East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


One short story in one afternoon

Today I am writing a short story.
Big news, you say. Sue me.
A stand-alone one shot, that still has ties with stuff I did in the past. I’m improvising most of it, but I still have a general outline of sorts for the first half. It’s going to be in the 5000/6000 words range.
The plan is to hammer out a first draft, have dinner, and then clean it up. Then I’ll mail it off to the editor, and hope he likes it enough to buy it.
Otherwise, I’ll look for another market.

These days are particularly stressful for a number of motives, and focusing completely on a short story, to be started and finished in one afternoon, is a good way to keep my mind frpm getting caught up in useless worries. There’s problems, and big problems, but problems on which I do not have any control. So, all I can do is wait and see, and face the music.
And try to keep sane.

Continue reading


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!

Continue reading


Turn off the socials? Or read a good book?

According to an article I read during the weekend, the best way to fend off depression and stress is to turn Facebook off for a week.
I more or less agree.
The last few weeks have been pretty heavy:
. lots of work to do to try and pay the bills
. lots of offices to visit and calls to make to settle the succession taxes and relative documents
. not many highlights on the human front

But I’ll leave my bureaucratic odyssey and the general fact that human beings tend to suck for another post (if ever), and concentrate on the overworked/underpaid situation, and the stress and depression thereof. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The just-off-the-roller-coaster effect

treThere’s this folk tale, which is quite popular.
It tells of writing as a toilsome activity, built on pain and suffering.
Putting words on the page, we are told, is soul-draining and cruel.
And yet, ah, what can a poor artist do, when his muse, or daemon, or whatchamacallit, pushes them forward mercilessly?

And of course this is just so much rubbish, of the kind usually used by posers trying to get a free pass by playing the always popular part of the tormented artist.

On the other hand, there is a bad side to writing.
And I don’t mean the aching hands and the bad hours, the meager returns and the leery attitude of those that have “a serious job” like, for instance, gerbil farming. Continue reading