Friday, August 7, 2009

In Miami, Last Winter - James Kaplan



James Kaplan 1951 –


It’s funny. When I read this story I felt as if it had to be created by an old soul. There was a certain depth to the writing that really gave it the weight of experience. Turns out that the writer of the story was very young...late 20’s.


The story is a look into the life of a young man and his battle with his own identity reflected through the battles he engages in with chess...in particular, an opponent named Harry Urbanic.


This was a long story, and I did feel at times that it could have been shortened.


Kaplan did a wonderful job and bringing the intensity of a heated chess match to the page. The clicking of the chess clock, the lighting and the smells...wonderful atmosphere.


Growing up, and into my mid to late 20’s, I wanted to master chess. I even played it on my fathers Apple...he had a special program that would tutor you in all the attacks and moves. Got me nowhere. Wait...now that I have opened that little memory hole, I remember sitting in the guest room...which had become my room after college and playing chess on that computer and getting buzzed off of Vodka. I’m sure I had some early 90’s music on and it was probably around 1:30 in the afternoon. I’m sure that the game quickly became boring for me and I wandered into other buzzed pursuits. Writing letters, looking at magazines, listening to music or riding a bike.


You know, when I look back on that time, and question the year or more I spent in that room...I learn that the time spent there was really well spent. I learned more about myself then, when I needed it the most...it was the beginning of the education into the exploration of my inner self that continues through to this day. I could go on and on about this, and I am sure I will but I have hundreds of other stories to pull out memories. I’ll let them assist in further entries.


Look at that. All of the above rambling stirred from the discussion of Kaplan’s short story. Thanks James...you done good.


That’s what it’s all about – right?


Score 8 out of 10

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