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Sam Barry's Blog

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Florence Presbyterian Church, Omaha, Nebraska
I read the following piece on Thursday, March 14, 2014 at Litquake's Regreturature IV in San Francisco. Regreturature is a fundraiser at which authors willingly stand up and read writing that they now regret; writing that under normal circumstances would never see the light of day. This was my...
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Jack Nicholson
The secret to good writing is 90 per cent perspiration, 10 per cent inspiration, and 5 per cent masturbation. Or maybe it’s 90 per cent of writing well is showing up. As a writer, it’s important to keep a notebook to record your ideas. For instance, I recently looked at my notebook and discovered...
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Recently I was working an event at Book Passage with Amy Tan, whose new book is called The Valley of Amazement (you should read it—it’s really good—and guys? There’s sex) when I was reminded, once again, why peace on earth does not prevail, children go hungry at night, and we step over mentally ill...
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Every day is a miracle. Oh I know. You think I’ve gone spiritual on you. Maybe I have. I was just in my car listening to Tramaine Hawkins singing “Goin ' Up Yonder,” and frankly, I am lucky I wasn’t pulled over and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Gospel, because I was definitely...
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A streak of fear runs through my life. I am not sure where it all comes from—fear of the dark, being alone, heights, swimming, riding a bike, eating fish. Okay, I’ve gotten over some of these. But it’s lurking there, behind my charming smile. Everyone needs food, and water, and air. We need...
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My fellow American: you may be asking yourself, “What does the federal government shutdown mean to me?” Or you may be wondering if there are any good new TV dramas previewing this Fall. Either way, I’m here with answers, because I am concerned about you. The government shutdown means the approval...
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I went to church the other day. Funerals, weddings, and major holidays aside, I can’t remember the last time I walked into a church just for the hell of it. Which is surprising, as I am the grandson and son of Presbyterian ministers and was, at one time, a Presbyterian minister myself. But that was...
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I tell a story in my book, How to Play the Harmonica and Other Life Lessons, about a summer when I was seven years old and I walked out to the end of the dock at Camp Sharparoon in upstate New York and informed the lifeguard that I wanted to take the advanced swimming test. I was no more an...
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I finally figured out what life is all about. The other night I was at Fenix, a nightclub in San Rafael, listening to the Derek Evans Band, when it hit me. Derek was singing Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” and as he did, he took me to the highest ground. I was transported, but not out of this...
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I was talking to the author Scott Turow the other day—oh, did I just drop a name? I can drop more. On the same day I spoke to Dave Barry, Michelle Kaufman, Laura Barry, Eric Brandt, Deborah Warren, Elaine Petrocelli, and Beyoncé. Beyoncé says “hi.” Scott mentioned that it was Rosh Hashana—the...
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Today I am preparing for a colonoscopy. I had my first colon inspection five years ago. It was supposed to be a routine procedure, ending with me waking up from anesthesia to a smiling doctor saying “everything is a-okay” down there. That wasn’t what happened. Through the haze of drugs I remember...
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Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All, by Stephen King, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., Mitch Albom, James McBride, Ridley Pearson, Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Sam Barry, and Roger McGuinn has been unleashed upon the world. Hard Listening is an...
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A year ago my late wife, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, died from breast cancer. Every death leaves a void; Kathi’s left a mile-wide canyon. She touched lives wherever she went, and she went everywhere she could. She was a connector; she brought people together and united them in fun and creativity. I can...
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In this day of shortened attention spans I consider it an accomplishment when I read more than 500 words without getting distracted by Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, ESPN, or a bowl of ice cream. Sometimes I am distracted by all of these simultaneously. This is where the toilet comes in. Years...
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For some time now I have been observing the importance of the harmonica on the world stage. I think this small instrument may, in fact, hold the key (no pun intended) to human survival on earth.                 But more on...
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