Category: Effective Writing

Katz Got Your Tongue

Well, it happened again yesterday. I was standing in line at Starbucks awaiting my turn to order (tall, black, dark roast) when I heard a young woman say my name. Except that’s not what happened. What she said was, “I need to get back home to feed my cats.” What I heard was, “I need to get back home to feed Mike Katz.” Which of course, makes no sense, since I had just eaten lunch and I don’t even know where that woman lives. This phenomenon, known in the literature […] Click to read more…

Make Your Stories Better

I had dinner last night with two of my oldest friends. Rick, Terry, and I first met in 1982, when we all belonged to the same karate school on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. For the next several years, it was a central part of our lives; we saw each other, in and out of the school, all the time. Thirty-nine years later, we still get together. Not often – about once a year – and always for dinner at the same restaurant. Interestingly, our dinner conversations are almost entirely confined to […] Click to read more…

Lessons From a Toaster

(Listen to this post, here.) When it comes to household appliances, I am not usually prone to blanket generalizations. But, in this case, I am going to make an exception: My toaster is way smarter than my coffeemaker. You may find this surprising, since coffeemakers, with all their bells and whistles, are the alpha males of the small appliance community: sleek, powerful, sexy. Toasters, on the other hand, have been around forever – I guarantee you that Harry Truman owned one. And they have barely changed in decades: a couple of […] Click to read more…

Car Talk

(Listen to this post, here.) I’m a long way from what you would call a “car guy.” I don’t care how fast they go – my wife is always accusing me of “dawdling” on the highway. I don’t care about cargo space – I own nothing that needs moving. I don’t care what they look like – I’ve got bigger appearance challenges. So you won’t be surprised to learn that my car of choice for the past 15 years has been the Ford Focus. Reliable, inexpensive, easy to spell. In keeping with my minimal […] Click to read more…

Communication Complication

(Listen to this post, here.) I’m not really sure how old my children are – I’ve kind of lost track in all the commotion. But they don’t live with us anymore, so I’m guessing that they are adults. Unfortunately, and while I try not to take it personally, not one of the three lives in the same time zone as my wife and me. In fact, none of them live in the same time zone as each other. We’ve got Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern represented.  In terms of degree of difficulty, […] Click to read more…