Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

When a Child Dies: Emotional Grief at Christmas Time…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © Sunday, December 22, 2019 (Revised 12/26/22…This may continue)

Written in response to Peggy’s letter of pain on Facebook: No, Peggy, I don’t know you, but I felt compelled to respond. Perhaps it will give you some possible way to cope and find peace.

I have not lost a child, but seem blessed or cursed with empathy, with absorbing others’ pain so intensely, it is like having a massive unpredictable Empath Serpent coiled within me, sometimes rearing up and piercing my heart with its fangs. I have no shield to stop me from caring.

I am Jewish without excuses, not into endless ritual, but deeply spiritual, and now old enough to have experienced the loss of so many people that I have forgotten some of their names.

(Read on …)

David, Goliath & Egg Fu Young: Being Jewish in Chicago at Christmas Time

by Robert M. Katzman © December 21, 2013

People of the Book

Wandering brown-eyed

Through silent dark streets

Alone among the millions

Each December 25th

For Millennia





Outside and looking in

No chimneys filled with myth

No stockings to hang

No mistletoe for kissing

***  (Read on …)

Silent James, a Proud Black Man who Defined “Good Christian” to me in 1983…by Robert M. Katzman

I published a true, inspirational story on this blog on July 4, 2008:

Depression, Despair and the Human Voice, https://www.differentslants.com/?p=72 

(If link doesn’t light up in blue, try cutting and pasting it)  

It has become one of the most visited stories on Rick’s and my blog, to date.  Many, many people must know someone who suffers from the tyranny of depression, and that frank, unfiltered stories can help explain what it actually feels like, from the inside out.

Here is one more incident that I left out of this story.   I am adding it at Christmas time, 2008, because it serves as a reminder of how good strangers can be.  Sometimes, we all need that. 


There was a small fresh fruit and vegetable store in Hyde Park, in 1978.  It was under the Illinois Central Railroad tracks and did a good business with the commuters rushing to their jobs in Downtown Chicago.  There was a bright, colorful public mural of grapes, apples, pears, carrots and so on painted on the brick exterior wall of the shop that faced my newsstand, just west of it, across Lake Park Avenue.

The owner was a short, stocky, Black and muscular man.  He worked hard, all the time.  We didn’t talk, but we nodded to each other when we caught each other’s eye.  I knew his name was James. He was kind of reserved.  I assumed he was wrapped up in his own world of business and other problems and not in any way aware of what I was involved with in the hostile world outside of intimate Hyde Park.  He had a formality about him, a kind of dignity.  But we weren’t friends.

The only indication James might have had that I was doing something besides selling newspapers on that corner was when my enormous black and white Gulliver’s Periodicals truck was parked outside of the store loading or unloading bundles of  thousands of current magazines.  The brick newsstand also served as Gulliver’s base of operations, initially. (Read on …)