East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Halloween in an old village

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It’s the 31st of October, early afternoon. I’ve just put the chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker, and acknowledged the fact that a story I had submitted in June was rejected. It’s OK. This month I submitted 13 stories, more than reaching my quota.
The sky is battle-cruiser grey, and there is a faint mist that will probably get thicker as the day progresses.

I am taking a couple of days off. There’s a story I should finish but I’ll never make it in time for the deadline. Pity.
The last few weeks have been complicated, and now that the worst part is over, I can slow down a bit and have some fun.

Fun to me these days means chiefly reading a good book, and I am currently enjoying very much Lawrence Block’s Sinner Man, the Hard Case Crime reprint of Block’s very first novel. The author revised it for publication, and it’s – as usual – a sharp and hard lesson on how to write.

The story is quite noir in plot and execution, and it paints a picture of a cynical, corrupt world, where everything has a price, and kicks are one of the basic motivations in everybody’s life.

But it’s the writing style, that’s truly amazing. Crisp and clear and incredibly economic, it’s perfectly suited to the subject.
I’ll need to read the book again, later, taking notes.
I first discovered Block through his writing books, and only later I tried his fiction, and he remains one of my favorite writers in any genre, and a model I know I’ll never be able to equal (but it’s worth trying anyway!)

There will be no trick-or-treating hereabouts.
The day will pass quietly. A good book, a good dinner.
The worst is over, tomorrow’s another day.
Take care out there!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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