East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A quote for today

I’ve just read an interview with a popular writer in the self-help field. Her books sell like in cartloads, and she claims her success is due to the fact that the Universe sends her messages through car number plates.
Like, she’s walking down the street and sees a certain combination of letters and numbers on a car’s license plate, and its meaning flashes in her mind, and she knows she has to do something – or not to do something.

And, really, anything that floats your boat is fine.

I do not believe the Universe sends us anything – but I believe that sometimes we read or see or hear something that clicks with where our thoughts are going, with the place we are in in that moment, and it feels right.
And maybe it won’t save your life or make your business a success, but it might save you one hour, and that’s enough.
In the end, a license plate, the side of a pack of cornflakes or a holy book, as long as it works is fine with me.

Case in point, I just stumbled on a quote that saved me one skipped lunch and one whole afternoon of useless anger and frustration – that’s a big thing, given my current state of affairs.
The quote is as follows

“The passion for revenge should never blind you to the pragmatics of the situation. There are some people who are so blighted by their past, so warped by experience and the pull of that silken cord, that they never free themselves of the shadows that live in the time machine…
And if there is a kind thought due them, it may be found contained in the words of the late Gerald Kersh, who wrote:”… there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of something nailed down and in torment.”

― Harlan Ellison, The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective

Harlan Ellison said it, and it’s enough for me.
Now, lunch.


Falling forward

Things happen.
Yesterday my publisher let me know that the first Hope & Glory novelette is doing pretty badly.
There’s still five novelettes to go, on the other hand, and now I’m curious to see what will come down next.
But let’s be honest – it’snot the sort of thing a writer likes to hear.
In the meanwhile, The Guardian published a short piece, by an anonymous writer, called What I’m really thinking: the failed novelist.


Now I cannot and I will not make light about the obvious distress and pain that transpire from the Guardian piece.
I do not subscribe to the opinions presented and the choices made by the writer, but what the heck, I do respect those anyway, because, as the poet said

two things you should be slow to criticize
a mans choice of woman and his choice of work

Or their decision to quit that work, I add.
But there’s something I’d like to add… Continue reading


Ten lessons from swashbucklers and adventure movies

This post is part of the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon, a good opportunity to see movies in a different way, and learn something from them.
Soplease direct your browsers to the Speakeasy and the Silver Screenings blogs for a full list of the blogs involved and the various topics of this crash-course in learning stuff – for better or for worse – from movies.


And then check out what’s coming, because here on Karavansara we’ll discuss

Ten lessons from swashbucklers and adventure movies

What else would you expect? Continue reading

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“What I do is write stuff that I think is cool, which is what every good writer does. A hack will write what he thinks will sell. A good writer will write stuff that he thinks is cool, to the best of his ability. There are a lot of things I think are cool. And cloaks and swords — rapiers in particular — are definitely on the list. That doesn’t mean every book has them, but that’s what I gravitate toward.” [Steven Brust]

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The time spent logging in on Facebook (or Tweeting, or posting on your blog), to tell the world “Today I wrote 3000 words”, would be best spent writing another 1000.
Nobody gives a damn about how many words you churn out by the hour, but those that will never read you anyway.