Wednesday, January 20, 2016

All For Nothing: Right Way to Write About Crime of Passion

It is an old truth: inspiration requires absence rather than presence. Only when something is far away, or no longer exists, does it press upon the imagination and truly belong to the writer … not even the most elated of poems can wholly disguise the fact that it is a labour of mourning.
~ Kevin Hart on Absence (The Age, 28/11/92)

Since Clive James learned he had terminal leukemia, he's released six books, all reckoning with death. His latest is the most important... Crying on the banks of Cold River of Death 

Look up! ATM (Down Under) you can see all 5 bright planets together in the morning sky  @nightskymelb

Elsewhere, another celestial body has about 5000 times the mass of Pluto Read more here

US President Barack Obama has expressed immense gratitude for the strong and steadfast US-Australia alliance at the start of a meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Asked about the key to longevity, Mr Koide, who died this week in Japan at the age of 112, said: "The best thing to do is avoid overwork and live with joy."
It was not immediately clear who would succeed Mr Koide as the world's oldest male.
Currently, the world's oldest person is American Susannah Mushatt Jones who is 116 and was born on July 6, 1899, according to the Guinness World Records website.

It has often been said, with some exaggeration, that nobody who wins the Nobel Prize for Literature ever writes anything good again. (Kipling, 1907 Nobel Laureate, is an obvious exception).
Right way to write

What are your greatest regrets? Survey unearths heartbreaking answers Independent

Echoing Picasso’s proclamation that “to know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing,” Nietzsche considers the only true antidote to this existential dreariness:
No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!
In 1975 Media Dragon walked along the East side of Berlin Wall and later invaded Leipzig - a place of great dancing at Discos -- along the side of that wild girl Angela Merkel...

1985 was not a good year to live in The German Democratic Republic.  While the country was still in the grip of an oppressive communist government, the wealth and freedoms of the west were becoming ever more visible thanks to the population’s exposure to western radio and television.  Only the most loyal communists could continue the pretence that the government of Eric Honecker was leading the country to prosperity and economic equivalence with the west.  Citizens needed a rare type of party commitment to ask with any degree of sincerity, “why would you want more than three brands of shampoo in the shops?” when packages from the west contained unheard of bounty.
The Leipzig Affair is the story of Magda and Robert, two young people from both sides of the almost unbreachable political divide of West and East.

 She and I had been saying goodbye almost from the moment we met ...

How might you have felt then if you’d known what was to come? People talk now about reunification as though it were a victory.  They listen to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with tears in their eyes.  But the truth is that for people like you, the people who fought for democratic socialism in East Germany, it was a defeat.

Marek was smug, conceited, snide, bitchy and deceitful.  He was also charming, good-looking, insightful and far cleverer that I would ever be. . . . but mainly I didn’t like him because he was always there, lurking in the background – and sometimes it seemed, cavorting in the foreground.  I that paranoid little state, he had one rare quality  that inspired both admiration and envy: he appeared to be free.  He didn’t kowtow to anyone; he didn’t care what anybody thought.  It was a dangerous way to be, but he somehow got away with it. The Leipzig Affair
Simon Tolkien’s new book, Orders from Berlin, takes place in a London suffering from the Blitz, with Hitler’s forces massing on the French coast and preparations being made in London for what seems to be the inevitable German invasion.
The book opens at a briefing session in which Adolf Hitler is quizzing his commanders and generals about when to invade Britain.  We see the meeting thought the eyes of Hitler’s right hand man and head of the Gestapo, Richard Heydrich, who finds himself disgusted by the time-serving military men who in his eyes lack the necessary resolve to take action while the formidable British Navy still has command of the waters of the English Channel. Orders from Berlin

"... the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied,”  via Zadie Smith ten rules of writing

A new book by by Russian giant of literature Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) seems like a throwback to the 1960s and 70s when the Soviet Empire was threatening the world with nuclear holocaust and American politicians spent their days worrying about the spread of communism.   One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, Cancer Ward, the majestic Gulag Archipelago – all these titles were huge publishing events when they first came out, providing as they did a revelatory insight into daily life into the labour camps of the Soviet Union.  Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 leading to his deportation from Russia in 1974. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Getting Money out of China China Law Blog 

I never would have imagined that, in the very midst of a city as big as this, there could be a house enfolded in such silence. For weeks, of course, I’ve been having to put up with the sound of the men working outside, underground, digging, digging, digging. But that has almost finished now, and at night, after they have gone home, the silence descends. And that’s when my imagination takes over (it is only my imagination, I have to cling to that thought), and in the darkness and the silence, I’m starting to think that I can hear things: other noises – – –  I’ve not tried to write anything serious since my first year at Oxford, even though Laura, just before she left, told me that I should carry on with my writing, that she liked it, that she thought I had talent. Which meant so much, coming from her. It meant everything. Laura told me, as well, that it was very important to be organized when you write. That you should start at the beginning and tell everything in sequence.
From the centre of each table, a circular section was removed, like a little trap door, by hands at first invisible; and through each resulting aperture a man’s head appeared. Sixty different men’s heads, at sixty different tables. The rest of their bodies remained beneath the tables, hidden from view. A ripple of surprise and admiration went around the room. At table number 11, the head was crowned by a mop of red hair. The head swiveled around slowly through 360 degrees, and each of the twelve guests found themselves being stared at in turn by a pair of piercing green eyes framed by large, owl-like horn-rimmed spectacles. ‘Good evening,’ said the head. ‘My name is Dorian, and I will be you’re talking menu tonight. I will be here all evening, to tell you about the food, and to answer any food-related questions.  Charter 11
Analysis carried out by the World Bank claims the Trans-Pacific Partnership will boost Australia’s economy by just 0.7 per cent by the year 2030, reportsFairfax.

Literary Saloon fiction favorites from 2015

How to Cover the One Percent New York Review of Books “With 6 feet of soil?”

The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School is Boland’s memoir of his brief, harrowing tenure as a public-schoolteacher, and it’s riveting. There’s nothing dry or academic here. It’s tragedy and farce, an economic and societal indictment of a system that seems broken beyond repair Teacher recounts year of hell working at a new york city school