storiesbanner
line decor
  HOME    
line decor
   
 

THE STORIES AND ESSAYS LISTED IN THIS SECTION CAN BE READ ON THE COMPUTER OR DOWNLOADED AND PRINTED.                               CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THE STORY OR ESSAY.

STORIES

      One of my prime activities since retirement has been attempting to write fiction. I wrote a lot throughout my career, but the books and articles were primarily of an instructive how-to nature. Fiction calls for different skills, and I’ve enjoyed learning about the craft and adjusting my style to those demands.

      The results are contained in my book Smell Test – Stories and Advice on Lawyering, published in 2008 by the American Bar Association (see the Books section of the website for a fuller description). It contains ten serious (and, I hope, entertaining) fictional short stories about business lawyers in their practice. I recognize I’ve still got a ways to go in improving this craft, but I’m proud of the results.

      I also wrote a commentary to each story, aimed at getting readers to focus on the actions taken, decisions made and rationalizations offered by the fictional attorneys, and presenting my own views on both the specific instance and certain broader related issues.

      Two of the stories appear on this website. The first is "The Smell Test," the tale of a skilled and highly ethical lawyer who for a few bad days (in Margaret Thatcher's memorable phrase) goes wobbly. It's the title story at the heart of the book, with plenty of issues for anyone lawyer or not to chew on. I've also included the commentary to the story, so you can see my thinking on the subject.

Smell Test       Click here to read the story

Smell Test       Click here to read the commentary

      The second is "Sex, Lies and Private Eyes," in which certain sexual high-jinks of his colleagues cause a so-so lawyer to lose his ethical bearings. I consider this both an entertaining and cautionary tale, one that explores how a little white lie can lead you down a slippery and dangerous slope. Here, I have not included my commentary. I guess I'm hoping that you'll be sufficiently interested in my take on this mess as well as in reading the other eight stories and commentaries that you'll order a copy of the book (which can be done online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the ABA's website (abanet.org), or by contacting the Crawford & Doyle Booksellers at Tel: 212-288-6300 or by email at bookstore@verizon.net. And by the way, the stories aren't technical in any way and can be read by lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

Sex, Lies and Private Eyes       Click here to read the story

 

My fictional effort this year consists of three short stories under the collective title Three Flights of Hi-Tech Fancy. The new feature here was abandoning reality, letting my imagination run free, and peering into a fantasy future – with ruminations on possible (but unlikely) advances in GPS technology, SIRI-type information and personalized movies on demand. I just ask that you put your rational sensibilities on hold as you read these tales, and enjoy the experience.

Three Flights of Hi-Tech Fancy       Click here to read the story

 

No single extended essay topic caught my fancy in my 81st year, so I decided instead to write some shorter pieces on unrelated topics that have lately been on my mind.

            Here they are – the OCTOGENARIAN OCTET:

An Ex-Navigator’s Lament for items that used to be readily available but are in scant supply nowadays.

An Ex-Navigator's Lament            Click here to read the story

 

­­Tales with a Kicker, designed to make your advice to others more trenchant.

Tales with a Kicker            Click here to read the story

 

Dastardly Decibels, the curse of dining out in Manhattan.

Dastardly Decibels            Click here to read the story

 

Pure Fiction, detailing the tribulations of writing a short story.

Pure Fiction            Click here to read the story

 

Sins of Omission, the everyday annoying stuff you forget (or deign) to accomplish.

Sins of Omission            Click here to read the story

 

Playing Favorites, the lingering effects of my childhood compulsion to identify personal preferences.

Playing Favorites            Click here to read the story

 

Bite-Size Wisdom, morsels of useful advice culled from the profilic pen of H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Bite-Size Wisdom           Click here to read the story

 

Sheer Happenstance Revisited, the voluntary decisions we make and actions we take that can lead to meaningful relationships and outcomes.

Sheer Happenstance Revisited            Click here to read the story

 

      My own recent age milestone of 80 led to an appreciation of contemporaries and older sorts, which resulted in a collection of tales entitled DEFYING DOTAGE – Six Short Stories Starring Sprightly Seniors, with insightful illustrations by my long-time collaborator and friend Joe Azar (who also did the cover for the essay below on Turning 80). I invented some colorful elderly characters and then generated suitable plots within which they could strut their stuff octogenarian romantic swains and combative spouses, a randy septuagenarian, and varied nonagenarians pursuing a buddy caper, lying in a hospital bed, and facing a crisis all still very much in the fight. I'll be interested to hear your reactions.

      Assisted Living stands for two propositions: first, that romance can flourish in senior settings, although not without the need to overcome obstacles that differ from those facing younger swains; and second, that with the passage of years, the roles of mentor and mentee can often find themselves inverted.

Assisted Living            Click here to read the story

 

The Fab Four is a fantasy buddy caper, in which a quartet of oldsters pool their talents to demonstrate their ingenuity, while engaging in some geezer high jinks in pursuit of a shared goal.

The Fab Four            Click here to read the story

 

In Three Beeps Redux, a bed-ridden old timer regales his great-grandsons with a stirring tale from his earlier days, triggering an internal debate on whether to include a cetain troubling aspect.

Three Beeps Redux            Click here to read the story

 

Four Hours is a humorous take on a risque subject, as this randy oldster copes imaginatively with an unforeseen affliction. It might be rated "R" by some readers -- so, if that sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, feel free to pass it by.

Four Hours           Click here to read the story

 

The husband and wife of Marital Maneuvers, savvy octogenarians abetted by inventive friends, each try out a variety of gambits to make the other over in the prankster's image, while kindling the curse of unintended consequences.

Marital Maneuvers            Click here to read the story

 

The ninety-plus narrator of Nonagenarian Musings is attempting to cope on his own with both a serious medical condition and a plethora of personal and family demons that tend to impair his judgment.

Nonagenarian Musings            Click here to read the story

* * *

      Montana Murder Mystery began life as a short story, but the abundance of dialogue and the dramatic theme of murder at a ski resort caused me to re-write it as a one-act play.

Montana Murder Mystery            Click here to read the story

 

Tennis Anyone? is comprised of three light-hearted short stories that feature the net game and illustrate the adage, "Be careful what you wish for."

Tennis Anyone?         Click here to read the stories

    

Here's a quartet of short stories under the overall name of Snapshots, all containing photography-based themes.

Snapshots           Click here to read the story

 

    Blue Moon features a grandfather-grandson relationship, plus some members of the middle generation.

Blue Moon          Click here to read the story

 

...But the Melody Lingers On examines a family relationship set off against a musical motif.

...But the Melody Lingers On           Click here to read the story

 

Is There a Lawyer in the House? it details the adventures of a latter-day Walter Mitty-esque attorney at the intersection of daydreams and real life.

Is there a lawyer in the house?       Click here to read the story

 

Fortune Cookie examines the effect on one lawyer of the predictions and warnings contained in those little Chinese restaurant dessert offerings.

Fortune Cookie       Click here to read the story

 

     

ESSAYS

To better cope with the tough world that’s out there nowadays, I pulled together Jim’s Choice Jokes – 90 Rib-Ticklers to Regale Your Friends. I’m sure you already know some of those included or variants, but you’re sure to find other humorous new ones, together with some thoughts on how and where to tell them yourself.

Jim's Choice Jokes -- 90 Rib-Ticklers to Regale Your Friends     Click here to read the essay

 

                                                      (The Noun Nemesis) is a waggish poem about memory that I wrote for my birthday

The Noun Nemesis      Click here to read the essay

 

I celebrated my 65th high school reunion, for which I penned the enclosed essay entitled, The 65th Horace Mann Reunion Lament: What the Hell Are We Callow High School Lads Doing Here at This Venerable Juncture?

The 65th Horace Mann Reunion Lament: What the Hell Are We Callow High School Lads Doing Here      Click here to read the essay

 

Senior Moments, is all about those pesky brain freezes that many of us experience with age – forgetting names, misplacing keys, and so on. The good news is that we’re not alone – and the article contains many humorous examples of others who have failed to       cope – but I’ve also tried to distill some of the sobering (albeit conflicting) views on whether we should be worrying about any of this stuff.

Senior Moments      Click here to read the essay

 

      From time to time, I write essays on subjects of interest to me. Since I turned 80 this past year, I'll start with the essay I wrote for the occasion.

Turning 80       Click here to read the essay

 

      Sheer Happenstance explores the manifold ways that pure chance operates in important areas of our lives. As you read the examples taken from my past years, I’m sure you’ll be recalling comparable events that have occurred in your own.

Sheer Happenstance             Click here to read the essay

 

      Putting in a Good Word for Compromise tells how I go about conducting commercial mediations, with a few thoughts on the need for constructive compromises on broader issues affecting the nation.

Putting in a Good Word for Compromise             Click here to read the essay

 

      Good Judgment explores the question of why otherwise intelligent people often exhibit poor judgment-delving into what's involved and offering a few tips to improve the decision-making that's at the heart of judgment.

Good Judgment             Click here to read the essay

 

      The Sensitivity Valve and The Ambiguity Filter is about the words that come out of our mouths that probably shouldn't, causing us to convey a message we'd rather not deliver -- and with some tips on what to do about it.

The Sensitivity Valve and The Ambiguity Filter            Click here to read the essay

 

The Curse of the Triple-Duty Boat -- some reflections on decision-making in conflicting situations we all face periodically.

The Curse of the Triple-Duty Boat       Click here to read the essay

 

And, from five years ago, my reflection on Turning 75.

Turning 75       Click here to read the essay

 

 

 

PHOTO BOOKS

      I've had numerous exhibits of my photos, but two of them have found their way into print in handsome books, published by Fordham University Press, of which I'm quite proud. Copies of the books may be puchased through Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

 
CENTRAL PARK A Photographic Excursion

central

      

[From the book flap]

      With more than 250 photographs, in color as well as black & white, this atractive book captures the diversity of today's Central Park, against the kaleidoscopic background of the changing seasons. From landscapes to still life flora, with a broad cross-section of people engaged in multiple pursuits, plus animals of the caged, wild, and domesticated varieties, craggy rocks, and remarkable statuary it's all there in the center of Manhattan, and many of the finest sights can be found in the pages of Central Park: A Photographic Excursion.

      The Book also contains a valuable section that provides non-technical tips to Park visitors carrying a camera on how to go about photographing the Park how to "see the picture." Each point is illustrated by helpful references to specific photos.

 

          Comments on Central Park A Photographic Excursion

"In his photographs, James Freund reveals pictures composed of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, and frames new ones never conceived of by Central Park's original artists. I congratulate him on his fine new book."

– Henry J. Stern, Commissioner, City of New York Parks and Recreation

 

"There is no park quite like Central Park and there is no photographer quite like Jim Freund. Combine the two and you have a rare gem! A passionate lover of ther Park, Jim Freund unveils its many secrets through his glorious photographs. His wit, wisdom, talent, keen eye and sense of wonder come through on every page. For those of us who 'live' the Park, the simple lessons in photography give us the tools we need to record successfully our own wonderful memories."

– Regina Peruggi, President, Central Park Conservancy

SLICES OF THE BIG APPLE A Photographic Tour of the Streets of New York

SLICE

[From the book flap]

      James Freund, the acclaimed photographer who celebrated the allure of Central Park in his last book, has now taken his camera to the streets of Manhattan for an unforgettable journey around the town in a book that brilliantly captures the energy and variety of the greatest city on the world.

      In over 200 color and black & white photographs, James Freund moves uptown and down to catch the dazzling contrasts that make New York so unique, in a sparkling collection of fresh provocative images of people and places.

      Here are breathtaking cityscapes taken from the tops of tall buildings and candid intimate shots of New Yorkers in all their extraordinary diversity. Here are the colors, patterns and pulse of the city and some brand new ways of looking at it all. In addition, there is expert advice for aspiring photographers on how to go about capturing memorable city images with each point illustrated by helpful reference to specific photos.

       For natives and visitors alike, Slices of the Big Apple is an unforgettable album of memories - the kind that could happen only in New York.

 

COMMENTS ON "SLICES OF THE BIG APPLE"

"Jim Freund is a superb photographer but he also is a philosopher and a humorist. In this volume - so much more than a picture book - his camera captures the images of the people of Manhattan; his commentaries explore their hearts and souls."

Walter Cronkite                

"James Freund takes us on an absorbing photographic tour of the streets of New York. The photos and text in Slices of the Big Apple are terrific, and the book is well worth your time."

Ed Koch                

"This is James Freund's love letter to New York. Like all artists, he charts the majesty of its architecture in contrast with the ironies and contradictions in the life that swarms and collides in its streets. The Big Apple is all muscle, difficult and exciting. And celebrating its poetry is no mean task."

"Freund has nailed the city I love and pretend to know."

Hal Prince