Category Archives: THE WRITERS GUILD


Born and raised in Brooklyn, Steve Goldfinger enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a doctor and professor of medicine at MGH and Harvard Medical School.  His wife, a modern dancer and educational administrator, died ten years ago.  His four sons inherited both of their parents’ genes and have varied careers–Hollywood script writer, radiologist, psychotherapist, and business executive–coupled with creative musical talents they display in their respective bands and bluegrass group.  He has nine grandchildren.   In addition to writing, Steve’s interests include classical music and theatre.  He was also an ardent golfer “before skill deserted me.”
Steve joined BOLLI in 2016 and says that he has found it to be “a huge resource in my retirement which has fulfilled my desire to return to the humanities in my later years.”  The fine and varied program has also brought new friends.
As a member of  the Writers Guild,  Steve has treated the group to everything from poetry to memoir, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. This piece, an example of the latter, was written in response to the prompt:  “Best Friends Forever.” 


by Steve Goldfinger

He was born in China in 1898, the son of Presbyterian missionary parents.  He died 69 years later, leaving behind an estate worth a hundred million dollars.  Along the way, he was voted the most brilliant member of his Yale graduating class.  An ardent anti-communist, he urged Kennedy to attack Cuba, even saying to him, “If you don’t, I’ll be like Hearst,” meaning he’d use his magazines to push him to it.  He was a strong proponent (and rare user) of LSD.  His physical awkwardness, lack of humor, and discomfort with any conversation that was not strictly factual was starkly at odds with his glamorous wife’s social poise, wit, and fertile imagination.

Henry Luce embarked on a career in journalism, and before he bought Life magazine in 1936, he and a partner had already taken on both Time and Fortune.  His yen to own Life was based purely on its name and how well it would couple with that of Time.  His wife Clare saw a grand opportunity to found an entirely new media genre: photojournalism.  Before they purchased it, Life magazine had been a declining vehicle for the kid of light-hearted, sophisticated, clean humor that it’s readers had outgrown.  Under the Luces, its new mission statement opened with “To see life, to see the world…”  How it succeeded!

Within four months, Life’s circulation rose from 380,000 to over a million, and it eventually exceeded eight million.  It became the most popular magazine of its time.  Renowned photographers captured riveting images for the eyes of the nation: the D-Day landings, aerial views of the remains of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, faces of the Nazis at the Nuremberg tribunal, and, most famous of all, the iconic kiss the sailor planted on that nurse in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II.  And as more print invaded the magazine in the form of essays and memoirs, viewers became readers.  Life’s continued popularity brought great acclaim and great profits for more than three decades before it began its gradual fade in the 1970s.  Issues became less frequent and staggered to total cessation in 2000.  Rising costs were one reason.  Television was undoubtedly another.

In contrast to Henry’s somewhat colorless persona, Clare Boothe Luce led a stunning public life.  She was an early feminist, an actress, a successful  playwright, and then a war reporter, journalist, politician, congresswoman, and ambassador.  Attending opening night of one of her plays were Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann.  Among the quips attributed to her are, “No good deed goes unpunished” and “Widowhood is a fringe benefit of marriage.”  While ambassador to Italy, she was poisoned with arsenic.  Initially suspected to be Russian espionage retaliation for her outspoken anti-communism, the cause was eventually found to be arsenate in the paint flaking off her bedroom ceiling.  “Broadway’s New Faces, 1952” famously portrayed her illness at Toothloose in Rome.  Clare Boothe Luce died in 1987.  By the end of her life, she had become a fervent supporter of Barry Goldwater and a Nixon appointee to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Arguably the most influential and envied power couple of their time, Henry and Clare Boothe Luce made numerous friends for life.  They were also the best friends for  ,

THE WRITERS GUILD – Another “Taste of BOLLI”


The BOLLI Writers Guild meets on Fridays from 12:30-2 in the Gold Room
The BOLLI Writers Guild meets on Fridays from 12:30-2 in the Gold Room

On Thursday, the six members of BOLLI’s writing group provided a glimpse of what the guild is all about. Group organizers Maxine Weintraub and Sue Wurster started the group last spring as they came to the end of their five-week course with Betsy Campbell, “Five Short Stories in Five Weeks.” Both were concerned that, without such a group, they might not keep up the momentum they had developed during the course. Since that time, the group has met, weekly, to generate, share, and get feedback on their writing to help them improve their skill.

The high standard of their work was evident in their reading, and the pieces they chose to read demonstrated the wide range of styles and genres they have explored. Margie Arons-Barron shared fiction and memoir; Judy Blatt provided some of her characteristic “surprise ending” fiction; Larry Schwirian shared fiction and a personal reflective essay; Karen Wagner provided poetry; Maxine presented memoir; and Sue read fiction rooted in both imagination and real-life.

The group is provided with a writing prompt for each week, which some use while others don’t. But, on Thursday, the BOLLI audience was provided with a prompt and was given five minutes in which to “free write” in response to it. Bunny Cohen volunteered to share hers, saying, “I am not a writer” as she stepped to the microphone. And yet, what followed was a lovely, short poem–demonstrating, once again, that we are all writers!

Bunny Cohen responded to this group prompt with a very short, strikingly poetic piece featuring her aunt.

The group meets in the Gold Room on Fridays from 12:30 to 2:00. Prompts are provided in the weekly Bulletin.  All are invited to attend!