Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Friday, October 31, 2003

Readers Of E-Books Are Avid Online Users

According to a new Nielsen//NetRatings study (commissioned by Newsstand), users of so-called e-editions of print publications are shown to be more affluent, better educated and heavier users of the Internet than the average online user.
· -- And They Still Use Print [MediaPost ]
· Journalism sold short? [JSchool]
· How Much Information? 2003 [SIM ]

Joseph DiMento offers a good profile of Wood-at-Harvard in yesterday's issue of the Harvard Crimson, The Critical View:
Ironically, Wood thinks that less reading should be done in American universities. "I feel that you’re reading too much. I’m generally in favor of reading a bit less and knowing it deeply.

Literary Land
The British Library is asking bibliophiles to adopt a book and save it for the nation.
· Adoption [Telegraph (UK)]
· Books without deaths and taxes [TownOnline ]

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Even if once upon a time I was not described as the Mitteleuropean Instapundit, Savant, or reached the orgasmic spot for 96 seconds as top 100 blogger at the Street of Blogging Power (Blogstreet.com), I would still consider blogging an extraordinary joy. All my friends know that I was born to break information and ideas. Is blogging better than sex? Definite maybe not! (smile)
· Joy of Unedited Sex and Blogging [Slate]
· The White House whine: 'It's all the blog's fault' [CSMonitor ]

Blog Bog
A recent study by Perseus Development, a research firm and maker of software for surveys, finds that fully 66 percent of the 4.12 million blogs, or online journals, created on eight leading blog-hosting services have been "abandoned'' - that is, not updated for at least two months. And 1.09 million of those were one-day wonders.
· 'It's all the Dragon's fault' [ NYTimes]

Blatant Selfcongratulations to the Richest Media Dragon: No Longer Nameless Dragon on the Blog Street How Appealing...
From: admin@blogstreet.com
To: jozefimrich@authorsden.com
Subject: [BlogStreet] Ownership granted
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 05: 44:26 -0800
Dear Jozef Imrich,
You have been granted the ownership of your blog in BlogStreet:
You can now authoritatively categorize your blog,
also you will receive notification when your blog is reviewed.
Hope you find your experience with BlogStreet useful.
Your feedback will be highly appreciated.
BlogStreet Team.
Media Dragon
Blogger : Jozef Imrich [Contact]
Rank : 1178 / 144733
BIQ : 612
Rating : 3 based on 1 votes and 0 review(s)
Category : Politics

· Ownership [Blogstreet ]
Many thanks to characters like Howard J. Bashman, Webdiary of Margo Kingston, Sanctuary of Gianna Surfdom of Tim Dunlop, and one and all serving the spirit of the Slavish Spiders on Blog Street.
Tell me I am not dreaming that Helen Thomas and I have been this week partners in electronic crime.
· Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President and Cold River [Palm Digital]

Books are back in fashion, thanks to Rowling's magic
JK Rowling accepted her 2003 Prince of Asturias Award (in Spain.)
It is given to someone who has helped the struggle against injustice, poverty, disease or ignorance, to opening new horizons of knowledge.
I certainly didn't set out to teach, or to preach, to children.
I wanted to depict the ambiguities of a society where bigotry, cruelty, hypocrisy and corruption are rife, the better to show how truly heroic it is, whatever your age, to fight a battle that can never be won.
And I also wanted to reflect the fact that life can be difficult and confusing between the ages of 11 and 17, even when armed with a wand.

· Dragons - and pots of gold: Teenage master of monsters [SMH: Paolini]

Publishing Virgin, The
Whether you are a forty four year old considering this predicament ... well, age does not matter when it comes to the Virtual Bookcase!

An adventure is only a click away
Double Dragon Publishing (DDP) is a small Canadian press that specializes in bringing to print exceptional authors that would otherwise not be read. With this in mind we have just announced The Draco Awards for unpublished or self-published titles in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres. Each year we will be inviting established authors in their field to act as Finalist Judges. For the 2003 awards we are lucky enough to have Piers Anthony, Mike Resnick and Mike Arnzen. All are recipients of multiple awards as well as being well respected in their field. The winner in each genre with be offered a hard back and ebook contract, but more importantly we will be returning all score sheets to the authors so that they can learn from the comments offered by our 10 Preliminary Judges and 3 Finalist Judges. You can read additional information about The Dracos Awards at: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/draco/draco2003.html
· Exceptional Authors that would otherwise not be read [Mind Like Water]

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Books are back in fashion, thanks to Rowling's magic
JK Rowling accepted her 2003 Prince of Asturias Award (in Spain.)
It is given to someone who has helped the struggle against injustice, poverty, disease or ignorance, to opening new horizons of knowledge.
I certainly didn't set out to teach, or to preach, to children.
I wanted to depict the ambiguities of a society where bigotry, cruelty, hypocrisy and corruption are rife, the better to show how truly heroic it is, whatever your age, to fight a battle that can never be won.
And I also wanted to reflect the fact that life can be difficult and confusing between the ages of 11 and 17, even when armed with a wand.

FRANZ KAFKA: I am literature! Bloody hell.
Kafka makes novelists nervous.
Why is that? Where are Kafka's descendants? Only a handful--Borges, W.G. Sebald, Thomas Bernhard--have successfully "channeled" the Kafkaesque in any meaningful way. The result has been queer. His influence seems to cause a mutation in the recipient, metamorphosing the novel into something closer to a meditation, a fantastical historiography, an essay, a parable. What is it about Kafka's lessons for the novel that cannot be contained within the novel in the form as we have come to know it? How does Kafka lead novelists away from the novel?

· Is it possible to be alive? [New Republic]

It's something we don't want to take with us to our graves
I want to start from some imagined, highly improbable, highly fantastic but not impossible fact and move from mental reality into social reality. That is, I think, the way of true art: not from the bottom up but from the top down.
· Schnacksi: Kafka's "Metamorphosis" [Philly ]

Bestselling author of FIRST, BREAK ALL THE RULES and NOW, DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS Marcus Buckingham's next two books, again to Fred Hills at Free Press, for publication in 2005 and fall 2006 respectively, by Joni Evans at William Morris (world).

AmeriKa As Author Magnet: International authors find refuge in the U.S.
Attracted by freedom to write and a large literary marketplace.
That Argentine, or Australian, or Czech, or Slovak author you have bought a ticket to hear is probably flying in from his or her home in the United States — the world's most powerful author magnet. Not only does the place offer freedom to write, but it also offers an abundance of publishers, lots of creative writing programs where authors can find a day job, and a large literary marketplace.

· A day job [Toronto Star 10/26/03 ]

Adding Up The Futility Of Writing
The economics of being a writer in Canada just don't add up. Out of that $32 book price, the author gets $3.20. "In Canada, a country of more than 30 million people, a novel is considered to have sold respectably if three thousand copies leave the shelf. You do the math: 3,000 x $3.20, minus 15 per cent, minus hundreds of dollars in expenses, minus your advance on these royalties, divided by four or five (depending on how many years the book took to write), equals, on a bad day, a fairly deep sense of futility.
· Why You Want To Be A Loser [The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/25/03 ]

Have Sivilized Blog, Will Travel to Nippon Club
Josh Marshall, who's been perhaps the blogosphere's biggest innovator when it comes to including actual reporting on his blog, took up a collection to raise money for a trip to New Hampshire. Marshall says he'll spend the last week and a half or so before the Democratic primary reporting on the Granite State campaign exclusively for his TalkingPointsMemo blog.
The fund drive was a huge success, raising nearly $5,000 in less than 24 hours. In fact, Marshall says he's raised far more than he needs for the trip and is offering to give some back.
Like all good ideas, this one is subject to refinement, and it strikes us that there's one shortcoming to Marshall's plan: There are already hundreds of reporters in New Hampshire; what difference does one more make? Why not raise money to report on an undercovered political event at the NSW Bear Pit?
So how about it, who wants to pony up to send me to cover the events taking place at the Nippon Club?
About Last night is my favourite time to blog about. Last night I discovered that our old neighbour from Birriga Road James Houston of Raw Fame is doing shoots for Thorpe new range of underwear, IT.

I also learned that another Eastern Surburb character, Ernie Page, a former MP who was liked by everyone at the Parliament House even cleaners, is attached to Richard Talbot Motorist Action Group, and likely to get most of the votes as his group is cleaver enough to suggest that NRMA members should appoint Ernie as their proxy for 2003 AGM. To boot, they have a website www.mag.org.au
Last night current MP Joe Tripodi of Fairfield Fame had actually made a core promise, in front of George Torbay, to buy a copy of my book Cold River. It was Ronald Reagan who said during his presidency that there had been times when he wondered how you could do the job if you hadn't been an actor. (grin)
While Garry David McIlwaine exRyde MP, who was desperately searching for someone at the Nippon Club around 7 pm, and out to shock me again by promising to borrow my book 100 times from a library...(smile)
· I never thought I’d say this, but: No More Contributions! [TalkingPointsMemo ]

In Huck Finn’s term, big bad survivors like Jozef Imrich need to be... sivilized

Eager Crutch Words
Like many editorial consultants, I've been concerned about the amount of time I've been spending on easy fixes that the author shouldn't have to pay for.
Sometimes the question of where to put a comma, how to use a verb or why not to repeat a word can be important, even strategic. But most of the time the author either missed that day's grammar lesson in elementary school or is too close to the manuscript to make corrections before I see it.

· 10 MISTAKES WRITERS DON'T SEE [Holtuncensored ]
· Lethal Weapon - Book Review As Blunt Object [NYTimes ]

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I have already suffered greatly at the hands of Craig and his capability to deliver with his tongue. And his quite amazing ability to turn simple into exaggerated and extravagant tales.
Folbigg Tragedy
During the decade that she killed her four children, Kathleen Folbigg filled her diaries with her deepest thoughts. Lee Glendinning has read them all.
· The diary of a mother incapable of love, and compelled to kill [SMHerald ]
· The diary of my old Communist mother County incapable of giving freedom, and compelled to kill [Corpse]

Monday, October 27, 2003


Land of the Free? After South Korea ...
Press freedom in Australia has taken a battering in the past 12 months, according to the latest world rankings published by the international media monitoring organisation, Reporters Without Borders.
Australia plummeted from 12th place in the 2002 index of press freedom, Czechs and Slovaks moved to 12th place this year, to 50th this year, behind New Zealand in 17th, Britain (27th), the United States (31st) and South Korea (49th).

· Media restrictions given a black mark [SMH ]

Writing Advice You'll Never Need
Writer's extremely serious, not-to-be-taken-lightly, utterly humorless guide to creating a successful writer's website. *The previous sentence employed sarcasm. **Sarcasm, which has been unemployed for a while.
· Irony [Absolute Write]

There's the dream, where you work hard, scale the corporate ladder, and make your bundle. Then there's that other, sexier fantasy of ditching it all for a labor of love.
The Power of Risk-Taking
To succeed as a writer, you must be willing to take risks.
· Tough Luck [Absolute Write]

Comrade in Arms
When Vladimir Putin was elected Russia's president in 2000 his previous career in the KGB lent him a sinister air.
· Book spooks Putin's spy image [SMH ]

Sunday, October 26, 2003

It is not our stars, dear Horatio, but ourselves...

Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Yeah, I was alive during the 1980s, but Tears for Fears reminded me of something important in our own time.
Look at the Blogstreet list of "top blogs." Notice something about them? Most are on the same topic, politics.
· The problem isn't with the lying liars. The problem is with the millions who enjoy being lied to, who prefer being lied to, who see balance as imbalance, and imbalance as balance [Corante: MOORE'S LORE: new technology: Dana Blankenhorn ]

Speaking of tears of laughter and misleading headlines, yesterday some readers of Technorati abstracts assumed that I was richer than Madona or even the Queen...Not So. Just ask the Dragon! (smile)
6. And richer, even, than Jozef Imrich, NovoRiche Blow-in (6) (Cosmos)
dangerousmeta! 135 inbound blogs, 150 inbound links Created 18 hours 34 minutes ago (Cosmos)
To stars, writing books looks like child’s play. You know it’s coming. The pithy comment. Get ready. “So when’s Michael Jackson going to throw his hat in the ring?” [Boing-ng-ng-ng]
Media Dragon 62 inbound blogs, 66 inbound links Created 20 hours 5 minutes ago (Cosmos)
ts of money and publicity to be made in kid lit. It was a time, after all, when a young British woman — who didn't have a famous name when she started — wrote a series of books about a boy named Harry and, legend has it, became richer than Madonna. · And richer, even, than Jozef Imrich, NovoRiche Blow-in [The New York Times 10/23/03 ] ·
The AppleSurf Reader 5 inbound blogs, 5 inbound links Created 20 hours 30 minutes ago (Cosmos)
The restaurants exist, and in some cases thrive, for no apparent reason. To Stars, Writing Books Looks Like Child's Play

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Journalists overpaid? Nonsense!
Journalists are woefully underpaid. Financially, the profession cannot attract or retain the brightest university graduates. The average starting salary for a new J-school grad is $26,000, according to the annual survey done by the University of Georgia's Grady Collegr. Even the true believers, those motivated by the higher principles of journalism, are too often forced out by paychecks that can't be stretched to meet costs of living in our nation's pricier cities.
· But you can only abuse people so much [Tim Porter]

Manhattan buzzocracy
The trouble with approaching "real writers," as Hollywood likes to call them (meaning, I suppose, writers who write books, not "pages"), to host these promotional events is that the more seriously talented they are, the weirder they tend to be. Real writers also are prone to having real opinions. And they become "difficult" when required to suppress them.
The writers you see at parties are not usually the "real" ones. Real writers are usually sitting in a chaotic farmhouse somewhere with a five-day growth of beard and a stained T-shirt in an onanistic trance at their computers, or else trying to kill themselves like Sylvia Plath.

· They don't like to be disturbed [WashingtonPost ]

It was hard to miss it, unless you were trying
Search Inside the Book
Amazon.com is also having a contest to see how their "Search Inside the Book" feature has changed your life.
Amazon's scheme would never work if users really wanted their books in digital form. The magic of the archive lies in the assumption that physical books are irreplaceable. The electronic text is simply an enhancement of the physical object.
mazon's Search Inside the Book is not an ebook project. It is merely a catalog. But a decade of Internet history proves that

· The catalog is exactly what you want to Own! [Amazon ]

Friday, October 24, 2003

Gabriel García Márquez said Life is not what one has lived, but what one remembers and how one chooses to tell it.

I'm not Gabriel García Márquez or Agatha Christie. But I had a sister Aga once who hooked me on folklore stories, even folk dancing, as well as stories written by characters like Christie.
Aga like no one else I have ever known understood that life on this earth was a hard bastard. At 22 Aga had even trouble drawing breath. Breathing is painful when you are diagnosed with leukemia. The paradigm is the girl whose throat is filled with toxic elements and she is not even able to cry for help.
What story does one tell after you happen to say final goodbye to your 22 years old sister when you barely 17 years old? After such an experience escaping across the Iron Curtain is not such an impossible dream.
My ordinary story entitled Cold River takes many leaves from Agatha Christie’s novels. Deep inside me I seem to understand so well Burkean conservatism which was meaningfully expressed by Agatha: justice rarely comes from the state, but from civil society – a private detective, a clever old spinster. I admit I do not have the skills to reach as deep as Agatha. My writing does not do justice to my hows and whys feelings in those mysterious regions of my heart. What words and notions should be used to describe how it took ordinary boys to demolish one of the last great communist taboos: crossing the forbidden Iron Curtain.
Many readers know that in Christie and Burke’s worlds wisdom resides in the very old and the very ordinary. Thirst for truth and freedom is a dynamic force, and a dynamic force is a very dangerous thing.
In ‘Destination Unknown’, a communistic scientific community turns out to be a veil for a crazed megalomaniac.
Her protagonists stand, novel after novel, against those who seek to disrupt the natural order and interpret the world with a misleading ‘rationalism’. As one of her heroes explains, "We’re humble-minded men. We don’t expect to save the world, only pick up one or two broken pieces and remove a spanner or two when it’s jamming up the works." Or, as another heroine asks, "Isn’t muddle a better breeding ground for kindliness and individuality than a world order that’s imposed? There is a clear natural order it is only disrupted by greed, wickedness or misguided political ambition.
Like Agatha, I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life -- an encouraging email from a reader who almost deleted my story half way through the book, but now has read it three times.
Around one hundred publishers rejected my story, but I stood my ground. There are conspiracies that this blog is just a devious plan to double traffic on Double Dragon Publishing (as if it needed it ]smile]). I thought I was simply linking soulful stories: at times, myemail feels more like I dropped a hand grenade into a political hornet's nest.
· Work-in-Progress: Muddling through revisions [Saloon: Mr Michael Orthofer, Managing Editor, at The Complete Review ]

Madonna, whose last published work, Sex, involved explicit photographs, stream of consciousness pornography and rape fantasies, has followed it up with Moravian Memoirs

Glam Kid Lit - More About The Author
You need a lot of manure to get a decent crop of turnips theory.
Why are all these celebrities writing children's books? Everyone agreed there was lots of money and publicity to be made in kid lit. It was a time, after all, when a young British woman — who didn't have a famous name when she started — wrote a series of books about a boy named Harry and, legend has it, became richer than Madonna.
· And richer, even, than Jozef Imrich, Bohemian Blow-in [The New York Times 10/23/03 ]
· River of Change: Perhaps we are in a kind of literary Sargasso sea [Observer (UK) 10/19/03 ]

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Citizen Bloggers
These days of information overload and easy access online to news from around the globe, there's actually an information shortage when it comes to
local news in small and medium sized communities.
· Blog Locally [Cadence ]
· 2003: Not where our problems really are vs. you'll never solve them without understanding it [Glaser ]
Winners::Best onLine [UK]

· Great Citizen Blogger who needs help [Rittenhouse]

Rethinking thinking
College classes that make one think - it's a basic concept assumed as a given. But many grads walk away with a diploma yet still lack critical-thinking skills. That's why some educators are asking students to close their textbooks and do a little more reflecting.
They scan articles dating from the "red scare" in the 1920s on through World War II and then read further new accounts of relations between the US and the Soviet Union in later decades.

· Texts [ CSMonitor]

This myth is unlikely to die Family Friendly Blogging
Naughty, but Nice, and according to some evidence a rather sexy blogger, Tim Dunlop, provides pointers on daily bases to stories that really matter. Today we read that it is not fear or size that matters, but the length of time!
· Quickies: How long is yours? [Living Room]

New research confirms that Media Dragon readers live longer, suffer less senile dementia than other web surfers.
· Unfiltered: Mental Ability Linked To Survival Age [Telegraph (UK)]
· Blogs are like a cigarette they come filtered or unfiltered [SMH]
· Google: Ah ... You Guys and Gals too are sexy with or without the Ads [Google: Making MD Adless]

I like the democracy of it and it might work for one or two books.

Books off the shelf
Czech Out www.stuff-uncut.com
Fledgling authors face a seemingly insurmountable hurdle trying to get published. Developments on the internet mean that this needn't be the case.

· Virtual Independence!!! [Independent ]

Le Goncourt Goes To
Jacques-Pierre Amette has won France's leading literary award the Prix Goncourt for his book BRECHT'S MISTRESS, La Maitresse de Brecht

In the name of changing the image of bloggers and librarians:
The First Virtual Fist Fight, 2004 AD, entitled The End, of Left and Right, Histories?
· IMPROBABLE FIGHT: blogging man's thriller [Troppoarmadillo ]

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I like to think I do not represent anything but literature, a certain idea of literature, and conscience, a certain idea of conscience or duty.
· Frankfurt book fair, Susan Sontag: Speech [Guardian (UK)]

Having kofis today with underground librarians and bloggers so consider this entry dedicated to one and all who serve inside great brothels of life...

Libraries are brothels for the mind
Libraries are battles for ideas. Which means that librarians are the madams, greeting punters, understanding their strange tastes and needs, and pimping their books. That's rubbish, of course, but it does wonders for the image of librarians.
Libraries were the original internet. All knowledge was available even in a local branch library. You could order a book and, if they didn't have it, they'd get it from a library in Yorkshire that did. This would give you the double pleasure of having the book you wanted and the knowledge that a Yorkshireman would be searching in vain for it. Of course, many libraries now have free internet access, which is useful for looking up things online, such as the library opening times.

· I used to be a Pimp [Guardian (UK)]
· Celebrity librarian [NY Times]

Year of Writing Dangerously
Wait, there's more: One editor remarked to me that the show builds on the myth that women can transform their gruesome boyfriends and husbands into stylish, thoughtful guys who can cook. On the other side, where proximity to gay men was once seen as the ultimate curse for straight guys, it now turns out to be a blessing. A recurring motif of the show is that the gay friends help the straight guy "score chicks. (Look, she is so into him!) I knew my bosom buddies of Warren, Greig, Anthony stature would come in to good use some day (grin)
· Queer Eye for the Straight Guy [Poynter ]
· Andrew Sullivan [No More Mister Nice]

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sweet Reward: Tax Notes of Known World
He had never considered writing fiction full time before. Mr. Jones was the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories and the winner of a $50,000 literary prize, but he was also the son of an illiterate and impoverished mother. As a young man he lived briefly in a homeless shelter and learned to view a steady paycheck the same way that a drowning man might view a lifeline.
To think about being a writer was to think that I had the whole world, and I really didn't, and I knew I didn't," said Mr. Jones, 53, who spent nearly two decades proofreading and summarizing news items for Tax Notes, a trade magazine, before he was laid off in January 2002.
But he decided to dive into his first novel without much of a safety net. To his astonishment, his tale of a black slave owner, an aching and lyrical exploration of moral complexities, has become a literary sensation since its publication in August. Janet Maslin in The New York Times called that novel, "The Known World" (Amistad/HarperCollins), stunning. Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post hailed it as the best new American fiction to cross his desk in years.

· As a drowning man might view a lifeline [NY Times]

Show Me A Real Man...
Philip Marchand thinks that the world of Canadian literature could do with a good, healthy shot of testosterone. I don't know if there is any wider significance to this year's rash of novels populated by feminized or ineffectual men. There has always been this tendency in Canadian literature, particularly French Canadian literature, but it has never seemed so blatant as now. Regardless of the cause, Marchand finds himself pining for the strong male characters of Mordecai Richler, or at least the suave calm of Robertson Davies' men.
· Show v Tell [Toronto Star 10/18/03]
· Show Me Real Journalists

Intellectuals Who Distrust Freedom

Vladimir Nabokov called attention to the West's ingrained distrust of emigres in a reproachful letter he sent to Edmund Wilson, the essayist who had extravagantly praised Lenin's regime, which may have had a hand in the assassination of Nabokov's father in Berlin in 1922:
American commentators "saw us merely as villainous generals, oil magnates, and gaunt ladies with lorgnettes" who had only selfish and base motives for opposing Lenin. That stereotyping made their testimony unwelcome and unweighed, the great Russian novelist regretfully wrote to his future ex-friend.
Martin Amis quotes Nabokov's letter in his recent book, Koba the Dread, and then argues that the emigres were very broadly the intelligentsia. They were the civil society, which was crushed and forced into exile by the professional revolutionaries of Bolshevism, who were perversely lionized by many in the chattering classes in the West.
Merciless toward the failings of the democracies but ready to tolerate the worst crimes as long as they are committed in the name of the proper doctrines.

· They have survived even the end of the Cold War [WashingtonPost ]
· Proust's Madeleine: waves of memory of Soviet times past [LRB ]

Bush's crackdown on leakers is quickly leaked to reporters

President Bush told his top officials to stop the leaks to the media -- or else. News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately. There's a whole history of stupid escapades of trying to find out who leaked.
· Guarantees the story is going to just get bigger [Philly: Courtesy Romenesko]

> Blogging About Bessie
The quality of any weblog in journalism depends greatly on its fidelity to age old newsroom commandments (virtues) like check facts, check links, spell things correctly, be accurate, be timely, quote fairly. And as Roy Peter Clark says, if you’re telling a story and there’s a dog, get the name of the dog. Bessie!
· Uncertainty in uncertain times is an acceptable option. (Inaction, though, is not) [Tim Porter/First Draft]

Monday, October 20, 2003

Matchless in its Sydney Shell Sail Splendor, the Opera House is unrivalled as a Symbol: it is a threshold that presides over the old and the new world. The House of Sails is symbol of human ingenuity, technological genius, and touches the sailing dreams of every migrant in different ways.
That shell is more than a shell: it’s alive, it speaks to people. Some people come here to find themselves. Before the luminous shell icon wildness within Greiners, Lowys and Imrichs is one, a fragile one.
Happy Birthday to you! Creative & Unique SOH

Friday, October 17, 2003

the second soul of the unhappy- Goethe, the dream of those who wake- Matthew Prior, the thing with feathers that perches in the soul- Emily Dickinson, the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of man- Nietzsche

Ah. Uncle Franz. He always was too optimistic: Man proceeds in a Fog
The historical record is our great shared reservoir of human experience. Past episodes are amenable to systematic analysis and reflection exactly because they are past. We can concentrate on understanding, rather than on acting or reacting or refusing to act. And there is a further benefit.
The role of historians - who are scientists of the human - is to unscramble myths...

· Struggle of men against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting [SMH ]

I did not care about glory, or money, or fidely old age, because I was sure I was going to die very young, and in the street.

Band of Brothers
By this path we came to the enigma of The Count of Monte Cristo, which the three of them had carried over from previous discussions as a riddle for novelists: how did Alexandre Dumas manage to have a sailor who was innocent, ignorant, poor, and imprisoned without cause, escape an impenetrable fortress, transformed into the richest and most cultivated man of his time? The answer was that when Edmund Dantes entered the Chteau d'If he already had constructed inside him the Abbot Faria, who transmitted to him in prison the essence of his knowledge and revealed what he needed to know for his new life: the place where a fantastic treasure was hidden, and the way to escape.
Dumas constructed two different characters and then exchanged their destinies. So that when Dantes escaped he was already one character inside another, and all that was left of himself was his good swimmer's body

· Truth of my soul: having lived that life in order to tell it [Guardian: 1]
· Years of solitude: Kafkaesque riddles [Guardian: 2]
· Russian roulette and Fidel Castro [Guardian: 3]

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Face it, I'll never be rich: My surname is just loaded with Irony
Why do migrants still believe in the rags-to-riches fairy tale? In this final extract from his explosive new book, Michael Moore explains why the corporate bosses will never let the new world dream become a reality
· Less is Moore [The Guardian(UK)]

The First Draft of Mystery
Glenn was a good editor who prized a good read more than anything else about a story. That's what I liked about him. In this business editors are of two schools. Some like facts and cram them into a story until it is so overburdened that practically no one will read it to the end. And some like words and never let the facts get in the way.
· There are a lot of would-be novelists in newsrooms [Poynter ]

Pro Activism
Some people believe that social movements are fueled by misery—that communities only start standing up for themselves when things get really bad. It's an appealing thought in difficult times. However, fear is historically a lousy engine of solidarity. Progress and optimism go hand in hand. When people are hopeful about the future, they are inclined to demand positive change.
But if the misery theory is wrong, so is the belief that activism dies when the going gets tough. Few progressives doubt that the past two years have been the most politically trying in recent memory. Nevertheless, union members, globalization activists, immigrant rights advocates and anti-war groups have persevered. This fall, just when we need some good news, those of us concerned with social and economic justice can see a remarkable number of our efforts bear fruit.

· Fruits [TomPaine.com]

The first real political scandal of the Bush administration appears to have legs, to the discomfort of an unusually large number of people in Washington -- both in the White House and the press corps.
· Uneasy bedfellows: White House and journalists both under scrutiny [SFChronicle]

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

World's Largest Book Fair Opened a New Chapter for mmmwwwwaaa and James Cumes. The word at The 55th Frankfurt Book Fair was that the Cold River experienced the first thawing of the ice and the fair has initiated a steady stream of inquiries... Even Hollywood received a nod at the world's largest book fair in a special forum highlighting the symbiosis between the printed word and the movies. For the first time, a cinema at the book fair showed films and TV series based on popular books. Surrounding forums and discussions aimed to encourage exchanges between writers, publishers and filmmakers.

From its Inception, the Frankfurt Book Fair Symbolized the Freedom of the Word
Author Susan Sontag, 70, who is of Polish-Lithuanian Jewish descent, received the German book trade's prestigious Peace Prize on Oct. 12. Announcing the award in June, the prize jury cited her role as an intellectual ambassador between the United States and Europe and for her human rights activism.
Sontag is the fourth American to receive the prize in its 54-year history. Last year's winner was novelist Chinua Achebe of Nigeria. Past winners also include Octavio Paz and Hermann Hesse, both Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president and anticommunist dissident.
The Book Fair finished on Monday. According to James Cumes, attendance had been up 8 percent this year, with almost 300,000 coming through the gates in six days.

· A writer unafraid to speak the truth [Common Dreams]

Against all odds, Peter Finlay dances on the literary high wire...

Downward Cultural Spiral: Not bloody likely!
You may think that one of the ways in which you can test this book . . . is to ask yourselves the question . . . would you approve of your young sons, young daughters—because girls can read as well as boys—reading this book? Is it a book you would leave lying about your house? Is it a book you would even wish your wife and servants to read? The genie was well and truly out of the bottle, the supply had created a demand, and the appetite grew with feeding.
· Unflinching flirting with taboo [CityJournal ]
· Evaluating John Paul II's Papacy: A Czech View [EuroSavant ]

Slavic sentence structure
Five literary translators on the art of turning written Czech into readable English.
Artists in their own right, they face twin daunting challenges: interpreting, culture and sensibility into English of reading each book or poem in its original form.

· Channeling the voice and soul of the original author to re-create the experience [ PraguePost]

The dawn of public opinion
It's a struggle to understand what the weblog form is capable of doing.
· we-do-weblogs world [Tim Porter]

I am guilty of spending hours upon hours in the last seven days surfing the real waves from Moolloolaba (sic), Byron Bay and all the way to Cronulla, however it is great to read that the Web is making its timely mark. I planned to do some blogging, but somehow I have failed to deliver...

More Time Online Than Watching TV
A new survey by British research firm NOP http://www.nop.co.uk/ claims that for the first time the Internet has overtaken television in the amount of time that consumers spend with it. On average, according to the research, Internet users spend 3.5 hours a day on the Internet, and 2.8 hours watching television.
· Virtual Surfing [Guardian]

Monday, October 06, 2003

Literary political pit bull
The book party is a celebration of unfettered egotism. The author summons his friends, relatives, employees, students, underlings and sycophants. He plies them with cheap wine, then rises to say a few pseudo-humble words about this work of literature that he has conjured out of nothing but thin air and genius. Then everybody buys the book and lines up to wait for the author to anoint it with an autograph.
· Autograph [Washington ]

Praha: Tycho Brahe
The mother of cities does seem to nurse a grudge against her famous foreign sons - take Franz Kafka, who died of lingering tuberculosis at 40, and Rainer Maria Rilke, who died of leukemia at 51. But Brahe's bladder did not burst and Mozart was almost certainly not murdered.
· I am in the region of death [NthPosition ]

Sunday, October 05, 2003

A new story, a story which is really new and really a story, will give the person who reads or hears it the sense that the world has become alive again for him. I would put it like this: the world will start to breathe for him where before it had seemed as if made of ice or rock. And it is only in the arms of that which breathes that we can fall asleep, for only then are we confident that we will ourselves wake up again.
Gabriel Josipovici Goldberg: Variations, p. 3

Kafka, my Friend
Perhaps everyone who reads has a writer who is closer to them than any other. What is the cause of this proximity? No doubt one could give a psychological explanation of this apparent intimacy. Yet, beyond this useful analysis, and not despite it, this feeling of complicity has to with a secret bond, tie or alliance. I can still remember the day that I picked from the shelf in my local library my first book by Kafka.
· It was The Castle [In Writing]

Friday, October 03, 2003

The Axis of Literature Dead on arrival
Literary editors can't get enough of the 'killer preview' - which means every major new book is dead on arrival.
Not knowing what the rest of the world is thinking and writing is both dangerous and boring.

· Lost in Translation [Guardian ]

Do Book Reviews Matter?
Do book reviews matter one whit to anyone? Okay, maybe the author. But I believe we are at best traffic wardens. It's a free-for-all out there. I have seen books praised to the skies that have scarcely troubled the check-out clerks at Borders or Hatchards. I have watched books comprehensively ignored by The Observer, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph being lugged out of Waterstone's, Books etc, Ottakars and Menzies by the bagload.
· Bagload [The Observer (UK) 09/28/03viaPublisherLunch]
· Amazon's influence: Authors, artists court the online-retail giant [SeattleSource ]

A Reporter's Mission - and Its Occasional Price
Four American journalists who died while covering the war in Iraq and another who was slain in Pakistan were honored today in a ceremony on a Civil War battlefield in Maryland - Michael Kelly of the Atlantic, Elizabeth Neuffer of the Boston Globe, David Bloom of NBC, Mark Fineman of the Los Angeles Times and Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal.
In their deaths, Baltimore Sun writer David Folkenflik see journalism's larger purpose: At the heart of the work of those correspondents is the fundamental mission that should be common to all reporters: discerning the truth and then airing it, even when it might offend the sensibilities of the powerful.

· Remember [Tim Porter (First and Last Draft)]
· Journalists::valuable components of the democratic process

Second Reading
Finally! After years of trying, I finally had a short article accepted by our denominational magazine. All my friends from church would see it. I would be praised for my efforts. The pastor would announce it from the pulpit, probably do a sermon on how wonderful a writer I was and what a perfect piece of writing it was.
Well, much to my disappointment it didn't work that way.
The Sunday after the magazine was mailed I arrived at church a few minutes early. I was expecting pats on the back, handshaking and praise.
One man stopped me in the narthex. "Saw your article," he said. That was it. No praises, no pats on the back. Nothing. Well, surely, the next person would say something wonderful.
There was no next person. No one! Not even the pastor remarked about my article. It had been on the first page of the publication. Surely, they had seen it. There had been lovely artwork with it and even a note about the "author."
It was a lesson. Non-writers have no idea, no inkling, not even a hint of how difficult it is to be accepted and published today. They take it all for granted.
Even family members don't understand the difficulty in writing a piece that hits the market. They have no idea of the sweat and blood and tears that go into writing an article that will be accepted, paid for and published.
It's a wonderful feeling to have work accepted. It's even more wonderful if someone will pay for something dreamed up in our own heads and there's nothing else out there exactly like it.
The need to be accepted is in many of us.
But why do we write? Those of us who write for Christian publications tell ourselves we're writing for the Lord. If you stop and think about it, the Lord doesn't really "need" us. After all, He created the universe without us; I think He can carry on pretty much alone.
There is also the feeling in many of us writers, that if we don't write we'll cease to exist. Then what? Could the world keep turning without us?
But my article was not in vain. I received a couple telephone calls from old family friends. They said the article was beautiful. That's all I needed to hear. I was accepted!
It's difficult being human. It's even more difficult to admit we're human and all our frailties that come along with it.
When I began writing I took all the rejections personally. After a while I managed to cross that barrier and realize it wasn't because the editors didn't like me. After all, they didn't know me.
I've learned another lesson. Praises come few and far between. From now on, when I have an article or story accepted, published and receive a nice check, I'll be thankful. I will not expect praises for my work. Satisfaction comes from knowing I did my best.
I won't be a disappointed writer. I'll be a thankful writer. I have been accepted.

· Disappointed Writer? [AbsoluteWrite ]

Coetzee Wins Nobel
Once again snubbing the winless Dutch, the Nobel Prize for Literature has gone to South African J.M. Coetzee, published in the U.S. by Viking Penguin. The Swedish Academy characterizes the two-time Booker winner as a writer who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider.
· The man of the Hour, and the Year [Saloon]

Edward Said - Outsider
Edward Said inspired admiration, even if you disagreed with his politics. He lived in the world as an exile, a condition from which he drew strength. Exile, as a metaphorical state, was something we all should aspire to, Said contended, since it gives one an outsider's perspective on the world. He was a theoretician who hated theory because he loved people. A true public intellectual, he would say, possesses not just access to the media but a public (constituency would be his term) to which he or she is accountable. Ground yourself in the world.
· Exile [Village Voice 10/01/03]

The Web's Hot Type
Publishers are waking up to the promotional possibilities of the internet. Creating promos like this sends a message to an author that you're doing exciting, creative, new things to market their books. It also sends a message to a wider, younger, new web- and design-literate audience that these books are being addressed to them in their language.
· Market [The Guardian (UK) 10/01/03 ]
· Trails [Kokodatrail.com ]

Surf, Swim, Look Inside This
While we all wait to see when Amazon launches their new system of searching inside thousands of books, eBooks.com has announced that they are now offering fast, relevant searches across every word in every title from the 25,000 titles they carry.
· Surfing eRivers [eBooks.com ]

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Watercooler for media professionals
Charles Pierce, from the letters page of Romenesko's MediaNews (which, if you've never been, is pretty much the watercooler for media professionals) on Ann Coulter:
I do share her enthusiasm for Internet journalism; after all, it was the work done by heroic bloggers too numerous to mention that first exposed her entire oeuvre for the 50-pounds-of-b.s.-in-a-ten-pound bag that it is, while the mainstream media still reviews her periodic spasms of typing as though they were, well, books or something. As for her defining "What Is An American?" -- let's just say it's like asking a dog to define a hydrant and leave it at that.
· Nota Bene [LiveJournal ]

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Kushner: Of Art And Politics
Playwright Tony Kushner on the responsibility of artists in challenging time: You can't find any important work of American art, in theater or anywhere else, that doesn't have a very powerful political dimension. [But] whatever you do with your day job—and writing plays is what I do—is no replacement for activism, which is a necessary part of being a citizen in a democracy.
· Axis of Optimism [Seattle Weekly 09/24/03]
· Why is consumer power a myth? Here are three reasons [CommonDreams]

Subversive Reading
The old stereotype of librarians as meek maidens whose only passion is for the Dewey Decimal System is now being shattered for good, replaced by a new image of librarians as feisty fighters for freedom.
· Wisdom [NYTimes ]
· Future [Nature ]