East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Overthinking it

There’s an old Taoist saying that goes “Do not judge other people’s mistakes, but learn from them” (or maybe there isn’t, but I’m sure as hell there should be). Or maybe I am overthinking this whole business, but… OK, it goes like this.

It happens sometimes that I catch myself, when choosing, say, a book to read, or a movie to watch, or a comic book… it happens that I find myself weighing alternatives like this

  • book/movie/comic A looks like fun
  • but book/movie/comic B looks just as fun, and might provide matter for a post on Karavansara

And there’s nothing wrong with that, really – because often it is not a matter of chosing one and losing the other. I can read/watch B tonight and A over the weekend, or something. So, why not look for blog-fodder?

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On the first long walk of 2019

Today has been a good day. Nice weather, sunny with a light breeze, and we spent the day with a visiting relation that surprised us. And I mean surprised us as in “Oh, my good, our house is a dump!”
But we survived, and spent the day rambling about the countryside.

I have tons of work to do, actually, and “wasting” a whole day completely screwed up my schedule – never mind it’s Sunday – but on the other hand it was not a day wasted. It was a day spent to clear our systems after a long winter spent locked up in our house, trying to keep the cold away.
For us, this is the beginning of the best part of the year, before the torrid summer months.

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I can’t see why…

Back when I was working on my Doctorate in Geology, I started dabbling in coding – I learned a bit of R and a bit of Python. I had got my BSc in Paleontology with a work that relied massively on data analysis, and afterwards I had taught Data Analysis for Natural Sciences, relying mostly on Excel and on third-party software. It seemed like the right time to learn to code and develop my own software.

The thing went nowhere (meaning, my R and Python coding skills never saw an application), and I was told quite often…

I can’t see why a geologist should need to learn coding.

Now, interestingly enough – for me, at least – I had already been told similar things a number of times in my past. Let’s see…

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Nothing to say

Today I have nothing to write about here on the blog. I usually try and do at least one post per day, both as a good practice to keep the readers engaged, and as a form of self-discipline – because you see, I am a writer, and so I must keep the writing thing going. But today… what could I write about?

In fact there’s a few things on my mind.

There’s this beautiful book I’m reading, for instance. The sort of book that makes you go, ah, I’ll never be able to write something like this!

There’s the fact that I’d like to tackle the issue of working on a story featuring soldiers, and yet not being a “militarist”, and how labeling based on prejudice can be damaging for all parties involved.

There’s the strange matter of the Italian sword & sorcery fans suddenly veering to the right, and now claiming that “fantasy has its roots in our culture, not in the Britons'” (which is stupid, and ignorant – a word they have come to like a lot, the last).

And there’s this general sensation of hopelessness that comes with being snowed in in a village in which nobody talks to you, and for some strange accident of fate, you are supposed to sit here and invent whole worlds. And I still don’t know if it helps or not, this being totally isolated, when it comes to invent whole worlds.

So, with one thing and the other, today I will not write a post about anything.


Mixed blessing

Today I found out, thanks to a shot from a friend, that I am mentioned in a recent book published in Italy, about the national science fiction and fantasy scene. Suddenly, and unbeknownst to me, I have been placed on the map of the genre.

Apparently I’m good.
Well, good enough to be mentioned, and endowed with a fair amount of sense of wonder. I am also recognized an expert of fantasy literature.

A pity the paragraph in which I am mentioned opens with the word “Purtroppo” – “Alas”. The book mentions that I am good – just as many others – but we are stuck with small presses and digital publishing. Alas.

I am proud and grateful for the mention, of course, and there would be a lot to say on small presses and digital publishing, but not today. And I find ironic that this mention arrives just as I have stopped writing fiction in Italian.