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September 2, 2014

‘IT’S A ‘SAD, SAD, SAD, SAD WORLD.’ Surgeons and Hospitals: why you cross a river for surgery. Writing a Second Novel. 9-2-14

  ‘IT”S A ‘SAD, SAD, SAD, SAD WORLD.’  Surgeons and Hospitals: why you cross a river for surgery.  Writing a Second Novel.           Calvin Schwartz 9-2-14


contemplating in a Princeton University courtyard.

contemplating in a Princeton University courtyard.




A few hours ago, the news spread that another American journalist was beheaded. My mind is all over the place. I rarely write politics perhaps because when you reach a certain age you begin to see things differently; a world that can’t get together and sign the Kyoto protocol to protect our environment; a world back in September, 1938 when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain came back from a meeting with Hitler and uttered, “Peace for our Time.”  To mood myself, I just listened to Barry McGuire sing “The Eve of Destruction” from 1965. I was 20.  Every few years, I watch the totally silly movie, ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and I laugh and laugh. And now I’d like to write a few hundred pages why it is a sad sad sad sad world with truth and consequences.  Maybe I will one day soon.




with niece well below the earth in crystal cave bermuda

with niece well below the earth in crystal cave bermuda


interviewing actor Michael Chartier in scene in movie 'The Soulless'

interviewing actor Michael Chartier in scene in movie ‘The Soulless’


Before going on, here are a few comments about surgeons and hospitals and why sometimes you should cross a river or mountain range to find the right one. Fifteen years ago, I had two knee operations at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. My surgeon(DR DAVID ALTCHEK) removed both my meniscus and shaved some of my arthritic bones.  Two days later, I was shooting hoops in the backyard with my son. He’s never beaten me. For the last 15 years, I’ve been playing tennis twice a week and riding the exercise bike four times a week with no pain whatsoever.  Last week at the same hospital, I had complete shoulder replacement surgery with the SAME surgeon. He took a saw and cut out my tired old shoulder bone and cut tendons and ligaments to do so and made me bionic of sorts. You should all know that since my surgery, I have NOT taken one pain pill. I’m grateful there was a river to cross.






with prodigal son on assignment in what I'd like to say is Overlook Hotel from The Shining

with prodigal son on assignment in what I’d like to say is Overlook Hotel from The Shining


in that famous fire engine in Freehold NJ

in that famous fire engine in Freehold NJ




As a  writer now (that first book review, which calls me an accomplished novelist is defining) I’ve been asked a variety of questions.  As a possible on-line centrist and Universalist Unitarian (I take those on-line psychological tests all the time), questions  keep popping-up and arriving in my over-protective mailboxes) If my mother was around, I’d never be hard copying, like right now, the fact I’m one of those UU people. She wouldn’t understand that fact and also the third chapter in my novel which gently touches (as in a handshake and brief kiss) the ancient verboten topic of skin color curiosity. Imagination with real sound effects: my cell phone rang (Nessun Dorma tone) and my mother is yelling at me. “Where did all that come from? And I want you to tell me the truth, I’m your mother. Did you ever take an African-American girl to the Shark River in Belmar?” Meanwhile, I’m thrilled, my mother, actually used a politically correct word. And I answer her and my cousin from Texas who also called, lest ye all forget, my novel, ‘Vichy Water’ is fiction.





on the set of film 'Words To Live By' with cast & director

on the set of film ‘Words To Live By’ with cast & director


with Filion who spent the day showing my entourage Bermuda.

with Filion who spent the day showing my entourage Bermuda.



Questions from the loneliness and abandon of an exercise bike abound on a Tuesday evening. Moments ago, pondering the fact that Ponce De Leon searched for the fountain of youth and I was sitting on it and pedaling, I asked myself how important is becoming a novelist. It’s my life now, a reason to believe (an old favorite folk song) and one of those pure existence justifications, being put on this earth to write. And I believe that. Wow( a wonderfully youthful word. How many card carrying AARP members use it regularly?)  I believe spiritually that I’ve arrived; so much so, it could very well be novel number two; my journey to arrival at spirit, universe and understanding in a sad world.


NOTE: all pictures are from my journalistic journeys.

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  1. Cal-You inspire me! Your writing gives me not just pleasure in reading it, for yes there is sadness, but you address issues with not just intelligence and insight – but with caring, humor and truth. I look forward to any new ventures you may undertake, for I know they will be totally enjoyable and a great read !!!

    Comment by JoAnn Scalera — September 2, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

  2. I cannot wait to read your first Novel. And It is a SAD SAD WORLD lately….and I fear for our children and their children and so on. BUT I have to say…. if my kids, now 31 and 30, are any indication of the generations to follow, THERE IS A WHOLE LOT OF HOPE. I hope my kids are the norm because they will not STAND for this anymore. Thanks to social media the veil has been lifted and these kids are smart and thinking and acting GLOBALLY now. They have to since the good jobs are now overseas. The GOVT is corrupt and the CORPORATIONS own the GOV’T. They all know this and they are activists with a mission to improve this world. It is time and Please write that needed book!

    Comment by car. ol ammermuller beck — September 2, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

  3. Since you played basketball 2 days after knee surgery I kinda thought you would throwing 90 mph fastballs after shoulder surgery. Don t forget to call if you need a ride Sat Get well

    Comment by Jack Cobin — September 4, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  4. Brilliant as always, Cal. Looking forward to your next novel! So pleased you are pain free. I worked as a RN with many wonderful and magical surgeons in NYC @ Columbia Presbyterian so I know it is possible. Only the very best to you Cal!

    Comment by Joyfulkira — September 6, 2014 @ 6:53 am

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