Autonomous cars are coming.

You reach for your iPhone to summon a ride. Two minutes later, a van arrives, without a driver. The side panel opens automatically and you step inside. You’re greeted by a friendly female voice. “Good afternoon, this driverless car is yours. Your destination is 1400 Larimer Street in downtown Denver. Please make sure your seat belt is fastened. If you have questions, press the Help button to speak with a rider support agent.”

You sit back and check your phone. You peruse emails and Facebook. You sense cars driving on either side of you, but your attention is not on…

The Seven Sacred Pools in Hana (Maui).

In 1994, I traveled with several friends to Maui. Midway through the trip, we drove fours hours to Hana on the back side of the island. We visited the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of ponds and waterfalls stretching from the mountain to the sea. At the lowest pool bordering the ocean, the pond is split in two by a reef.

As I walked atop the reef, I noticed a local Hawaiian man diving into the pool, disappearing, then reappearing on the other side of the rocks.

“How’d you do that,” I asked.

“There’s an underwater tunnel beneath the rocks…

Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach.

I was rummaging through the stacks of City Lights Bookstore in North Beach when I noticed an attractive young woman in the Russian Literature section. She was reading The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol, one of my favorite authors. I feigned interest in the nearby books, summoning the courage to speak to her.

“I love that book you’re reading,” I said. “I won’t have any coffee today. Just hot bread and onions.”

She gave me a strange look.

“That’s from The Nose. It’s the third story.”

“I haven’t read that yet,” she said. She had a European accent.

She had beautiful…

Life continues, even when it’s no longer visible. (photo by Kevin Smith)

“We cannot assert that after death there is nothing. Something can never become nothing.” Thich Nhat Hanh

The night before my mom died, she visited me in a dream. She showed me a drawing she’d made in an art class. It was a labyrinthian pattern with multiple twists and turns resembling a journey through a maze. I expressed this to her and she smiled. Around the same time, a light fixture blew in my brother’s home. My mom passed away later that morning.

What happens when we die? The body withers like an old flower, but what happens to the…

My mom dressed as an alien for the tv show Alien Nation.

When I was six years old, my mom gave me an important lesson. She was on carpool duty when she dropped off Lawrence Fishman at his home. He didn’t say thank you. She became furious. She told me, “I don’t want you to be friends with that boy. If someone doesn’t say thank you, you don’t want him in your life.”

My mom always offered little gems like that. She once told me, “You’re born into a birth family but you spend the rest of your life searching for your earth family. If you’re lucky, the two are the same.”…

LeBron James’ ankle injury derailed the Lakers championship run.

The NBA Playoffs are upon us and the stars have dropped like flies. Wounded warriors include LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embid, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Jamal Murray, Jaylen Brown and Trae Young.

The Lakers were favorites to repeat as champions until Lebron injured his ankle and Anthony Davis strained his groin. The favored New Jersey Nets couldn’t overcome injuries to Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Utah had the league’s best record then Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley were injured. The Clippers lost Kawhi Leonard to a sprained knee. Jamal Murray’s torn ACL killed…

Producers travel the globe to raise money for their films.

In August 2012, I received a call from my father. We spoke about the Dodgers and the coming election and the Los Angeles heat wave when he casually said, “I’m going to Ghana tomorrow.”

“Uh, what?”

“I’m meeting with an investor for our movie. He owns a gold mine and wants to get in the film business.”

I was accustomed to my father meeting with strange folks all over the world in his never-ending search for film funding. But Ghana? This seemed out of the ordinary.

“Who are you traveling with?”

“Myself. It’s a three-day trip. I’ll be back Monday.”

We wanted to videotape a plane cutting through the dense evening fog.

We called ourselves the Vidiots. We were not paparazzi since we had little interest in videotaping celebrities. Nor were we nightcrawlers, those gothic ambulance chasers who taped police shootings to sell to the evening news. We saw ourselves as documentarians wanting to capture the essence of our beloved Los Angeles.

We relished taping locations from classic movies. We recorded inside the Bradbury Building featured in Bladerunner. We shot at the Alto Nido Apartments where William Holden’s character lived in Sunset Boulevard. We taped in dark alleys, on rooftops, inside abandoned buildings, on the sides of freeways. Once, while driving through…

My ice cream man’s products were top notch.

Our ice cream man’s name was Mac. He was a stocky ex-marine with a spiky crew cut and aviator sunglasses that hid his eyes. His truck had a Nixon for President sticker on the back bumper and the music box played “Hail to the Chief.” Mac was surly and impatient and hated kids. But his ice cream selection was top notch. He had bomb pops, big sticks, fudgesicles, drumsticks and ice cream sandwiches.

I usually bought a Klondike Bar and a pack of Topps baseball cards. I also loved Wacky Packs, the goofy parodies of brand names such as Quacker…

I’ve had two ventures in the world of lemons in my life.

When I was a boy, our family had three robust lemon trees in the backyard. The lemons were large and ugly with rough bumpy rind resembling an old man’s face. The flesh was mild, not too tart and not too sweet. My siblings and I decided to set up a lemonade stand. My little sister made the lemonade while my brother and I dragged a poker table and a piano bench to the sidewalk in front of the house. I scrawled a primitive sign reading “Lemonade 5 Cents.” …

Loren Kantor

Loren is a writer and woodcut artist based in Los Angeles. He teaches printmaking and creative writing to kids and adults.

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