Jonathan Lethem

Recently I was reminded what an incredible writer Jonathan Lethem is. The New Yorker magazine ran a short story of his a week or two back called “The King of Sentences”.  The story is amazing and points out how talented and versatile the author is. In short fiction I find I like at least three out of five of his stories. There are only a few other people I can honestly say that about.  Also in novella format he is strong. For example read “As She Climbed Across The Table”. Just right as a short novel.
I have heard people say they had trouble getting into “The Fortress Of Solitude” which is his biggest and best work. It to be one of the most memorable books I ever read, but I can understand it is not for everybody, or perhaps just not for all occasions. This book changed how I regarded fiction. I think back to my favorite parts often, but I can see that many readers would be more comfortable with “Motherless Brooklyn”. The ease with which he tells a story is elegant, his characters vivid and unique, but not caricatures  in any way, though odd characters they certainly may be.
Jonathan Lethem makes for good read-aloud material also. Hearing his sentences, his words aloud lets the listen hear how perfectly matched and balanced the language of the stories actually is. Which is your favorite?

by – Doug Mathewson


I completely love music. Music provides incredible secret worlds in which to imagine. It is so interesting to see how musically talented people creates such beauty . While I enjoy music very much I do not write about it. While it is dear to me, all I can offer is fan opinion. “I like to drive fast when I listen to this” or “it makes me sad and romantic when I listen to that”. ” I love listening to The White Stripes, Amy Winehouse, Archade Fire and others, but so do a lot of people. It is not news. I have nothing intelligent or interesting to add. Nothing insightful to say.
Let me now make an exception. Please listen to Rasputina. Info at also see their entry. As the bands website states it is all about cellos and corsets. They are loud, musically aggressive, discordant, punk in spirt, and lovely. Their musical style matches their “steam punk” appearance. Over the edge Victorian without the vampire campiness. They seem to arrive from the worlds of Paul D’Filippo. They could well be in opening act in favorite story of his “Little Worker”.
Buy Rasputina’s music, visit them online, look at their images, see if they have a recital scheduled near you. They are a must have for anyone who love cello music, but finds classical too limiting in structure.

by – Doug Mathewson


The attacks were sudden. Nobody knew. Some died at first, most died later on. What is left of the government blogs daily. Why we few are immune is unknown. But here we are. The rest are dead and gone. It’s quiet on our street now. Outside the kids make “Ash Angels” in the radioactive dust.

by- Doug Mathewson

The Bird Artist

“The Bird Artist” by Howard Norman is a well written and intriguing account of a small Newfoundland village around 1910. The characters are direct and unadorned but far from simple. This could well be a stripped down prequel to Annie Proulx’s “Shipping News”. The story has a very strong meter or cadence in both character development and language. I found myself engaged in the story from the very first paragraph. The ending might be a little weak, but I liked how things worked out and would recommend this book highly.

Lost and Found now open is launching a new page today. One that I hope would be used as a writers resource. I dislike web site that have sophomoric features like Valet Parking, Admit One Tickets, or Operators Standing By. It is just “too cute”. That having been said here is “Lost and Found” Many story ideas come to me that I do not develop. Maybe I like the idea, but just do not feel moved to write about it, or have nothing thoughtful to say on the topic. Story ideas will be posted here and available to anyone who would like to use them. Posting these stories at is always an option. In no way is this a contest. I once had commercial web site that ran contests and would only do it again for solid mid-six-figures. Comments on this idea are most welcome.

Old School

Putting gas in the car at the no name discount station I was across from a guy who was a few years older than me. He had a black Hummer sporting 24 inch rims, I had my station wagon sporting mud. All of his gold teeth glittered when he smiled and said “good how you still go Old School”, referring to my backwards Kangol hat. I admired his truck. We cursed the government over the price of fuel, and finished about the same time. I told him I appreciated what he said, about Old School. We awkwardly lingered, each of us willing the other to speak.
His voice was quiet, pitched lower and less jovial when he said “course it depends how you break it down.” Our eyes met and we both started speaking at once. The words came quickly, we knew them by rote.

“Stand up for what’s right”

“Don’t forget who you are”


“Carry others when they fall”

“Be slow to anger”

“Don’t take any shit”

“Forgive completely”

“Give of yourself”

“Let the small stuff go”

“Never back-off when it counts”

“Love honestly and completely”

“Now is the time”

“And never be afraid” “And never be afraid”

He looked away, embarrassed maybe. I gave a little laugh and brought him back. “Keeping it real”, he said “that’s a ministry.” Then the four hundred pound man with the gold teeth and the gold chains hugged me. “Take care” we said. “You too” we said. And as he pulled away I saw his state issued “Clergy” license plate. It was so ironic. My sweater was zipped all the way, he hadn’t seen my collar.

by – Doug Mathewson

Supressed False Memories

As an only child I remember now mean and hurtful my siblings were.
Growing up middle class in suburbia I remember the depth of my poverty.
Being white and male I experienced personally the hurt, indignity, and injustice of discrimination.
Now in the summer house overlooking my private beach, I know the desperation of homelessness.

by – Doug Mathewson

Fire Safety

First we talked about calling 9-1-1 and a grown-ups hand. Then about stay low and crawl to the door. Feel the knob. Is it hot? Worst case: ablaze! just drop and roll. In review, I asked the one kid who maintained eye contact, “clothing caught what to do?” He said “walk it off.”

by – Doug Mathewson


When I told you I gave all my Grandmother’s clothes to the Salvation Army you thought I did it as a prank.
“No, you fool, she died. That’s why I did it.”
You seemed surprised, even embarrassed a little, but then said “what kind of an army would want to dress like your Grandma anyway?”

by Doug Mathewson


For no discernible reason I find myself absorbed in themes. This fall all I wanted to photograph were pianos and row boats. Canoes as well to be truthful. I also wrote a series of stories about pants. Only “Fifth Pocket” is published here. The other story from that theme that I liked was ”The Skinny on Skinny”, which is really about language. Starbucks, for example, taught us a new catechism of words. Mc Donald’s did so before them. The story is written in the language of Levi’s jeans. Just how skinny is skinny anyway? I’ll take my 511 jeans in Joey Ramone black please.
For the last ten weeks the theme of Redemption has been on my mind. It is spiritual but in no way religious. So far the only things to come out of this is “Barnacles in Amsterdam” and this terrible young adult story about weasels becoming ermines at the winter solstice in some place like Stonehedge. Is is complete crap and will not appear here.