East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Sam Shepard

I don’t know if I already wrote this here in the past, but anyway… when I was a kid in high school, most of my friends wanted to grow up to be like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
I did not care about that, and if a fly-boy was to be my model, I wanted to grow up to be like Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff.
Later, I discovered Shepard’s books, and was captured by his way of writing a tale, by his control of his prose, by his economic writing.
I was born too late to really have Steve McQueen or James Coburn as role models, but Sam Shepard was a fine replacement – he was tough but sensitive, straightforward but charming.
And he really could do anything: write, act, sing.


Sam Shepard passed away on the 30th of July, at thje age of 73.
But to me he will remain the sort of zen cowboy I wanted to be when I grew up.
I am still trying.


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Ten books meme – multiple reading edition

OK, there’s this meme going, about the Ten Books of Your Life.
Like there was only ten books that important in my life.
And I was talking about this with my friend Claire – and she’s doing two lists of ten books, because she knows.
And as we chatted about it I thought I can’t actually set down a list of ten books that are all-important – because I can’t decide what they are important for.

But I can do set down a list of ten books I re-read regularly.
Because sometimes I do re-read some of those books. Continue reading


Short stories

dahlIn this weird summer that alternates suffocating humidity with cold showers, I have a craving for short stories.
Don’t ask me why.
Maybe it’s because I can start and finish a story in a single sitting, even after a long day spent writing, or translating, or doing stuff; it engages my brain at the right level, without being too demanding on my time, or eyesight.
Or maybe it’s because in the last few years I’ve been writing mostly short stories and I am curious about what the great ones did.
I’m trying to steal their secrets.

So, I went through John D. MacDonald‘s The Good Old Stuff, and right now I’m going through the Everyman edition of Roald Dahl’s Collected Stories.
Afterwards I’ll probably go through Muse and Reverie, by Charles de Lint.
And then some Sam Shepard.
As I said, I’m craving short fiction, and studying with the best. Continue reading