Tag Archives: Stephen Benatar

On Dinner at The Spaniards


We came out of Hampstead Heath, Stephen Benatar and I, that afternoon several years ago, and there was The Spaniards Inn.  I admit that, for me, it was love at first sight.  The whitewashed inn itself, and the tiny tollbooth that squeezed Spaniards Road to one lane, the date of construction (1585) which was painted …

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On Packing


Here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it: Last summer, when the inimitable Brenda Sparks Prescott invited me to participate in her self-designed writing retreat in the Green Mountains of Vermont, I was so wound up on the morning I was to leave–car troubles, mostly–that I backed out of my garage and ran over my …

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On the Old Year


You know what?  The world didn’t end, and overall, it wasn’t a bad year.  If it wasn’t for the distinct possibility that next year will be equally good–if not better–I’d be sad to see the end of 2012. I was thinking the other day of a conversation I had some 25 years ago with my …

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On Hampstead Heath and Thereabouts


My friend the writer Stephen Benatar lives in Hampstead, more or less, and we spent most of our time together on my visit walking.  Up and down the streets, up on the Heath, to bookshops, to coffee houses–anywhere.  Though it’s been a hideously wet summer in the UK so far, most of my time in …

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On the Publication Party for The Man on the Bridge


Another series of firsts to add to my list:  I had never been to a publication party.  I had certainly never been to one in London.  And I surely had never been invited to one by Stephen Benatar, one of my favorite authors ever. Until July 11th. I had the world’s smallest suitcase.  I packed …

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On Garden Parties and Attendant Clothing


It’s official, people.  Stephen Benatar’s novel, The Man on the Bridge, which I have written about here before, is going to be re-issued in July by Capuchin Classics.  This is a book which has mattered in my world since 1989, when Stephen first sent it to me, and I first read it.  And of course, it’s by …

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On Talismans


Over time, the meaning of the word talisman has evolved from “a stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess occult powers and worn as an amulet or charm” to “anything whose presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions.”  I am not a very superstitious person, but over the years I have recognized the power of certain objects to make me feel better about things.  In my rational mind, I know these objects don’t protect me from harm, but …

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On Visiting Books


During lunch a while ago with my friend Fred Irons (writer, trumpeter, professor emeritus, artist, fisherman, et cetera, et cetera), we got into a discussion about re-reading books.  Fred does not generally re-read books, he says, because he already knows what happens.  I have a number of books I re-read, even though I already know …

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On Revision


This morning I took a listen to a demo track on the Oysterband Facebook page:  a really  early version of “This Town.”  Very different from the version which appeared on Here I Stand.  The words are not the ones I know.  The voice is not the one I know.  The instrumentation is not what I …

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On Latté and Semantics with British Novelist Stephen Benatar


First, let me say that this man is truly a gentleman.  Then let me continue by saying he’s far more amusing than I remember from our first–and only other–meeting, in 1989.  But Stephen Benatar still asks the difficult questions.  He’s a mind bender:  in conversation, he does not allow the easy answer. We met on …

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