William Hecht
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William Hecht

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[This piece, taken from the writing collection of the same title, is re-posted as an anniversary tribute. Dad died on August 12, 2013. ] The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder is my favorite book. It is probably also the most underrated novel of the last century. I never merely re-read it; every few years it summons me, and like a somnambulist I turn to the bookshelf and reach for my copy. A novel such as that is a conjurer’s orb: your hands surround and caress it, your eyes peer into its depths and… a voice sounds. The voice wields the kind of authority that dismisses fiction. The images, the characters—the story chronicles a series of events so rife with Truth that they must have occurred,

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In my mother’s kitchen, and taped to the door of a cabinet where cups and plates are kept, is a laminated Catholic Diocese card. The card is divided into two distinct sections. The top part is titled The Corporal Works of Mercy. The “works” are ministrations to be made and observations to be kept in caring for –to name some of them–the poor, the sick, and the dead. The lower part describes The Spiritual Works of Mercy. This section addresses, among other items, forgiveness toward the wretched and prayers for the dead.  The Diocese card made it clear that Mercy took the form of both Thought and Deed. Earlier this week, after a spate of cool, damp weather had broken and given way to a

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[Author’s Note: this year marks my 25th anniversary] Until I saw the date, February 2, it hadn’t occurred to me that it was my “birthday” again. This birthday–which is more of an anniversary–marks for me the first day of uninterrupted sobriety 22 years ago. It hadn’t seemed like a very important day at the time; in fact, if anyone had asked then, I would have said it was the worst day of my life.  I was bloated and quaking. My eyes were yellow like a cat’s–from jaundice. And my store of courage was so low I had to be led around like a child. There’s no question that on that day, my second life began. It would help to note here that I am not

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She is Winter      by William Hecht Deep December night and she is spent. She is consumed–like the fields after a greedy harvest. She slumbers—as does the world. Only her essence is sentient, aware. It is a spell: cast in the light of the great moon, it will break with the first rays of the equinox sun. Her hair is black. It is a wave of boreal night that flowed through the glass, swept down her  cheek, and spilled on a pale shoulder.  Things made of night are smooth–and softer by far than anything made from day. She dreams—as does the world–of light and warmth, of aromas and twitching roots, the vibration of launching sprouts: calls to life. If I could dream with her, I would

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[Note: I wrote this a few years ago, before I moved back. But SE Wisconsin was just covered in snow today after a very mild December. It reminded me of this piece.] I am in the North for a family visit. My elderly parents manage their simple life with a grace that humbles me. They could be threatened by the simplest acts. My minor setbacks would be their calamities: a fall, the flu, a minor accident driving to the store. Today they were mirthful and sweet and I could not decide if they were revisiting childhood or auditioning to become angels. Last month, I watched the movie “Amour,” an intense look at a couple managing change after half a century of life together (they managed

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Much as with the Star Trek TV series, the first BladeRunner was not immediately appreciated. Sometimes, society does not immediately recognize itself in the mirror that Art holds up to it. The fact that as time went on, both efforts became epic and sacred for TV and film implies that they had tried to share a vital human experience that we didn’t recognize yet. But after another decade and the emergence of the Digital Age, it grew clear that within a generation we would be presented with choices and changes to our existence that would redefine what it meant to be human. Then, when these prescient films held up the mirror a second time, we recognized ourselves. The first thing to say about the sequel

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Six Movies to See La La Land I am pretty sure it’s La La Land for Best Picture. This film left me thinking I just saw the Oscar Winner. It was bold and unpredictable: music, drama, the quest for fame—it’s all there. Passenger It was good Sci-Fi, like a futuristic Robinson Crusoe tale on an island surrounded by a sea of space. Oh, and Friday is a woman. My friend’s wife called it a “chick flick” and a “love story.” Lion It reminded me of Slumdog Millionaire award winner. It made a lot of people cry. Okay, I couldn’t help it, I got weepy. Fences Acting showcase for Viola and Denzelle. Potent stuff. It will win some Oscars. 20th Century Women Sleeper indie film that

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Prediction One: We will see the beginning of protectionism. It’s what always happens when populism and nationalism rear their ugly heads: we decide to look out for ourselves and the rest of the world retaliates. Quotas, tariffs, and other barriers to trade are an inseparable part of populism. It tends to breed inflation and eventually, war. Prediction Two: It will be aired on every major channel and despite the apparent disruption of the domestic or world order, most will not care because it’s free entertainment. If you think about, Hollywood couldn’t produce a crazier series, yet it will be a huge global hit because he is outrageous and unpredictable and great for ratings. It will be a little like All in the Family except Archie

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The election was won—as I thought it would be in my post of 9/22 (http://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/the-clinton-curse-or-the-time-of-trump/) by the anti-candidate and the disruptor. Democrats had two potential disruptors in Warren and Sanders, either of whom could have won the election for president (and whose candidacies would probably have helped Dems gain the senate majority) were it not for the ambitions of Hilary Clinton—who offered to disrupt NOTHING except the gender of the most powerful leader in the world. In her insatiable appetite for political power and by applying her influence with the DNC, Clinton cost the country a chance at real change—instead of what will doubtless become control by Republicans and the conservative elite of all three branches of government: Congressional, Executive, and Judicial. My hopes, fears,

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Movies

  I saw a number of films—some still playing—that do not merit a full review, so I will suggest a couple and try to create some energy around new ones on the way. Here are the shortened versions: Inferno Though I loved watching Felicity Jones, I got bored pretty quickly. Tom Hanks—it feels terrible to say this about a great performer—is getting tiresome. The plot did not grab me as in the prior stories. Ugh. The Accountant It was worth the price of admission, but would have been a better film if Ben Affleck had convinced me his character was autistic. He reminded me more of the programmed killer played by Matt Damon in parts of Jason Bourne than anything like Dustin Hoffman in Rain

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