Friday, March 14, 2014


“You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

From the movie THE THIRD MAN as spoken by Harry Lime (Orson Welles).

It’s grossly unfair to the Swiss—but it makes for marvelous movie dialog. The screenplay was written by famed author Graham Greene—but the ‘cuckoo clock’ piece was added by Orson Welles. In fact, the cuckoo clock is a German invention.

I have a weakness for the Swiss because I have been there many times,  enjoy the country, have been very well treated by the many Swiss I got to know, have had three Swiss lovers (all women, as it happens), and set a large part of my first book, GAMES OF THE HANGMAN, there. I also love both Zurich and Bern—particularly Bern—and have many Swiss friends.

And some are bears.

Do they have any characteristics in common—apart from being Swiss? Yes, they are all intelligent, well travelled, and a pleasure to be with—and all have a sense of humor. Some are creative (I love talent) and some are cops. Others span the gamut.

Cops—in my experience—make exceptionally good friends. Some abuse their power;others are corrupt; most do an exceptionally difficult and dangerous job well. The camaraderie of such people is a truly wonderful thing. Worth dying for. Many have.

ThirdManUSPoster.jpgApart from that, I respect the way they run their country. Their system is not perfect—but they do a great deal better than many nations—and their economic success is well deserved.

If I had had any sense, I would have married one of my Swiss girlfriends—a truly beautiful spirit—but that’s another story. By the time I realized how much I cared for her, she had married someone else. I called my younger daughter after her.

Throughout my life, I have had much more success with lovers—and some relationships were over decades—than my wives.

Actually, I have only only been married once—now I think of it. Will I ever get married again—and I’m including living together?

Well, I enjoy my independence, and am pretty self-contained—but recently a thoroughly delightful Christmas with some very special people has made me re-think. And I enjoy the company of women. I have the suspicion that they/you are brighter than us males.

But, I am deviating from the point.

The point is that I think the website looks interesting. Its proud boast is:

“Anyone can be a writer. You are welcome to share your history about your childhood, your parents, your friends, your country, your town, your love, your experiences, your experiments…Write what you want…

Communicate with the whole world and get interesting responses and feedbacks…”

I’d like to think that anyone can be a writer—but the truth is that all too many of us have a hard time turning thoughts into words. But, I’m all for anyone who wants to try.

Go for it. Writing is your soul speaking. It is beyond wonder.

By the way, THE THIRD MAN was set in Vienna, Austria. If you haven’t seen the movie, you haven’t lived.

Interestingly, part of Orson Welles’s early career was spent in Ireland. If I can paraphrase Julius Caesar—‘He came, he saw, and he conquered.’

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