Friday, October 31, 2003


For some reason many of the eReaders of Cold River come from Scandinavian countries and cold parts of north Amerika. Strangely, my first page of my first chapter of my first book refers to snow and Christmas...
The "amazing wine" of the Finnish language
The snow arrived early in Helsinki this year, draping the city last weekend in the sort of shining blanket that turns every vista of neo-classical streets and wooded shorelines into a Christmas-card cliché.
...Tucked away in the folds of the ancient mountains that embrace the Kezmarok and Poprad valleys lay a royal town called Vrbov (a place with dual meanings: ‘willow’ and ‘boiling water’).
A weeping at times. But mostly happy little village of a few hundred souls with a robust sense of humour.
It gets dark early in December. The Vrbov definition of winter: streets are snowbound, the road is quiet, the mountain air is very, very cold. That day in 1957, Vrbov was gripped by mid winter night frostiness. It was two evenings before Christmas Eve.
· Readers of Cold River [Independent]

Criticise and Drown

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
-Herm Albright
The new politics: criticise and perish
The almost unfettered progression of ‘third way’ styled governance by both left and right worldwide creates a minefield for those who criticise policy or advocate against government in the pursuit of social justice. Traditional forms of social critique, says author and social researcher, Dr Clive Begg, find no home in the ‘third way’ as political parties gallop further to the right to gain power at the expense of traditional social democratic principles.
· Only Way: only power on the block [Brisbane Institute]

I feel like an Adoption

Joseph DiMento offers a good profile of Wood-at-Harvard in yesterday's issue of the Harvard Crimson, The Critical View:
Ironically, Wood thinks that less reading should be done in American universities. I feel that you’re reading too much. I’m generally in favor of reading a bit less and knowing it deeply.

Literary Land
The British Library is asking bibliophiles to adopt a book and save it for the nation.
· Adoption [Telegraph (UK)]
· Books without deaths and taxes [TownOnline]

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Books are back in fashion, thanks to Rowling's magic

JK Rowling accepted her 2003 Prince of Asturias Award (in Spain.)
It is given to someone who has helped the struggle against injustice, poverty, disease or ignorance, to opening new horizons of knowledge.
I certainly didn't set out to teach, or to preach, to children.
I wanted to depict the ambiguities of a society where bigotry, cruelty, hypocrisy and corruption are rife, the better to show how truly heroic it is, whatever your age, to fight a battle that can never be won.
And I also wanted to reflect the fact that life can be difficult and confusing between the ages of 11 and 17, even when armed with a wand.

Dissing Dissent

I am grateful to have become an American and to now belong to a country that has had an inspiring and enduring and true commitment to letting "a hundred flowers bloom," as Mao, hypocritically, once said. What has made the U.S. such a beacon to people like me is that it has always been principled, confident and strong enough to let its people debate and criticize government policies without suggesting that the critics are somehow less than patriotic.
When our government loses its tolerance for a full range of views on national and world affairs, it is veering toward the authoritarian world that speaks in one voice, the very political model it has so often stood against; even fought against. I hope I will never again have to live in such a world.

· In White House Actions, A Troubling Echo of Life in Communist China [LATimes ]


AmeriKa As Author Magnet: International authors find refuge in the U.S.
Attracted by freedom to write and a large literary marketplace.
That Argentine, or Australian, or Czech, or Slovak author you have bought a ticket to hear is probably flying in from his or her home in the United States — the world's most powerful author magnet. Not only does the place offer freedom to write, but it also offers an abundance of publishers, lots of creative writing programs where authors can find a day job, and a large literary marketplace.

· A day job [Toronto Star 10/26/03 ]

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


I have already suffered greatly at the hands of Craig and his capability to deliver with his tongue. And his quite amazing ability to turn simple into exaggerated and extravagant tales.
Folbigg Tragedy
During the decade that she killed her four children, Kathleen Folbigg filled her diaries with her deepest thoughts. Lee Glendinning has read them all.
· The diary of a mother incapable of love, and compelled to kill [SMHerald ]
· The diary of my old Communist mother County incapable of giving freedom, and compelled to kill [Corpse]

Black & White

Gary Jackson, of Mosman, wants us to employ our German experts to translate Schwarzenegger. As best as we can do it from dictionaries, Schwarzen means black, dirty, or deeply tanned, and egger is to harrow or plough. So black ploughman?
As a child I ran barefoot chasing geese along the Schwarz Creek.

· Even the Creek in Vrbov was tragically Black [SMH ]

Monday, October 27, 2003

River of Freedom

Land of the Free? After South Korea ...
Press freedom in Australia has taken a battering in the past 12 months, according to the latest world rankings published by the international media monitoring organisation, Reporters Without Borders.
Australia plummeted from 12th place in the 2002 index of press freedom, Czechs and Slovaks moved to 12th place this year, to 50th this year, behind New Zealand in 17th, Britain (27th), the United States (31st) and South Korea (49th).

· Media restrictions given a black mark [SMH ]

There's the dream, where you work hard, scale the corporate ladder, and make your bundle. Then there's that other, sexier fantasy of ditching it all for a labor of love...

The Power of Risk-Taking
To succeed as a writer, you must be willing to take risks.
· Tough Luck [Absolute Write]

Comrade in Arms

When Vladimir Putin was elected Russia's president in 2000 his previous career in the KGB lent him a sinister air.
· Book spooks Putin's spy image [SMH ]

Sunday, October 26, 2003


Speaking of blood donations, I am at the crossroads, so please email me with suggestions where the best, most social, points to give blood in central Sydney are. Somehow the Red Cross nurses appear to display great sense of humour, and some even rique acquired bohemian reading taste! Did you say legs, Neville? (I deny I corrupted Neville. However, Neville was a victim I created during the Red Cross drive two years ago for more blood. Somehow most lively friends and clayish enemies (out of 46 to be exact, I even asked Spanish Felix Monero, Dutch Pieter Keuning, Pommish Ernie Hall and convictish Robert Abel (no I did not ask Bruce Boland:*) I put on a spot in Brissie were not willing and more to the point were really not able to give blood.)
By the way, is any PHD student doing any research into how many politicians give blood regularly? I understand that Australia has more politicians per population than average, but the ratio of those pollies who give blood, especially after they get elected, is rather low. Are most pollies sick; scared of the needle; or just not prepared to be exposed to really rique sense of humour?
Patients given artificial blood
Doctors have for the first time successfully used artificial blood to treat patients.
The product is a powder which can be stored for years, say scientists at Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital.
It is made from donated supplies of real blood, which normally has a shelf-life of just 42 days.

· Blood supplies are stretched [Theirs BBC]


Multicultural Families: Time to retaliate?!

Australian Diaspora
Australia likes to think of itself as a place where people want to live but, increasingly, it is a place people like to leave. But not my Lauren, even the carrot of living in the center of Prague does not seem to make her to change her mind about being close to my sisters Eva and Lidka.
I know Czech language is not easy especially as Prague dialects include verbs and adjectives peppered by more surfixes and prefixes than bullets shot through Sydney Streets on any given day. However, it is my turn to retaliate as I had to live for almost four years close to sister of the one who must be obeyed in steamy Brissie (smile). Still, Brissie gave me an opportunity to study the Hanson phenomenon first hand.

On a sober note, is anyone out there aware of any great Australian swimming coaches contemplating a move to Prague? If you are please alert me via jozefimrich(at) ...My dream is that my girls might one day pick up some of the finer points of the Bohemian slangs.
· Expatriates have a world full of reasons for leaving [SMH ]

In case you missed the lighter Europeanews....
· Yes. Yes. Yes. Australians falling for Germans karaoke [Herald Sun]

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Political Diamond Quiz

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or a right. There is only an up or down: up to man's age-old dream -- the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
· Separation of Powers and a system of Checks and Balances [Friesian ]
· Advance produces some mixture of gains and losses, benefits and harms. [TechCentral ]

Friday, October 24, 2003

Gabriel García Márquez said Life is not what one has lived, but what one remembers and how one chooses to tell it.

I'm not Gabriel García Márquez or Agatha Christie. But I had a sister Aga once who hooked me on folklore stories, even folk dancing, as well as stories written by characters like Gabriel and Christie.
Aga like no one else I have ever known understood that life on this earth was a hard bastard. At 22 Aga had even trouble drawing breath. Breathing is painful when you are diagnosed with leukemia. The paradigm is the girl whose throat is filled with toxic elements and she is not even able to cry for help.
What story does one tell after you happen to say final goodbye to your 22 years old sister when you are barely 17? After such an experience escaping across the Iron Curtain is not such an impossible dream.
My ordinary story entitled Cold River takes many leaves from Agatha Christie’s novels. Deep inside me I seem to understand so well Burkean conservatism which was meaningfully expressed by Agatha: justice rarely comes from the state, but from civil society – a private detective, a clever old spinster. I admit I do not have the skills to reach as deep as Agatha. My writing does not do justice to my hows and whys feelings in those mysterious regions of my heart. What words and notions should be used to describe how it took ordinary boys to demolish one of the last great communist taboos: crossing the forbidden Iron Curtain.
Many readers know that in Christie and Burke’s worlds wisdom resides in the very old and the very ordinary. Thirst for truth and freedom is a dynamic force, and a dynamic force is a very dangerous thing.
In ‘Destination Unknown’, a communistic scientific community turns out to be a veil for a crazed megalomaniac.
Her protagonists stand, novel after novel, against those who seek to disrupt the natural order and interpret the world with a misleading ‘rationalism’. As one of her heroes explains, We’re humble-minded men. We don’t expect to save the world, only pick up one or two broken pieces and remove a spanner or two when it’s jamming up the works. Or, as another heroine asks, Isn’t muddle a better breeding ground for kindliness and individuality than a world order that’s imposed? There is a clear natural order it is only disrupted by greed, wickedness or misguided political ambition.
Like Agatha, I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life -- an encouraging email from a reader who almost deleted my story half way through the book, but now has read it three times...
Around one hundred publishers rejected my story, but I stood my ground. There are conspiracies that this blog is just a devious plan to double traffic on Double Dragon Publishing (as if dragons needed it :*). I thought I was simply linking soulful stories: at times, my email feels more like I dropped a hand grenade into a political hornet's nest.
· Work-in-Progress: Muddling through revisions [Saloon: Mr Michael Orthofer, Managing Editor, at The Complete Review ]


Madonna, whose last published work, Sex, involved explicit photographs, stream of consciousness pornography and rape fantasies, has followed it up with Moravian Memoirs

Glam Kid Lit - More About The Author
You need a lot of manure to get a decent crop of turnips theory.
Why are all these celebrities writing children's books? Everyone agreed there was lots of money and publicity to be made in kid lit. It was a time, after all, when a young British woman — who didn't have a famous name when she started — wrote a series of books about a boy named Harry and, legend has it, became richer than Madonna.
· And richer, even, than Jozef Imrich, Bohemian Blow-in [The New York Times 10/23/03 ]
· River of Change: Perhaps we are in a kind of literary Sargasso sea [Observer (UK) 10/19/03 ]

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Taxing Times

Sweet Reward: Tax Notes of Known World
He had never considered writing fiction full time before. Mr. Jones was the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories and the winner of a $50,000 literary prize, but he was also the son of an illiterate and impoverished mother. As a young man he lived briefly in a homeless shelter and learned to view a steady paycheck the same way that a drowning man might view a lifeline.
To think about being a writer was to think that I had the whole world, and I really didn't, and I knew I didn't," said Mr. Jones, 53, who spent nearly two decades proofreading and summarizing news items for Tax Notes, a trade magazine, before he was laid off in January 2002.
But he decided to dive into his first novel without much of a safety net. To his astonishment, his tale of a black slave owner, an aching and lyrical exploration of moral complexities, has become a literary sensation since its publication in August. Janet Maslin in The New York Times called that novel, "The Known World" (Amistad/HarperCollins), stunning. Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post hailed it as the best new American fiction to cross his desk in years.

· As a drowning man might view a lifeline [NY Times]

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Show Me A Real Man...

Philip Marchand thinks that the world of Canadian literature could do with a good, healthy shot of testosterone. I don't know if there is any wider significance to this year's rash of novels populated by feminized or ineffectual men. There has always been this tendency in Canadian literature, particularly French Canadian literature, but it has never seemed so blatant as now. Regardless of the cause, Marchand finds himself pining for the strong male characters of Mordecai Richler, or at least the suave calm of Robertson Davies' men.
· Show v Tell [Toronto Star 10/18/03]
· Show Me Real Journalists


Blogging About Bessie
The quality of any weblog in journalism depends greatly on its fidelity to age old newsroom commandments (virtues) like check facts, check links, spell things correctly, be accurate, be timely, quote fairly. And as Roy Peter Clark says, if you’re telling a story and there’s a dog, get the name of the dog. Bessie!
· Uncertainty in uncertain times is an acceptable option. (Inaction, though, is not) [Tim Porter/First Draft]


There are a lot of bloggers doing their finger-walking on these three stories

Repetition: Our Stories
Rebekah Amaya faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Grace Headlee, 4, and Gabriel Amaya, 5 months.
The coroner said both children drowned and determined the deaths were homicides.
Amaya, a registered nurse, was being returned to Lamar from a Colorado Springs hospital, where she was treated after she cut her wrists in the suicide attempt.

· Drowning 1 [Fox ]
· Drowning 2 [SMH ]
· Suicide [NYPost ]

Has this piece of writing come directly from one of the Czechoslovak Samizdat magazines circa 1977?! Is Australia ready for Democratic Republic?
Ordinary Person
I'm a pretty ordinary sort of person. I love my kids, work hard, like to spend time with friends with a bottle of wine and good music and hate being cold. I also hate injustice, cruelty and hypocrisy. And I certainly don't like being misled, misrepresented and manipulated.
It has become increasingly obvious to anyone that this is what has been happening over the past year, to me and to every other Australian in this wonderful sunny country. We have been implicated in one of the biggest scams of all time.

· Extraordinary Times [Webdiary: Sue Roffey]

Regulatory Control Freaks

Driving Dangerously
I am an occasional HOV violator, a rampant speeder and a firm believer in civil disobedience in the face of unreasonable laws. If pre-war Germany was inhabited by like-minded souls, World War II would have never happened.
· Faulksy Fascism? [AdventuresinBureaucracy ]

Monday, October 20, 2003

Matchless in its Sydney Shell Sail Splendor, the Opera House is unrivalled as a Symbol: it is a threshold that presides over the old and the new world. The House of Sails is symbol of human ingenuity, technological genius, and touches the sailing dreams of every migrant in different ways.
That shell is more than a shell: it’s alive, it speaks to people. Some people come here to find themselves. Before the luminous shell icon wildness within Greiners, Lowys and Imrichs is one, a fragile one.
Happy Birthday to you! Creative & Unique SOH

Sunday, October 19, 2003

For 19 years I've been so lucky to be with a ballerina who first kissed me under the lamp post at Circular Quay opposite the Opera House.
It seems symbolic, but we also got married on 20 October 1984, the year (of Orwell) Opera House celebrated its 11th birthday. 19 years is a long time to spend in any relationship, let alone a dangerously intimate one with Bohemian and Antipoedian mix. Every marriage, no matter how obscure and no matter how dynamic, has its own mesmorerising raw energy. How many times have we found our selves in deep water over small and not so small issues? One of the symptoms of an approaching marriage breakdown is the belief that ones ego is terribly important. It is fatal to fall for the ego game. Ours is a great friendship because we are both survivors of numerous personal tragedies. Lauren has had the dysfunctional yet priviledged teenagehood and Granville rail disaster nightmares to cope with and my life was invaded by totalitarian tragedy before even I could swear: Kommunist ****. As painful as our journey have been, our ability to see tragedy and suffering as a constant source of redemption is what makes our friendship to thrive.
Having our first daughter born exactly 9 months after the Velvet Revolutiont is, perhaps, one of the most remarkable illustrations of how hope can spring from the most appalling of tragedies.

Sydney Opera House celebrates 30th birthday
Boats crammed the harbour and people crowded the foreshores as the Queen opened the Sydney Opera House on October 20, 1973. Those who worked on and in that magical building share their memories of its first 30 years.
· Under Full Sail [ ABC]

Sentence after sentence that I agree with and couldn't have said better myself...

Don't let them get away with murder
The Penrith Panthers (Sydney Footbal team living in fibro houses had beaten cafe Latte Eastern Surburbs silvertails) didn't think winning was an impossible dream, despite the odds! I don't have much hope at the moment for a top-down commitment to values of honesty and humanity. Even Simon Crean seems prepared to give Bush a standing ovation. How can he? What sort of leadership is that?
If the politicians won't behave properly, the people must challenge them - again and again. They are not ethereal beings but fallible, the same as the rest of us.
Can we please be a democracy rather than just pretend we live in one? Can we please start talking together rather than behaving as if discussing politics or human values is the equivalent of parading dirty underwear? Our politicians are answerable to us. Put your head above the parapet. Write to them, demand answers, ask them how they justify their decisions, organise your own forum. Don't let them get away with murder.

· Don't let them get away with murder [Margo Kingston: SMH]

Friday, October 17, 2003

Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King

The Two-Income Trap: Going broke over Lattes
Today's two-income family has 75 percent more earnings, inflation adjusted, than their parents had a generation ago. The reason, of course, is because today's average family has two people in the workforce, instead of one. But this year, more children will live through their parents' bankruptcy than their parents' divorce.
What they discovered shocked even themselves: the effort to keep the kids in a good school district when one parent is laid-off is the main factor driving Americans into bankruptcy court, not all those trips to the Niketown store.

· Foreclosures: Silent Shame [Salon ]
· Wealthy bosses have good reason to worry [SMH ]


the second soul of the unhappy- Goethe, the dream of those who wake- Matthew Prior, the thing with feathers that perches in the soul- Emily Dickinson, the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of man- Nietzsche

Ah. Uncle Franz. He always was too optimistic: Man proceeds in a Fog
The historical record is our great shared reservoir of human experience. Past episodes are amenable to systematic analysis and reflection exactly because they are past. We can concentrate on understanding, rather than on acting or reacting or refusing to act. And there is a further benefit.
The role of historians - who are scientists of the human - is to unscramble myths...

· Struggle of men against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting [SMH ]

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Pro Activism

Some people believe that social movements are fueled by misery—that communities only start standing up for themselves when things get really bad. It's an appealing thought in difficult times. However, fear is historically a lousy engine of solidarity. Progress and optimism go hand in hand. When people are hopeful about the future, they are inclined to demand positive change.
But if the misery theory is wrong, so is the belief that activism dies when the going gets tough. Few progressives doubt that the past two years have been the most politically trying in recent memory. Nevertheless, union members, globalization activists, immigrant rights advocates and anti-war groups have persevered. This fall, just when we need some good news, those of us concerned with social and economic justice can see a remarkable number of our efforts bear fruit.

· Fruits []

Uneasy bedfellows

Somewhere, Orwell's ghost is smiling grimly
Almost all of the bureaucrats at the information ministry have done very nicely for themselves since the war. The government minders who spent their days reporting to the intelligence services on foreign reporters or doing their best to obstruct their work have gone on to well-paid jobs - for the same foreign news organisations they once hounded.
The second-in-command at the information ministry, who spent his days reading the reports the minders wrote about visiting foreign journalists, has been employed by Fox News.

· Irony [Guardian(UK) ]
· Let he who is without Spin... [The Age]

The Plame affair gets to the dilemma of how journalism is practiced in Washington
T he first real political scandal of the Bush administration appears to have legs, to the discomfort of an unusually large number of people in Washington -- both in the White House and the press corps.
· Uneasy bedfellows: White House and journalists both under scrutiny [SFChronicle]

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

World's Largest Book Fair Opened a New Chapter for mmmwwwwaaa and James Cumes. The word at The 55th Frankfurt Book Fair was that the Cold River experienced the first thawing of the ice and the fair has initiated a steady stream of inquiries... Even Hollywood received a nod at the world's largest book fair in a special forum highlighting the symbiosis between the printed word and the movies. For the first time, a cinema at the book fair showed films and TV series based on popular books. Surrounding forums and discussions aimed to encourage exchanges between writers, publishers and filmmakers.

From its Inception, the Frankfurt Book Fair Symbolized the Freedom of the Word
Author Susan Sontag, 70, who is of Polish-Lithuanian Jewish descent, received the German book trade's prestigious Peace Prize on Oct. 12. Announcing the award in June, the prize jury cited her role as an intellectual ambassador between the United States and Europe and for her human rights activism.
Sontag is the fourth American to receive the prize in its 54-year history. Last year's winner was novelist Chinua Achebe of Nigeria. Past winners also include Octavio Paz and Hermann Hesse, both Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president and anticommunist dissident.
The Book Fair finished on Monday. According to James Cumes, attendance had been up 8 percent this year, with almost 300,000 coming through the gates in six days.

· A writer unafraid to speak the truth [Common Dreams]

Vaclav Havel The Soul of a Nation
Just recently friends of mine sent me a couple of photographs of Aung San Suu Kyi. The nonviolent struggle of this woman for her fellow citizens' freedom dwells in my soul as a stark reminder of our struggles against totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe.
Thousands of human lives have been destroyed, scores of gifted people have been exiled or incarcerated and deep mistrust has been sown among the various ethnic groups. Human society is, however, a mysterious creature, and it serves no good to trust its public face at any one moment. Thousands of people welcomed Suu Kyi on her tours, proving that the Burmese nation is neither subjugated nor pessimistic and faithless. Hidden beneath the mask of apathy, there is an unsuspected energy and a great human, moral and spiritual charge. Detaining and repressing people cannot change the soul of a nation. It may dampen it and disguise the reality outwardly, but history has repeatedly taught us the lesson that change often arrives unexpectedly.

· To talk about change is not enough, change must happen [WashingtonPost ]

Slavic sentence structure

Five literary translators on the art of turning written Czech into readable English.
Artists in their own right, they face twin daunting challenges: interpreting, culture and sensibility into English of reading each book or poem in its original form.

· Channeling the voice and soul of the original author to re-create the experience [ PraguePost]


I am guilty of spending hours upon hours in the last seven days surfing the real waves from Moolloolaba, Byron Bay and all the way to Cronulla, however it is great to read that the Web is making its timely mark. I planned to do some blogging, but somehow I have failed to deliver...

More Time Online Than Watching TV
A new survey by British research firm NOP claims that for the first time the Internet has overtaken television in the amount of time that consumers spend with it. On average, according to the research, Internet users spend 3.5 hours a day on the Internet, and 2.8 hours watching television.
· Virtual Surfing [Guardian]

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


A nation's heart beating as one
The lumps in Australian throats were too big for Waltzing Matilda. The hearts were too busy beating their own sad rhythm, like muffled drums.
· Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter [SMH]

Reporting over Silence
Andrew Cline, a former reporter turned academic who regularly polices the intersection of journalism and politics, says journalists are constantly bamboozled by slick-talking politicos because they fail to see through the rhetoric.
Journalists could report persuasive tactics as verifiable events if they knew how. Instead, they rely on partisan pundits to tell them what it all means. And the result is their reporting does more to transmit propaganda than to interrupt or challenge it.

· Structural biases of journalism [Tim Porter/FirstDraft]

Monday, October 06, 2003

Praha: Tycho Brahe

The mother of cities does seem to nurse a grudge against her famous foreign sons - take Franz Kafka, who died of lingering tuberculosis at 40, and Rainer Maria Rilke, who died of leukemia at 51. But Brahe's bladder did not burst and Mozart was almost certainly not murdered.
· I am in the region of death [NthPosition ]

Sunday, October 05, 2003

'Tis & 'Tis

I was too willing to step into the Red Sea of publishing even before the waters had parted. While I realise that I might be still swimming against the literary tide, I receive some curious emails of late comparing my tale with some amazing storytellers...
I know about survival, but being read in the same breath as 'Tis is too much...

Without Virtual Oxygen Cold River would be Just A Dream!
A new story, a story which is really new and really a story, will give the person who reads or hears it the sense that the world has become alive again for him. I would put it like this: the world will start to breathe for him where before it had seemed as if made of ice or rock. And it is only in the arms of that which breathes that we can fall asleep, for only then are we confident that we will ourselves wake up again.
Gabriel Josipovici Goldberg: Variations, p. 3

Some of you may be familiar with the old saying, If you want something done right, get a dragon to do it. This is particularly true in matters of the mind, for it is in such areas we dragons excel. Yes, I’m a dragon; one of the two founders of Double Dragon Publishing. Until this issue, I’ve allowed humans to edit this newsletter, but I felt it was lacking a certain dragonly panache and so, I’ve decided to take over the job myself. Now let’s see if we can’t rectify a few things.
First, about Double Dragon Publishing. If you’ve longed for a different reading experience, if you’re looking for a good tale, a great read, something different from your typical run of the mill novel-- you’ve come to the right place. While all Double Dragon Books are written by humans, I can assure you, they’d do a dragon proud...

PS: The editing is still in progress so please keep sending me your ruthless observations...jozefimrich (at)

Kafka, my Friend

Perhaps everyone who reads has a writer who is closer to them than any other. What is the cause of this proximity? No doubt one could give a psychological explanation of this apparent intimacy. Yet, beyond this useful analysis, and not despite it, this feeling of complicity has to with a secret bond, tie or alliance. I can still remember the day that I picked from the shelf in my local library my first book by Kafka.
· It was The Castle [In Writing]

Friday, October 03, 2003


Second Reading: The need to be accepted is in many of us
Finally! After years of trying, I finally had a short article accepted by our denominational magazine. All my friends from church would see it. I would be praised for my efforts...
Well, much to my disappointment it didn't work that way.
Not even the pastor remarked about my article. It was a lesson. Non-writers have no idea, no inkling, not even a hint of how difficult it is to be accepted and published today. They take it all for granted.
Even family members don't understand the difficulty in writing a piece that hits the market. They have no idea of the sweat and blood and tears that go into writing an article that will be accepted, paid for and published.
It's a wonderful feeling to have work accepted. It's even more wonderful if someone will pay for something dreamed up in our own heads and there's nothing else out there exactly like it.
It's difficult being human. It's even more difficult to admit we're human and all our frailties that come along with it.

· Disappointed Writer? [AbsoluteVodka ]

Baltimore Sun writer David Folkenflik see writer's larger purpose: At the heart of the work of those correspondents is the fundamental mission that should be common to all reporters: discerning the truth and then airing it, even when it might offend the sensibilities of the powerful.
· Remember [Tim Porter (First and Last Draft)]
· Journalists::valuable components of the democratic process

Coetzee Wins Nobel

Once again snubbing the winless Dutch, the Nobel Prize for Literature has gone to South African J.M. Coetzee, published in the U.S. by Viking Penguin. The Swedish Academy characterizes the two-time Booker winner as a writer who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider.
· The Man of the Hour, and the Year [Saloon]

Edward Said - Outsider
Edward Said inspired admiration, even if you disagreed with his politics. He lived in the world as an exile, a condition from which he drew strength. Exile, as a metaphorical state, was something we all should aspire to, Said contended, since it gives one an outsider's perspective on the world. He was a theoretician who hated theory because he loved people. A true public intellectual, he would say, possesses not just access to the media but a public (constituency would be his term) to which he or she is accountable. Ground yourself in the world.
· Exile [Village Voice 10/01/03]

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Thinking through radical evil

Sometimes life goes to school with philosophy, sometimes philosophy goes to school with life.
The first thing one noticed about him was his accent. It, like him, was one of a kind. It was a mix of guttural German and the brogueish, Scottish English he picked up in Aberdeen. His speech was punctuated by Yiddishisms, Hebrew, Greek and Arabic. Since he learned most of his English reading P.G. Woodhouse, who wrote about aristocrats, he would often unconsciously insert a posh phrase such as Right-O, which sounded funny coming from such a man of the people.
In God's Presence in History, he proposed his 614th commandment, for Jews to follow: Never grant Hitler a posthumous victory. The Holocaust may be incomprehensible, but Jews could refuse to collude with the Hitlerian goal of ending their 4,000-year history.

· Dangers of Playing Indifferent [NationalPost ]