East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


August the 15th – Ferragosto

51IfSECDQ2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I should be writing.
I should be outlining a new story for a possible publisher.
I should be designing a landing page for my stories of The Corsair.
I should be taking care of the vegetation overgrowing my front gate.

But today is August the 15th, Ferragosto, and the country is empty and silent, so I’ll be sitting here and reading, and recharging my batteries.

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Sam Shepard

I don’t know if I already wrote this here in the past, but anyway… when I was a kid in high school, most of my friends wanted to grow up to be like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
I did not care about that, and if a fly-boy was to be my model, I wanted to grow up to be like Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff.
Later, I discovered Shepard’s books, and was captured by his way of writing a tale, by his control of his prose, by his economic writing.
I was born too late to really have Steve McQueen or James Coburn as role models, but Sam Shepard was a fine replacement – he was tough but sensitive, straightforward but charming.
And he really could do anything: write, act, sing.


Sam Shepard passed away on the 30th of July, at thje age of 73.
But to me he will remain the sort of zen cowboy I wanted to be when I grew up.
I am still trying.


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Elsa Martinelli – 1935-2017

I just learned that Italian model and actress Elsa Martinelli passed away yesterday at the age of 82.
Most viewers will probably remember her in Howard Hawks’ African adventure Hatari!, the John Wayne movie written by Leigh Brackett.
She also appeared in a number of other movies, including The Tenth Victim (from a Sheckley story), The Indian Fighter with Kirk Douglas and in the French swashbuckler Le Capitain (mysteriously re-titled Captain Blood for international audiences).


Elsa Martinelli was so beautiful it hurt, and was one of my (too many) movie star crushes.
May she rest in peace.



Things readers do: the wonder box

download (2)Compulsive book-buying.
Are you familiar with the phenomenon?
Now, ever since I moved to the wild hills of Astigianistan, I drastically reduced my trips to the bookstore, but back when I was living in Turin, I was a regular fixture in a number of bookstores -a few of which have since shut down and been replaced by fashion franchise stores.
I’d go in for a look at the shelves, and usually get out with two or three paperbacks.
I am a very curious sort of person, so my book bag would include fantasy novels, mysteries, history and science essays, media essays and the classic “hey, look at this thing! I wonder what’s inside… wow, only five bucks!”

Amazon did just make excess buying easier, and ebooks made it cheaper and faster.
Thank goodness I’m broke and bankrupt, or I’d be still spending money on books.┬áBut on the other hand, now I get them from free promotions, and in bundles and discounts.
More books than I can read – and before I’m gone through this last bundle, there will be more accumulating!
So, here’s a thing I started doing back when I was in my first year of university. Continue reading


You’ll never make it

Today, on a friend’s Facebook profile, my friend Marina wrote a reply to my comment:

Anansi said “Anger gets shit done” but I guess spite is a great motivator too.

Yes it is.
The subject was those characters we often meet and have no compunction in telling us we’ll never make it. We can’t make it. Not worth the bother.
I’ve met people like this all my life.
Oh, mind you, I was pretty good at school – top marks in every subject but Maths.
But they told me I would not make it. Bad attitude, you see – reading strange books and not being “a good team player”. Continue reading