Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Imperfect Interview

So I was interviewed online, using Facebook, daring the horror of the nested comments and Mr Zuckerberg less than perfect notification system. It was fun, I was dutifully grilled by the attendees, and I hope we will do it again.

And now, for your entertainment, here’s a quick-and-dirty translation of what was asked, and what was answered.
Enjoy!

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A drop in the ocean

This is a good moment for me. I’ve got work to do, lots of it – 12 hours per day until September if I’m lucky, to cover all the contracts I signed.
My stories are selling reasonably well.
I even got an invitation to participate in an SF anthology with a number of other Italian writers, all of them much more popular than I am. I’m thinking about it.
My Patreon is growing, slowly but steadily (thank you guys!)
And there’s money in the bank.
Not a fortune, but enough to give me some breathing space, say two months without panic attacks and bill anxieties.

And in exactly one week I’ll be 52.
Well beyond the halfway point, sailing uncharted waters, but reasonably happy.

For this reason when the Facebook pop-up … well, popped up and suggested I do a fundraiser for my birthday, I thought, why not?
I can’t donate much, but I have a lot of contacts and friends and followers.
I can’t ask for money to any one of them – they already buy my books, support me on Patreon…
I can’t ask.

But there’s nothing wrong with dropping a rock in the pond, and see if the ripples cause some interesting effect.

My charity of choice is The Ocean Cleanup, a non profit organization developing new technologies to clean the oceans from the plastic waste we dropped in.

I chose this one because I am a failed oceanographer, I love sea stories and undersea mysteries, and I wrote a few stories in the past that deal with the sea.
And because the pollution of our oceans is a global concern that touches a global audience – and I have friends and contacts everywhere.

So, in the next two weeks I’ll try and raise 200 euros for The Ocean Cleanup.
A pretty small sum, you may say, and I agree.
A drop in the ocean.
But as that guy said, the ocean is made of drops, isn’t it?

I’ll keep you posted about the results.
Meanwhile, if you feel like, spread the word.


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It’s not depression, it’s just an overload of a-holes

Ever since I saw my father sink into depression and drag all of our family with him in his self-destructive attitude, I have blamed myself for not being able to catch the hints early on, and I have also started keeping my mind under observation.
Scared of losing it? You bet.

I have written in the past about the ups and downs of pursuing what could be described rather presumptuously as a creative career – be it writing, or teaching, or scientific research.
The condition of being constantly engaged, the mind constantly working on ideas, connections, developments, is in my opinion a big help in keeping dark mood at bay, but when it fails, it helps the dark moods to come on and do their thing.

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In the last few weeks, while battling with insomnia and other things, I noticed a curious thing: I’d be perfectly fine until sunfall, and then a sort of exhaustion would creep over me, stopping me from doing anything constructive.
Even reading a book becomes a fight, while a deep sense of unhappiness sets over my spirit.
It really got me scared. Continue reading


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Wisdom?

According to the Buddha, expectations lead to suffering… well, on the other hand, it’s sort of traditional, in the last days of the year, to review the days gone by, and to line up expectations and good intents for the days to come.

I did one of those Facebook online games that really have no meaning, and the result was, well… demanding.

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I mean… though decisions?
Again?

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Soundscapes

Back in the days before Facebook
Boy does that sound old!
But it’s true – there was a time when there were no social networks as such, and we roamed freely through the web, looking for new treasures, for people to meet, for information to trade.
Most of us ad websites, some were beginning to dabble with blogs.

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It was in that heroic time that I discovered The Quiet American.
No, not the Graham Green novel1

The Quiet American is a website – and the alias of the gentleman that maintains2 it.
The website hosts a huge collection of sounds. Continue reading


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Off with their heads!

457Today looks like I’ll be talking about social media.
Second post on the subject…
Fact is, starting… uhm, let’s say one month ago, maybe a little more, I decided to implement a stricter control over my online interactions.
And in particular over the space I am going to allow third parties to take on my blogs, profiles and all that…

What gave me the idea was the gentleman that started harassing me because he wanted me to admit I am a failure, based on his (wrong!) interpretation of what I had written on this blog.
Like I’m not a cheerful, optimist sort of guy!

And then all the rest.
I realize my patience is growing shorter by the day.
Must be the old age encroaching.

So, off with their heads! Continue reading