The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Acquiesce (and Check, please)

The young couple sits together on the same side of the booth. The boy tries to teach his completely beautiful girlfriend how to play chess–or not how to play, precisely, … Continue reading

January 14, 2013 · 7 Comments

Good, But No Samaritan

On the 92A bus, a gruff Austrian soldier keeps his pack on as he watches intently for his stop. Two elementary-aged boys on board spot an opportunity and sneak up … Continue reading

December 28, 2012 · 17 Comments

Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
As bus merged onto the highway, leaving no chance for unhappy passengers to disembark, a group of Slovakian college students old enough…

December 24, 2012 · 3 Comments

To Slow Down, Change Locations

He wanted to slow life up and he quite rightly felt that by traveling he would make time move with less rapidity. You have this noticed yourself, I expect, on … Continue reading

October 24, 2012 · 11 Comments

Postcard for Addy #2: Budapest and Vienna

Dear Addy, Greetings, dear niece of mine.  I’ll see you soon (just in time for your 6th birthday!), but I wanted to share a few more pictures from my trip. … Continue reading

September 21, 2012 · 18 Comments

It Takes One to Waltz

A boy in a hooded sweatshirt tips back his generic energy drink, then pauses under the illuminated sign for a dance studio. In the window, a display of streamers and … Continue reading

September 14, 2012 · 2 Comments

I Know This Much Is True

The artist is learning a special language in which to reveal truth. If you write, write from the heart, yet carefully, objectively. Never pose. Write little things which you think … Continue reading

July 30, 2012 · 2 Comments

Overhead

Still not moving–thirty minutes after the departure time. Passengers check the clocks on their cell phones, sigh, slap their legs, make utterances in their native tongues. When the bus to … Continue reading

July 27, 2012 · 2 Comments

Morning Routine: Vienna

A woman on her balcony turns her back to the street and raises her arms in a wide V overhead. She stretches at her reflection in the balcony windows. She … Continue reading

July 18, 2012 · 23 Comments

Can I Get This To-Go?

So sorry! I collected one really amazing moment of life in Austria this morning. You’ll have to wait until Wednesday, though. (There will be jumping jacks involved.) In the meantime, … Continue reading

July 16, 2012 · Leave a comment

How Was Your Day?

I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man … Continue reading

June 13, 2012 · 1 Comment

Good Health. You’re Welcome.

Life can be hard for non-smokers who don’t have the tasks and belongings of smokers to keep their hands busy. Instead must find ways to deal with our hands, to … Continue reading

June 8, 2012 · 3 Comments

Dreaming Unfinished Stories (Vienna Edition)

There were so many stories to write about that Miss Willerton never could think of one. That was always the hardest part of writing a story, she always said. She … Continue reading

June 1, 2012 · 2 Comments

Uncanny

A full-blooded American, she was…She was routinely kind to other people, assumed they had good intentions; she smiled at strangers; it mattered to her what they thought and felt. She … Continue reading

April 23, 2012 · 1 Comment

Take Care

The bus trip from Vienna to Trogir, Croatia takes twelve hours and rolls overnight.  As the monster idles–half the passengers taking final drags on cigarettes and patting at their relatives–a … Continue reading

April 13, 2012 · 7 Comments

For the (Mean) Professor who told me to be Realistic

On a brilliant November day, my students talked me into teaching outside. So we were at an outdoor amphitheater on the Danube when I broke into the story of the … Continue reading

April 9, 2012 · 23 Comments

Mensch!

On the long day before a set of flights home to Colorado, I helped with a Halloween party in a private Austrian school. My favorite child, Phillip, with a perpetual … Continue reading

March 26, 2012 · 1 Comment

There’s No Place Like The Last

Basically, like nine-tenths of humanity, I always wanted to be somewhere else, in the place I have just fled from. -Thomas Bernhard. Wittgenstein’s Nephew.

March 19, 2012 · Leave a comment

Not Helpless

I was trudging home from an English lesson with my astounding student, an asylum seeker and former child soldier from Sierra Leone who had the most remarkably shy smile. He … Continue reading

March 16, 2012 · 8 Comments

Bitte Schön

Greetings from Overcast Istanbul! I’m here collecting new scraps of stories and taking a little time to reset and reassess. This week I’m reblogging three posts from the early days … Continue reading

February 13, 2012 · 1 Comment

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