Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Autumn of Patreon, episode 1 – Writing on Demand

As I think I mentioned – or I should have mentioned – I’ll devote this autumn to the development and growth of my Patreon. I want more patrons, and I want happier patrons.
So I am announcing a number of new perks for those brave souls that decide to gamble a few bucks on me and my writing, and show small glimpses of things to come.
The World of Tomorrow, if you will…

For instance,

You Outline It, I Write It (a.k.a. YOIIWI)

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Always look at mishaps as if they were opportunities

First day with the new Operating System, and while I am well pleased with Linux Mint, I am still unable to run Scrivener, and this means 90% of my work-in-progress is out of reach. All the files are safe and nicely backed up, but I can’t read them, and I can’t work on them.

But this provides me with an opportunity – there’s two stories I have in Word format, one I was editing and the other I was translating and re-writing. These are the only ones I can work on at the moment, so I’ll stop procrastinating and I’ll finish the work straight away.
Because working on multiple projects at the same time provides us with a fantastic opportunity for procrastination – I’ll work one hour on this one, then OK, maybe I’ll move to something else. Then wait, this idea would work great with that story… let me take a break while I think about it.
It can be a huge waste of time, and we need to exercise a terrible discipline, or we’ll get lost in too many projects, too many ideas, to many wastes of time.
Discipline.
Or a software mishap that leaves you with very limited options.

So today I’ll nail closed the revision of The Queen of Spades, a tarot-based story for a forthcoming Italian anthology.
I think I’m going to add a 250/500-words, high action scene.
Boy, will the editor be pleased with this surprise!


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Goodbye Ubuntu, welcome Mint

And so this morning my PC refused to start. It took about half an hour to get it going with an emergency disk, and it turned out my Ubuntu system was completely crippled.
It was possible to save the data, but everything else was gone – time to re-install the operating system.

Now, this is not a tragedy, actually, it’s more of an opportunity – I have been postponing the necessary updates to my OS for weeks now, and really, had I waited for the right moment – a free afternoon, no urgent work to do, no pending projects, I would have never done it.
But necessity pushes everything out of the way – I need my PC to work.

And this is also a great opportunity to move away from Ubuntu, that I love dearly but has become bloated and slow, and to try a different distro of Linux, to wit, Linux Mint.

And here I am, six hours later, exploring this different-but-familiar environment. Everything seems to work fine, my PC is faster and so far the only problem is getting Scrivener to work properly.
But I’ll work on it.
A minor catastrophe turned into a nice opportunity.


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Going Stoic

Considering the poor state of affairs of the planet, of the nation in which I live, of the village in which I am stuck and of my general situation, it feels like a good idea to learn more about this Stoicism thing.

For this reason, I have just enrolled in the 2019 Stoic Week, a free online course and workshop that next month will help a few thousand people try their hand at the Stoic approach to living.
This year’s theme is Care for Ourselves, Others and our World, and sounds like the sort of thing that might become important in the future.

The 2019 Stoic Week will run from the 7th to the 13th October.
Perfect timing, considering the following week I plan to visit the local Oktoberfest with my brother and a few friends – first Stoic, then Epicurean.
This ancient philosophy thing is a lot funnier than it was in high school.


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Something light: Surprise Package, 1960

I was ten or twelve years old, and I was in bed with a bad case of the flu, and I caught half a movie on the TV one morning – on the old family Zenith black and white television. It was the end of the ’70s – 1977 or 1979. I watched it – there was Yul Brynner in it, and Yul Brynner was the guy from Magnificent 7 and Westworld, and that movie about the Czar’s daughter my mother liked. Yul Brynner was cool.
Later that day, checking the TV listings, I learned the movie was called Surprise Package, and forty years on, last night, I finally watched it form the beginning.

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Gearing up for some new things

The next thirty days (give or take a handful of days) are going to be the hardest for me in the last three years. I say this without any particular emotion – if there’s one thing I’ve learned in these three years as I managed to make a living writing, it’s how not to succumb to fear and anxiety.
The panic attacks are a thing of the past.
It’s gonna be hard, and I’ll get out of it at the other end, one way or another.

And I’ll be working a lot – I’ve stories to finish and deliver, a new book to get going, I’ve started writing the sequel to The Ministry of Thunder (more about that later), I need to take care of my health and I’ve decided to make my Patreon page grow. I’m also starting an experiment about which I’ll be writing here and elsewhere in the next days. I’m keeping busy – because that’s a good way to weather the hard times.
So I’ve spent a while today brushing up on the skills I’ll need to add a podcast to my Patreon page.

Well, two podcasts, actually – one in Italian and one in English, because my Patreon page is bilingual, and it’s good to be my patron, independently of what language you speak.
Double the work, but also double the fun.

The first in this new series of Podcasts (because the Karavancast is currently sleeping) will be online on the 30th of September because it happens to be the International Podcast Day, and it will be accessible to all my supporters.
I’m planning a guerrilla podcast, recorded on the go and in the open, with no scripts, minimal post-production and a length under 15 minutes.
I still need to find a suitable title, and a list of topics.
Suggestions are welcome.


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Writer

Yesterday it was Friday the 13th and there was a full moon, so I met a friend who’s a fine horror writer and we went for a bite and a long night talking.
Of course we would have done it even had it been Monday the 19th and a quarter moon, but the whole day/moon thing was a nice touch.
We were assigned table 13 in the diner where we stopped, and that did not escape our notice.

As it usually happens in these situations, we ended up talking shop, and the discussion turned to our professional designation. Writer, that is.

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