The Light!” suggested a…


Library Workers Do a Lot More Than Just Check Books Out

Photo by Chris on Unsplash

We library workers are expected to check out your books and answer your reference questions, but we’re often called upon to perform other tasks. I recently asked my fellow librarians: “What has been your most memorable ‘other duty’ since you began your career?” The responses I got might surprise people who think that library work is quiet and humdrum:

Breaking up fights between moms in our play area.

Putting pajamas on a llama. He was part of a story time presentation.

Furnace repair.

Shutting down a couple making whoopee in the Unisex Bathroom.

Guiding the bomb squad as they slowly…


Full fiscal disclosure! In subtitles!

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Medium is flooded with articles about How To Make Money on Medium. Nothing wrong with that. What brings in the bucks around here is always worth considering.

There’s just one problem. Reading along in a HTM$OM post, you begin to suspect that the author dispensing all this fabulous advice about how to make megabucks writing on Medium is actually earning next to nothing on the platform themselves. What makes you think so?

They can’t write.

They only have 12 followers.

They’ve only published 8 posts.

They’ve never been picked up by a publication.

Nobody is clapping.

It makes no sense…

Because That’s Where the Money Is.

Photo by Sahand Hoseini on Unsplash

(1) Change the title into something more click-baity. News Break readers aren’t into subtle or literary. You need to grab their attention, pronto!

(2) Jettison the subtitle. There are no subtitles on News Break.

(3) Purge the post of all swear words and blasphemy. Just one naughty word could get the piece rejected. Change all of the “damns” into “dangs, ” the “shits” into “shoots,” and so on.

(4) Replace all of the sex words with euphemisms. You can’t say “fuck” in a News Break post. You might not even be able to get away with “intercourse” or “intimacy.” …

Artist Mary Gilhuly with one of 9 Intentional Heart Tiles created for this project with 9 other mosaic artists of 9 faith traditions. Used with permission.

Art and Faith is a new video in which ten Detroit artists from a variety of faith traditions talk about the many ways that religion inspires their art.

Over a year ago, the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit began developing a program that would highlight artists of different religious backgrounds. Birmingham’s Robert Kidd Gallery planned to host a show that would feature the artists discussing their work.

Then COVID-19 happened, and the show became a video instead, featuring ten Detroit area artists, along with examples of their artwork. Each artist is interviewed by art critic Morgan Mais about their…

The Life-Changing Power of Wearing a Really Cool T Shirt

My Doctor Who T Shirt. Photo by Author

When I saw the Doctor Who T-shirt on display at my favorite comic book store I knew I had to have it. This might sound more like something a teenage fan girl would say than a 60-year-old librarian. But I’ve always been a little quirky. And I’m a Doctor Who fan. Big time.

Doctor Who, a BBC TV show that first went on the air in 1963, holds the world record for the longest-running televised science-fiction series, with 862 episodes so far.

The Doctor is a Time Lord who travels through time and space, saving the universe and having adventures…

One Story, Two Platforms. And The Winner Is…

Photo by Jonathan Tomas on Unsplash

I’d been happily writing on Medium for 19 months when I was invited to start writing for News Break. As on Medium, I could post (and get paid for) both previously published and original content. Both platforms would (or would fail to) drive traffic to my work on the basis of mysterious, incomprehensible algorithms, and would deposit money into my bank account each month.

Having nothing whatsoever to lose, I signed on, and was soon recycling stories that that had previously run on Medium onto News Break. The results? Since they keep changing their payment terms and I’m not allowed…

The Story of a Very Unusual Cat

Shadow Perlmutter. Photo used with permission.

My library system had a strict “no library cats” policy, but Shadow Perlmutter didn’t know anything about that. And if he had, I’m sure he would have disregarded it.

Shadow made his own rules.

Shadow, who lived down the block from the Bala Cynwyd Library, would wait patiently outside our building until our automatic doors opened. Then he’d saunter in like he owned the place.

He’d sit on the counter beside the sink in the circulation office until one of us turned the faucet on, so he could enjoy a drink. He’d visit with the library director in her office…

You’ve Read the Book — Now Eat the Cake!

Photo Used With Permission from the Night Kitchen Bakery

The Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania is known for creating one-of-a-kind cakes that are delightful and delicious — and likely to go viral when you post about them online. I love the cake photos on the bakery’s Instagram feed so much that I wanted to share some of my favorites. For instance? Check out these three magical Harry Potter Birthday Cakes:

The Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival Cake

Night Kitchen Bakery co-owner Amy Edelman told me that the first cake the bakery ever based on J.K. Rowling’s popular book was created for Chestnut Hill’s annual Harry Potter Festival…

Roz Warren

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren( ( writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

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