Monday, December 6, 2010


Take Pride Spokesman Clint EastwoodImage via Wikipedia
It's amazing who one can find on the front covers
of one's books.
Clint Eastwood made one of the Russian editions.

Department of Inadequate Brainpower
It’s interesting to write against one’s own strengths. I have spent much of my life trying to develop the skills required to write what used to be known as Big Thrillers (satisfying reads of over 400 pages in length – perhaps 150,000 words) and now I’m battling to write short pieces of perhaps 500 words in length.

My brain is creaking at the strain.  

I seem to be able to do it though I’m still too slow. However, my respect for the masters of the art of blogging grows by the day. My favorites are Jim Fallows' blog in The Atlantic Monthly and The Big Picture which is awesomely good.  

Ministry of Culture & Movie Stars
On Saturday, I attended a highly enjoyable dinner party but didn’t get to bed until 3.00 am. Among those attending were a delightful pair of Bulgarians, a physicist and chemist respectively, who are effortlessly familiar with half a dozen languages, have travelled much of the world, and manage to personify both the strengths of European culture and the American Dream; and are charming into the bargain.

As if to rub salt into my sense of inferiority – I only have school French and speak virtually no Irish – Stan, the physicist, had read one of my books, GAMES OF THE HANGMAN, in both Bulgarian and English.

The whole experience was a reminder to think more globally.

It’s fun being translated into foreign languages but mildly frustrating when one is unable to read the translation to see how faithful the translator was. According to Stan, my Bulgarian counterpart did an impeccable job so now I am minded to track him down.

The Russians put Clint Eastwood on one of my covers. I’m far from sure they asked him first.

Anyway, now you know why the post I wrote yesterday that was destined for my TITANIC NATION blog – the site devoted primarily to U.S. economic issues – ended up on this blog. It had to do with what I shall discretely call “a heavy head.”

But the evening was a great success.

I am reminded that one of the attributes of being a cultured human being is having a reasonable working knowledge of the world, and, in particular, the nations that one’s friends come from; and the fact that I know remarkably about Bulgaria.

Time to remedy that situation.

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