I went to formal education through a Masters’ degree. In that time, I wrote countless papers. Of all the writing assignments through all those years, I only recall one essay. One. I was never focused on grades. I didn’t shy away from difficult classes or unfamiliar subjects because I was afraid that I would not get high marks. I think the only reason I remember this one paper is because it was the only time I went to a professor to complain about my grade.

The class was called “Studies in film genre: the horror film” and we had the…


When I was young, I received an amazing gift that I still use. It is my Betty Crocker New Boys and Girls Cookbook for ages 5+. It is a first edition, first printing dated 1965 so I would have been 5, barely making the cut.

The book has simple recipes with really bad drawings of kids offering advice, enjoying food, and celebrating their successes. The best thing about this book is that it doesn’t assume you have any information about cooking so it shows you how to dice an apple properly (though it says to ask your mother if you…


I was an imaginative little boy. I still have many vivid memories of my childhood. I used to have an imaginary friend who went everywhere with me. His name was Gimme and I would often talk to him out loud. But unbeknownst to most, Gimme had a friend who was often with him. I didn’t talk to Gimme’s friend, but his name was Corn Oil. Gimme and Corn Oil gave me a lot of comfort.

I also had a lot of dreams. I don’t remember many of my dreams, but I remember a few that were particularly frightening to me…


Through the Dark Window

These are stressful times on so many levels. Between the pandemic, the election, the news, the divisiveness, the anger, and the economy, it is impossible to bring stress to previous levels. These issues hit me on big and small levels. My income is greatly reduced. I have lost loved ones and seen others get sick. I worry about my family and friends, young and old. I worry about my own health, regularly thinking that I have Covid, even though I have no symptoms. The easy and natural thing to do is to revel, bask, and live…


My grandfather, Irving Dubofsky, had a larger-than-life personality. He spoke or understood Yiddish, Russian, German, Polish, and English. He was a pretty observant Jew, attending services regularly. Normally the rabbi w,ould lead the congregation in reciting Hebrew prayers, but Irving would read faster, throwing off the tempo and making the group unison sound messy. He worked hard in the scrap business, starting with a horse and wagon and living the American dream, overcoming prejudice as a Jewish immigrant. When I was young, he seemed like a giant but, as he aged, he slimmed down quite a bit. …


I strongly identify with two cultures where food and entertainment are crucial. I’m Jewish where, like many ethnicities and cultures, food is a huge part of our identity. I’m also a gay man. I’m not sure of the culture now since I cut way back on socializing long ago, but when I was a young gay starting to make friends and learn about this (at the time) heavily coded culture, feeding people was a way to forge and strengthen friendships. Entertaining was an obligation to pay back those who entertained me. It was also an expected way to show that…


When I was in grade school, recess was the best part of the day. The lunch break was superior because it was the longest break. After eating, we would race outside to play. There was one particular long recess in sixth grade that is my only really memorable one because it was perfect.

When I was growing up, so much of my socialization was based on gender. I had to learn the right boy behavior or risk being called a sissy or a faggot. I didn’t really understand the complexities of these words, but the meaning wasn’t as important as…


Gefilte fish is supposedly an acquired taste. I would say it is more of a bad taste but some of us, over time, get used to it. The caveat being that we get used to our family recipe for homemade gefilte fish. In my family, I would say that the fish is a tradition that holds the family structure in place.

Technically, it involves buying 20–40 pounds (most likely 40) of deboned trout, whitefish, and pike. All I remember about the process is that it is ground, mushed together, and boiled. Then it is peppered and refrigerated. …


Relationships are like the seasons.

In spring, everything is new. Budding and growing, starting to flourish, everything is alive, vibrant, thrilling. The world is potential starting to actualize. It’s bright, full of hope and promise.

Then summer hits. Maturity. Sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes uncomfortable but, overall, it is flourishing. There are storms but they pass. The days of tending and nurturing may also be in the past. Enjoy this season, for it is the time before the fall.

Autumn is when things start to get worse. The withering begins. It gets colder. …


Night Owl

When I was a teen, I had no trouble staying up really late. I found some of my most productive time for schoolwork was between midnight and 2 am. I often had trouble getting up in the morning and I started my life of waking up cranke. One of the main reasons I wanted to sell our bed and breakfast was because I had to be nice to strangers in the morning. It was uncivilized. If you want to piss me off, be cheerful in the morning. I’ll find ways to punish you for it. If not in…

David Fink

I'm a midwesterner who is living this phase of his life in the arts.

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