Quote of the Day: “Taka ti e pisano”

The quote for today is not from Daoud’s novel. Instead, it’s from an article in the November/December Poets & Writers magazine. That issue focused on translation (Which, since most of the books self reads are translations, like the Daoud, like the Candide she just finished reading), which is a topic that fascinates her.

The quote above is from the Bulgarian, and it means “That’s what is written for you.”

The author of the article, Angela Rodel, asks herself, How did I become a translator of Bulgarian literature?

She begins her piece with a wonderful quote from Mexican writer and translator Reynol Vazquez:

There are many sophisticated ways of starving yourself to death and being a translator from Bulgarian is one of them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Thought for the Day: Live Reality Intensely

With every morning, joy reawakens within me.

— Msgr. Luigi Giussani, from Directions for the Journey to the Meaning of Reality

Conclusion: CANDIDE

“But, Reverend Father,” said Candide, “there is a horrible amount of evil on earth.”

“What does it matter,” said the dervish, “whether there is evil or good? When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt, is he bothered about whether the mice in the ship are comfortable or not?”

“Then what should we do?” said Pangloss.

“Hold your tongue,” said the dervish.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Candide, Chapter 27: Voyage to Constantinople

Candide muses aloud on his recent adventures in Venice to his phlegmatic traveling companion Martin:

“But,” said Candide, “that was a most implausible adventure we had in Venice. No one ever saw or heard of six dethroned Kings having supper together in an inn.”

“That is no more extraordinary,” said Martin, “than most of the things that have happened to us. It is very common for Kings to be dethroned; and as for the honor we had in having supper with them, it is a thing that does not deserve our attention. What does it matter whom you sup with, provided you make good cheer?”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: POETS & WRITERS July/Aug 2015

“The most important advice I have for authors looking to self-publish is this: People are incredibly unforgiving of authors, whether it’s a spelling mistake or a missing word. Many readers are likely to mention those mistakes in a review and be very critical. You’ve spent a great deal of time on your writing, so make sure the end result reflects your efforts.”

— Kim Bookless, publishing consultant/book editor

 

Today, Pondering Joan Didion

Mulling over a list of attitudes that can be considered “magical thinking.”

Remember the book that Joan Didion wrote, several years back, called The Year of Magical Thinking? Ying was reading it in the apartment in Tel Aviv when self visited her, just a few months before she succumbed, at 37, to leukemia. Ying told self it was a very good book.

Honestly, self does not know how Ying managed to read a book like that when she herself was struggling for her life. But that’s how Ying was. She was compassionate and loving, but also remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental. She was brave. The last thing Ying told self, shortly before she left Tel Aviv was, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

Today, self flipped open one of her journals and the first thing her eyes landed on was this list:

EXAMPLES OF MAGICAL THINKING:

  • My “stuff” will save me.
  • My writing will save me.
  • Being good will save me.
  • My degrees will save me.
  • My 260-thread-count bed linens will save me.
  • Other people will save me.

Denial is the most dangerous form of coping mechanism.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

2nd ROAD DOGS Quote of the Day

Self is liking this Elmore Leonard book more and more.

She had to force herself through the first 50 or so pages (in a book that is only 250 pages long, this is indeed a great trial).

But when the little guy Cundo Rey is released from prison, and he is mean to his wife Dawn, who Jack Foley just happens to be sleeping with, things get a lot more twisted and that is when self started to like it.

p. 158:

  • “Lou, when you’re young, you never think of making a mistake.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Elmore Leonard Quote of the Day: ROAD DOGS

More than half-a-dozen times, self thought of stopping reading this book. Because the tough-guy dialogue, believe it or not, is cliché.

But she has discovered brilliance!

pp. 129 – 130:

He had liked where he was 10 years ago, before the two falls. But then thought, No, you don’t go back, you go straight ahead. He was still the same person. Age had nothing to do with it; he was fine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Regarding Travel Writing (And Self Sincerely Enjoyed Teaching It Last Weekend)

This past weekend, self taught her second travel writing workshop at the Mendocino Art Center, where she also taught last year.

It was an exciting weekend, with participants writing about Grenada, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Nepal, the Dominican Republic, New York City (just to name a few).

Self does really love teaching this workshop.

How else would she learn that Vegemite tastes like “dirty socks” or that New Zealand’s national candy is something called a chocolate fish? How else would she learn about Pascal’s pineapple lumps (in New Zealand) or about “contracepting elephants” or about “wild game sausage” or that there are hop-on/hop-off buses in Uganda? Or about the delayed reaction time to sand fly bites? Or about Burmese sunblocks made from ground tree bark?

Anyhoo, she used the Best American Travel Writing anthologies for prompts. The 2013 edition was edited by Elizabeth Gilbert and here’s what she says about travel writing in her introduction:

  1. There is no story in the world so marvelous that it cannot be told boringly.
  2. There is no story in the world so boring that it cannot be told marvelously.

Isn’t that such a neat quote?

Self’s next class at the Mendocino Art Center is:

ONE STORY SIX WAYS

Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 6 -7, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Mendocino Art Center
Tuition: $200

To enroll online, go here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Stanford East Asian Studies

Self has never been to a Stanford Alumni Homecoming. Not one. Even though her house is only six miles from Stanford.

Today, to honor how her parents supported her through a masters in East Asian Studies, concentration in Chinese, she picks up one of her East Asian Studies textbooks: China’s Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture, by Charles O. Hucker.

p. 208:

The Buddha won converts in part because it is clear that his was an electric personality. But he also had a superb intellect, and his conception of the human condition was at once breathtakingly brilliant and utterly simple. Its essence is: There is no Brahma; there is no Atman. What keeps you in this world of illusion, propelling you from one life to the next, is no more than your own craving for existence and for self-ness. If you really want to get off the merry-go-round of endless suffering and rebirth, then realize you are on it only because you want to be. To get off, all you have to do is let go!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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