East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Wake me up when spring comes

The title of this post is what my brother told me this morning as he wrapped himself in a bunch of blankets and went back to sleep. We’re still waiting for the delivery of the LAN cable, so he’s been revising some work, but really can’t do anything. So he’s catching up on lost sleep.

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Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

Yes, like in the Neil Young song.
And this is one of those “funny” posts about living as a writer that should make me look human to potential readers and would-be Patrons.
Sure, just look at me…
So the big news this morning is we got a call from our internet service provider – they just updated the radio/sat grid we use for connecting to the web, and so we are now able to do stuff our old PCs can’t really do. But we are now in the 21st century as far as web connection is concerned: we’ve got the same transfer rates you get in, I don’t know, Seoul or Tokyo.
Which is good news, and only costs us an extra 5 bucks per bimester.

And once again I had to feel grateful for my friends, that two years ago gave me the radio/sat connection as a birthday gift – because when you are lost in Astigianistan, without the web you’re dead.

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Deep Map

prayryearthFor a number of reasons, too long to discuss here, I’ve been thinking about a book I read some twenty-odd years ago.
And for a change, I can’t find it in my boxes.
It is called PrairyErth (A Deep Map), and was written by William Least Heat-Moon.
I mentioned Heath-Moon in the past, because he is the author of Blue Highways, one of the best travel books I ever read – a book that actually caused me to start again reading travel books after a decade spent away from that genre.

Now, in retrospective, while at the time it left me perplexed (also due to the translation, I think) PrairyErth is sort of growing on me.
In particular I like the idea of deep map that’s at the core of the book. Continue reading

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Setting up a reading group

This might be the first post in a series…

Something’s moving, and I’ve been asked to set up a reading group.
The original idea was to have me do a writing workshop, but then it was judged too complicated, and therefore they fell back on a reading group I could set up for the local administration. For free, because there is no money for culture is the local mantra.
And despite my current dire financial straits, I thought, why not?

reading group

After all, I love books, I like talking about books, I like meeting people… as long as they provide me with a place to do it, it’s not a chore, for me, it’s fun.
And who knows, might be the start of something for which money can be found.

So, I put down a quick note about what you need to set up a reding club.
It’s a very bare-bones, personal recipe, something I improvised – based on my experience – to keep my contact hooked and try to actually get the thing on the road instead of just keep discussing the possibility. Continue reading

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Like Outer Mongolia

middleton-extremes-on-the-silk-roadIt took me a while (…) but I’m finally getting into Nick Middleton’s Extremes along the Silk Road.
I’m kicking myself for having waited so long, as the book is turning out to be a lot of fun, and filled with information and nicely-observed detail.

Middleton’s a good writer – to the point and amusing, very British in his approach to the idea of crossing the Gobi Desert as part of his exploration of the Silk Road.

And there’s a point where I had to stop and pause for a moment.

Early in his adventure, Middleton is spending some time as a guest in a local family’s ger, the round yurt typical of Mongolian nomads, and he observes how the daily routines and the lifestyle of these people has not changed in generations.

And I thought, well, neither has it changed hereabouts. Continue reading