Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Seven Lives

I mentioned at the end of august how I was trying to do something in support of a cathouse in Lanzarote – because I like cats and because as a long-time Harry Flashman fan, I love the idea of telling people that I pay to help the ladies working in a cathouse.
Yes, I know, it’s juvenile, so sue me.

Cats with no name, by Robert McGinnis

Anyway, in the intervening weeks I realized that with my finances in shambles there is very little I can do for the cats and the ladies.
What to do?
The only thing I can do, in fact, is write.
And so I started writing.

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Maureen O’Hara’s Birthday

Yeah, I know, I said I’d take the weekend off and not post, but then, stuff keeps happening.
And today it’s the birthday of beautiful, spirited and talented Maureen O’Hara, Miss Technicolor herself, and one of the part-time muses of Karavansara as she is the one that coined the term Tits & Sand.

So tonight I think I’ll watch Sinbad the Sailor one more time.


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Barry Hughart, 1924-2019

I have just learned of the death, at the age of 95, of American writer Barry Hughart, whose Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox is easily one of the series of books that had the strongest impact on me as a reader, as a writer (for what I am worth) and as an individual.
Looking back, I can see the roots of a lot of my interests and passions to the first meeting with the wonderful strangeness of Bridge of Birds, the fist Chronicle of Master Li.

With its strange mixture of fantasy and history, its roots in folklore and legend, it sometimes science-fictional twists, and it humor, Bridge of Birds remains one of my favorite fantasies, and it’s the sort of thing I have in mind when I start writing a new story.
I’ll never be that good, but it’s all right – it’s good to aim high.

Barry Hughart interrupted his series after three novels, because he was displeased at the way his publisher was handling his work.
That was a terrible loss for all of us – a loss that Hughart death seals forever.
He will be sorely missed.


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Madama Lucrezia: a very small case of synchronicity

I was writing this morning. I am currently juggling writing and translating, and today is a morning writing/afternoon translating sort of day.
So I was writing this scene for the next 4 Against Darkness novella, and the characters are starting to explore the strange place where I placed them.

I wrote

“It was the sculpture of a young woman, her simple dress flowing, her hair in a tall do. The weather had erased her features, making her face a blank. A few fingers of her outstretched hands were missing.”

Myself – WIP

Not a great description, not a sample of superb writing, but after all, it’s a first draft.

At the same moment, my friend Dal – who is a fine artist and lives in Rome – was taking a walk around the ancient city after breakfast, enjoying the quiet and the sights, and took this photo…

… and he posted it on Facebook.
This is called Madama Lucrezia, and is apparently a minor but well beloved landmark in Rome. I never knew about it, of course.

Now this is quite a coincidence – the passage above and the photo happened within a few minutes one from the other.
And I’ll take it as a sign my story is going in the right way.
(I’ll obviously revise the description to make my statue more similar to miss Lucrezia in the final draft)


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Rutger Hauer, 1944-2019

I have just learned of the death, five days ago, of Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. He is famous for portraying the character of Roy Batty in Blade Runner and Etienne Navarre in Ladyhawke, but is also remembered for classics like Soldier of Orange, The Osterman Weekend, The Blood of Heroes, Flesh + Blood and The Hitcher.
A former combat medic with the Dutch Army, he had founded the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, an AIDS awareness organization.
He was 75. He will be sorely missed.


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Walking back from the carnage

I was talking about walking and hiking with some friends, today. It all started with the fact that a newspaper published an article claiming “walking is for the middle aged, hiking is cool”.
As I never had a problem with being uncool, and indeed I was not cool back when not being cool was not considered cool yet, I accept my role as a walker, and said as much.
From there we went on talking about how walking (or hiking, if you’re cool) is an excellent way for coping with trauma.
I walked miles and miles after my mother’s death, and after my father.
I find walking a good solution to recharge my batteries, and react to those periodic bouts of depression that sometimes come.

And there’s science behind it!

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