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Category Archives: My Life

Jacques che beveva, ovvero “Chopin è anche francese, non solo polacco”

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Bar piazza Verdi

Mia madre ci diceva sempre che Chopin si pronunciava Chhhopin, perché il cognome, diceva, era polacco.

Ψ

Incontravo Jaques, un francese ultraottantenne, signorile, alto e bello, scendendo dalla casa di un amico che abita nel quartiere dei Parioli.

Jacques era infelice e alcolizzato.

Uscivo sul fare della sera – era primavera, gli oleandri erano in fiore – e fatte poche centinaia di metri me lo trovavo seduto a un bar.

[Vedi sopra, ma ha cambiato nome, MoR]

Beveva solo o assieme a una tedesca della stessa età, i capelli composti e gli occhiali, anche lei alcolizzata.

Ora, Jacques, la pelle chiarissima e gli occhi cerulei, era un tipo straordinario.

Brigitte Bardot e Jean-Paul Belmondo

Ex giornalista di Paris Match, aveva conosciuto il jet set parigino al tempo di Yves Montand, Jean-Paul Belmondo e Brigitte Bardot. Insomma la bella vita francese degli anni ’50 ’60.

Ψ

Il padre di Jacques era americano.

Mi sedevo accanto lui e parlavamo francese. Quando c’era la tedesca (colta e simpatica come lui) parlavamo in inglese.

Mi sedevo e bevevo vino rosso con Jaques. La tedesca preferiva il gin.

La salute di Jaques peggiorava ma l’anno dopo c’era ancora. Tra me e il francese era nata un’amicizia bellissima.

 

"Je suis tombée amoureuse de lui quand j'ai vu " à bout de souffle" pour la premiére fois". Source

“Je suis tombée amoureuse de lui quand j’ai vu ” à bout de souffle” pour la premiére fois”. Source

La moglie, una scrittrice ungherese di una certa fama, lo chiamava al telefono quando gli ultimi tempi lo portavo al mare e ci sedevamo sulla spiaggia a nord di Roma a mangiare spaghetti alle vongole e vino bianco ghiacciato di Cerveteri.

Lui le rispondeva: “Dove sono? Sono qui al mare con Giovanni, a ‘ faire et refaire le monde’ “.

Chopin. Wikimedia. Click for credits

Frederic Chopin (Thanks Wikimedia!)

Gli dico una volta di Chopin, per caso, che credevo solo polacco. Mi dice con autoironia:

“E’ anche francese”
“Non è possibile, è polacco!”

Il giorno dopo lo rivedo con un grosso pacco. Beviamo il solito vino rosso con cui si uccideva piano piano.

“Dov’è la tedesca simpatica che amava Carducci?” “Non torna più” detto con indifferenza ma Jacques non era mai indifferente.

Scarta il pacco. Era un gigantesco Larousse. Lo apre e mi legge con orgoglio infantile:

“Chopin era figlio di padre francese e di madre polacca”

[O qualcosa del genere. L'autoironia di Jacques era fantastica, viveva l'orgoglio francese e ci rideva su, non è facile da spiegare]

Ci siamo quasi piegati sotto il tavolo dalle risate. Una delle più belle serate della mia vita.

Ψ

Un anno dopo – Jacques non sedeva più al bar da tempo – incrociai la moglie a Piazza Verdi, non lontano dal tavolino dove avevamo passato momenti indimenticabili.

Gli occhi della donna, intelligenti, profondi, mi espressero in un lampo verde un intensissimo, muto dolore.

Ψ

[PS. In the upcoming week I will try to translate this post to English and / or to French. On va voir.]

 

 

One post a week from today. We need Loisir for 3 goals: Chaconne, Goldberg Variations, Novel. Argh?

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Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness

MoR, before he croaks, has three happily looming tasks to carry out with exact deadlines:

1) Performing ‘as is’, plus improvising, J. S. Bach’s Chaconne on a guitar (here A. B. Michelangeli demonic version: )

Here our Neapolitan Walkiria Maria Tipo’s version (much more poetic, singing) :

2) Performing ‘as is’, plus improvising, all J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations on a guitar (here Hungary’s leading guitarist József Eötvös’ version: “the transcription of the century”: )

A piano keyboard. Click for credits and to enlarge

I used to play a few of those outstanding variations on the piano, 40 years ago although Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier was my playground.

I luv Sokolov’s performance though I deem Maria Tipo to be a bit better (if only she danced more: Bach danses)

[Maria tipo btw was awarded the "Diapason d’Or" for her Goldberg Variations recording]

ψ

[Fulvia (100% real): "Too ambitious, Giorgio, I am afraid for your health, dear man. C'mon, I mean: you stopped playing for 40 years ..."]

ψ

3) Making a novel out of his blog which has been a terrific wisdom journey that possibly confused readers but did greatly enriched he who is writing.

[Flavia (80% fictional) : "You pallonaro romano, swollen head!! False prophets btw clearly disconcert those who meet them, which doesn't necessarily imply they're unhappy. The prophets of malchance. Ah! What kind of perverse reward do you get from all that???"]

“You just shut the fuck up” (non ehm fictional)

Rude, ok, but not in slightly Romanesco-spoken Italian.
(its regularity, incidentally, not diminishing its effectiveness)

:twisted: :oops: :oops: ]

 

Performing. How

Performing, in MoR’s book (in everybody’s lol) means enacting before an audience.

An uploaded YouTube video – where he who is writing can be seen and heard – is a sure output.

Whether the video will be shot in MoR’s studio or on a stage, with just one person or another guitarist or whatever interacting and jazzing back, it remains to be seen.

One post a week
(at least)

Thus having been fussily said, and needing MoR some more time to lazily reflect & relax (otium) in order not to fail reaching 1) 2) 3):

We’ll post once every 7 days, id est Man of Roma might even post repost one / three / ten times ecc a day should he feel like it, although every seventh day starting from today – unless the unwanted guest arrives – and article will appear.

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

All the best
From Mediterranean West

ψ

Related posts from the MoR (on the connection between relax and creativity)

1, 2 (in italiano), 3

Cherry in the pie:

Bertrand Russell’s In Praise of Idleness

The Strange Story of Manius, the Last Roman Soldier in Britannia

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Man of Roma:

I had planned, for tonight, “Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them)” 3.

I’ve instead re-posted the first idea germinale of “Misce stultitiam consiliis“.

ψ

Extropian: “Why on earth?”

Lo Spartito. Via Cavour (ancient Subura). Roma

Lo Spartito. Via Cavour (ancient Subura.) Roma

Massimo: “Giovanni told me it’s because of the Germans.”
Extropian: “What??”
Massimo: “He met two extremely charming German ladies at Lo Spartito in via Cavour.”

“Plus he was in that store in order to buy a real gem: The Golberg Variations BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach for guitar by Hungarian genius József Eötvös

Fulvia *rolling her eyes*: “Got it. He’s delighted by Bach & by the Germans (of the female kind, surtout.) So he went home and, still under the spell of ehm German Kultur, played the Variations and all …”

They all laugh.

 

Originally posted on Man of Roma:

Asterix Roman soldier. Click for credits and to enlarge

A silly story I wrote over at The Critical Line, where Richard, a witty lawyer from London, entertains his guests with his vast knowledge and adorable English humour.

Richard though has a problem.

He’s terribly profound in mathematics and so are many of his guests who seem to share the same horrible contagion.

But, it’d be fair to say, I amthe oneto have a big problem, and, what is this tale but a burst of frustration because of my mathematical ineptitude?

The Tale of Manius

English sheep. Photo by Bernard Durfee (2008). Click for credits and to enlarge

Britannia, 526 CE, in a parallel (and almost identical) universe.

The Western Roman Empire has collapsed. Angles, Saxons and Jutes are invading the Roman province of Britannia from the East. All continental Roman soldiers have gone – but the Romano-Celtic in the West are resisting bravely. Only Manius Papirius Lentulus from Roma has stayed. He lives with the barbarians but…

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The Roman Jews (1). Are They the Most Ancient Romans Surviving?

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Man of Roma:

No thoughts to add. Only to remind Lichanos that Romans do not surrender (and don’t take prisoners.)

ψ

On a side note, the one-post-a-day discipline has ended so we’ll now post once every three days.

ψ

More time for living? For writing?

Flavia: “Sei un universo introverso”
The Old Man: “Sei un universo estroverso”

Why on earth 2 opposite universes (not to mention one being a matriarch the other a patriarch, one a man one a woman) EVER got together?

ψ

Exeunt … *quarelling*

Exeunt … *smiling*

Mario: “BASTA!”

Originally posted on Man of Roma:

An image of the Roman Ghetto. Giggetto restaurant and Augustus' Porticus Octaviae behind

An image of the Roman Ghetto. The famous Giggetto restaurant on the left with Augustus’ Porticus Octaviae in the background

“Who’s more Roman than the Roman Jews? Some of us date back from the times of Emperor Titus [39-81 AD]” – Davide Limentani told me in the early 80s.

Limentani was (and perhaps still is) at the head of a big wholesale and retail glass and silver company in Rome. I had phoned him three days earlier for an interview that had to be published on the Roman daily La Repubblica.

Ditta LimentaniI remember a lovely spring day in the old alleys of the Roman Ghetto, with swallows crying over a glorious blue sky. He was sitting at his desk in the aisle of an impressively ramified, catacomb-like store in via Portico d’Ottavia 47 (look at its stripped-down sign above,) crammed with an immense variety of crystal, pottery…

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La communication intérieure

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Man of Roma:

Elisabeth (tarotpsychologique) writes:

“Elly Roselle a développé des outils pour communiquer efficacement avec des facettes de notre personnalité qui s’opposent à ce que nous voulons de la vie, afin qu’elles deviennent une force qui contribuent à la réalisation de nos rêves et désirs”.

“Les recherches de Elly Roselle ont démontré que les messages conflictuels que nous recevons à l’intérieur de nous-mêmes qu’ils soient de nature psychosomatique, émotionnelle ou mentale, sont un reflet des croyances conscientes et inconscientes que nous transportons de génération en génération[les italiques sont de nous].

ψ

MoR: “Dear Elisabeth, I may be pulling Elly Roselle’s thought by the sleeve (and am in any case too wide-ranging) but I here see a link to a Gramsci’s notion I received via my Mentor (or Maestro.) which I later developed in my own free-wheeling way [see related post below.]

I’ll thus quote Antonio Gramsci directly:

“[People's - not the pro philosophers' - conception of the world may be strangely composite] : it contains – Gramsci argues – Stone Age elements and principles of a more advanced science, prejudices from all past phases of history [etc. ]

The starting point of critical elaboration is the consciousness of what one really is, and is ‘knowing thyself’ (1) as a product of the historical (2) process to date which has deposited in you an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory. The first thing to do is to make such an inventory [all italics is mine].”

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Notes.

(1) “Know thyself” [γνῶθι σεαυτόν, MoR] was the inscription written above the gate of the Oracle at Delphi, and became a principle of Socratic philosophy. [This note and Gramsci's translation is from: Antonio Gramsci. Selection from the Prison Notebooks. Lawrence & Wishart. London, 1971; now freely available in PDF, said passage: pp. 627-628]
(2) I do not agree with the adjective historical, unless Gramsci – as I just suppose, I was studying Gramsci 42 years ago! –  makes evolution & history as one. I’ll think about it, although, his mentioning ‘Stone Age’ is revealing in some way.

ψ

Related post (with better-than-the-post discussion) :

Is the Human Mind like a Museum?

 

Originally posted on tarot psychologique:

La communication intérieure se manifeste par des messages que nous recevons de notre intérieur, sous forme de pensées, d’images, d’émotions et de sensations physiques. Voici quelques exemples : Vous est-il déjà arrivé de ne pas pouvoir dormir à cause de scénarios d’inquiétude qui trottaient sans arrêt dans votre tête ?

Vous est-il déjà arrivé de vouloir complimenter une personne que vous ne connaissez pas et soudainement bloquer votre élan lorsqu’une peur du rejet fait surface ? Vous est-il déjà arrivé de vous critiquer intérieurement parce que vous avez subi un échec ?

chat  lionNotre communication intérieure se reflète dans notre communication avec les autres. Les croyances et perceptions que nous avons et les émotions que nous ressentons se manifestent dans la tonalité de notre voix et dans notre langage verbal et corporel, cela est bien connu.

Les gens qui vous critiquent ont leur propre critiqueur interne. Les gens durs et intransigeants…

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French, Italian, and American Great Songs. Rio Bravo’s ‘My Rifle, My Pony, and Me’ / ‘Cindy’. Ricky Nelson & Dean Martin. 3

Ahhhh …those were the movies that nourished us – my eldest brother and I.

We were kids spending summers in Tuscany and saw together ALL great US Westerns: The Magnificent Seven; Rio Bravo; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers etc.

Marion Mitchell Morrison (1907 – 1979), better known as John Wayne. Via Wikipedia

Marion Mitchell Morrison (1907 – 1979), better known as John Wayne. Via Wikipedia

Young, inspiring America of the Westerns!

It all sounded so clear to us: the well distinct roles of the men and of the women in their fight for survival where gender complementarity stood out clearly.

The women, as educators of the rough men, cooking and taking care of house & kids (and using a gun too occasionally.)

While the men hunted, fought Indians, defended the damsels in distress & the family & the country.

All that stuff, that simple but tough morality totally mesmerized us (we discussed Westerns *with Lichanos* a bit in 2010.)

 

My rifle pony and me

Sun is sinking in the west
The cattle go down to the stream
The redwing settles in the nest
It’s time for a cowboy to dream

Purple light in the canyon
that is where I long to be
With my three good companions
just my rifle pony and me

Gonna hang my sombrero
on the limb of a tree
Coming home sweet my darling
just my rifle pony and me

Whippoorwill in the willow
sings a sweet melody
Riding to Amarillo
just my rifle pony and me

No more cows to be ropin’
No more strays will I see
’round the bend shell be waitin
For my rifle pony and me
For my rifle my pony and me

Cindy

I wish I was a apple hangin’ in a tree
And everytime my sweetheart passed
She’d take a bite off me
She told me that she loved me
She called me sugar plum
She threw her arms around me
I thought my time had come.

Get along home, Cindy-Cindy
Get along home, Cindy-Cindy
Get along home, Cindy-Cindy
I’ll marry you sometime.

I wish I had a needle
As fine as I could sew
I’d sew her in my pocket
And down the road I go
Cindy hugged and kissed me
She wrung her hands and cried
Swore I was the prettiest thing
That ever lived or died.

Get along home, Cindy-Cindy
Get along home, Cindy-Cindy
Get along home, Cindy-Cindy
I’ll marry you sometime…

Ricky Nelson
tragically died at 45

In Un dollaro d’onore (Rio Bravo) John Wayne, perhaps, referring to Ricky, uttered this sober statement that young male kids could not forget:

“E’ talmente in gamba che non ha bisogno di dimostrarlo”.

 ψ

Idol of American teenagers, Ricky Nelson starred in the Rio Bravo masterpiece western by Howard Hawks (1959,) became a TV star thanks to the The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet sitcom.

The 1975 hit Try (Try To Fall In Love,) written by Norman DesRosiers for Ricky’s  band The Groupies (which they recorded in 1974), was brought to success in Italy by Roberto Vecchioni (title: Irene).

Ricky Nelson died tragically on December 31, 1985, at the age of 45. From Alabama directed to Dallas, where he was expected for a celebration of New Year show his plane crashed in a field near DeKalb (Texas).

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Previous installments:

Chansons françaises, italiennes et américaines: Aznavour’s Ave Maria. 1
French, Italian, and American Great Songs. Lucio Dalla’s Caruso (plus Lara Fabian’s English-subtitled version). 2

Related posts:

The good old days! (by Lichanos)

Al mio fratello maggiore

For My Eldest Brother  

A Great Day for Any Person of Good Faith

Obesssion and balance in creativity. Greeks’ and Romans’ Golden Mean (& Paolo Buonvino’s, a Sicilian composer.) Dialectics (5b)

diary

Read the original non pruned post and discussion.

Draft. Pictures might be changed /added.

Notice. I’ll stop posting until April 23rd. Easter reflection (a notion you can expand chez Tarot psychologique.)

ψ

James Evershed Agate (1877 – 1947), British diarist and critic, once wrote:

“Now that I am finishing the damned thing I realise that diary-writing isn’t wholly good for one, that too much of it leads to living for one’s diary instead of living for the fun of living as ordinary people do.”

What is said above applies equally to blog-writing / writing tout court since, when dealing with passions the challenge is always the right measure.

The ancient Romans developed the fine art of cuisine so that the delights of life were augmented, but there was undeniably gluttony in some milieus.

I remember that, much younger, I stopped composing music since it had become an obsessive pastime that basically swallowed me up.

Life should be harmonious. A single part should not devour the rest (as Benedetto Croce, master of harmony, reminds us.)

Benedetto Croce

Benedetto Croce (1866 – 1952), filosofo italiano

Christopher: You wrote: “Life should be harmonious. A single part should not devour the rest”
If everyone lived according to this precept there would be no civilisation and we would all be living short and brutish lives.

MoR: “Hard to say, although my post regards happiness more than creativity in the arts & sciences. Besides, creativity seems related to both balance and unbalance (take Vincent van Gogh etc.).

You possibly suggest that big creators lived disharmony in their life. Frank Lloyd Wright devoted *most* of his time to architecture, Einstein to physics etc.

Ok, but one has to see how these people actually spent their days.

I remember a Roman top advertising agency, at the end of the 80’s, where extremely well-paid copywriters and art directors were walking around in robes and were sunbathing on an elegant terrace overlooking the Parioli district’s skyline (where the rich and famous live, or lived).

I was puzzled at first because these creativi seemed to do everything except what they were paid for. The agency’s output was though brilliant and rivalled Milan’s creativi (the best we’ve got in this country).

One often needs quiet and relaxation to produce ideas, which suggests ‘balance’.

Moving to bigger examples, Beethoven’s music conveys to me the image of ​​an unhappy person.

There are many elements of anger, of obsession, in his music. His life was almost certainly disharmonious: Beethoven’s father was an alcoholic; Karl, the composer’s nephew, whose custody Beethoven had obtained, attempted suicide. And so forth.

Johann Sebastian Bach aged 61 (1685 – 1750). Click for source

Johann Sebastian Bach aged 61 (1685 – 1750). Click for source

 

Bach’s music on the contrary (with its powerfully abstract architectures that unfold like a majestic river flowing) is much more enriching consoling, imo, and well fits the image of ​​the patient German artisan, whose methodical, quiet work was conceived as a service to God. Bach was a musician but also a good Christian, a good father, a good husband and a good teacher – which suggests harmony of life.

Which doesn’t mean many breakthroughs weren’t the product of unbalanced lives. The commonplace of the deranged genius is more than a commonplace imo, though it’s not my post’s point.

Cheri: “Your point is well taken. My grandfather always told me that moderation is the key to a balanced and contented life.”

MoR: “Hi Cheri! I like roots (as you probably like your Jewish or whatever roots), this blog being a search for roots from a past that, I believe, is still working on us Latins, though not only on us.

Enjoying the pleasures of life without excess, drinking without getting drunk, a life outside compulsions or obsessions – I am often obsessing / obsessed – is not only wise, it is part of a lifestyle, and an element of grace.

To me this is particularly evident in the French, the Latin people I possibly love most.

Neapolitan Benedetto Croce, ‘master of harmony’ …

Incidentally, the Olympian beauty seeping through his works is probably of Hellenic origin, and, like the Hellenic miracle arose from formidable difficulties (if we may compare a huge thing to a small one) Croce’s serene attitude and sharp mind came at a hard price: at 17, on vacation with his parents and his sole sister, their house being wiped out by an earthquake he barely survived and remained alone.

Claudia (my daughter): “Croce’s picture doesn’t exactly conjure up Hellenic beauty!?!?”

Potsoc: “I agree with Cheri. Many creators were, indeed, unhappy people but as many had a relatively simple and happy life. The examples given speak by themselves.”

MoR: “Someone must have already done it, Potsoc le Canadien, but it’d be interesting to systematically analyse the biographies of creators (in both arts & sciences) in search of a correlation between creative intelligence and lifestyles.

My post was more about the gratification from a life with nicely distributed, non compulsive, activities, but one can blabber a bit and wonder if Balzac, for example, was compulsive in his writing.

He may have been, but his work – so vital, energetic & rich with an immense number of vividly depicted characters – suggests a life not spent exclusively on a desk with a pen in his hand.

A correlation between scientists’ lifestyles and their innovation level seems much harder to establish. They (seem to me to) reveal less about themselves.

ALL this, in any case, is a-blowing in the wind, Paul.”

Potsoc: “I guess nobody wrote a Ph.D thesis on the subject and I will not write it.”

MoR: “Ah ah ah, right Paul :-) Getting stuffy, I know.”

Sledpress: “The need for quiet and mental space in which to be creative can’t be denied, but does that support an argument against being too obsessional as a creative person?

I can only write fiction (or songs, or music) when I’m in an obsessional fugue, and it is bitter for me, because I want to have at least something of a life otherwise — probably few people are willing to have their spouse or friend snarl “GO AWAY!” should they be so unfortunate as to come ask about dinner or the water bill when one is creating.

But if I put the chisel down, it’s cold when I pick it back up, and what I wrote mocks me. (Blog posts and so on don’t count; those are five finger exercises.) I can’t start the fire again if I’ve let myself be jollied into putting it out so as to make nice on the rest of the human race. And if I don’t create something, who cares if I lived? It won’t matter.

I’ve already lost the thread of so many good ideas (maybe not lightning genius, but worth something) that I could spend the rest of my life in mourning, and for what in the end? People who really were only bored or wanted me to do them something. I vote for the obsessed people, myself.”

MoR: “You say, Sled:

“I can only write fiction (songs, music) when I’m in an obsessional fugue, and it is bitter for me, because I want to have at least something of a life otherwise …”

“If I don’t create something, who cares if I lived? It won’t matter”

Well, if creation & obsession necessarily go together with us, and creativity is our top priority, let us embrace obsession, why not.

Besides, obsession, as far as I can tell, may produce compellingly emotional results etc.

As for my experience, the insignificant (though much important to me) things I have written or composed were produced in both situations: within a quiet, balanced routine of life; or via obsession, pain, sacrificing the rest.

I sometimes think that, had I more discipline, I’d be able to kill two birds with a stone and reach a synthesis.

Paolo Buonvino 001

What I mean, I’m witnessing an example of creative discipline in my neighborhood, where a certain Paolo Buonvino is leaving a couple of blocks away from my home (it, en wikies.)

Italian from Sicily, conductor, composer of film scores, Buonvino’s music is extremely good, Sicilian-sunny and much appreciated. I exchanged a few words with him. He gave me some inspired advice on related-to-music stuff. Flavia and I have visited him once at his home.

In short, he’s the classic example of one who, compelled to compose scores at appalling speed, is nonetheless able to enhance productivity by finding the right breaks, walking about the rione, enjoying something at a bar (an ice-cream, a coffee, a cake) or watching trees or the sky on a park bench.

You see him around, always relaxed, a mobile at his ear, talking quietly with loads of people (this amazing ease with human relationships being typical of many Italian from the Mezzogiorno.)

So Paolo Buonvino, despite high productivity rates, manages to live quite well. A gift from heaven? Hard to say but some creative discipline should be taught when very young, I believe.”

Sledpress: “There is a trapdoor when someone has asked a creative person to produce something. I say this from experience.
Somehow it frees you to be both creative and human. I don’t know how this works. Only that knowing someone *wants* what you can create substitutes for the energy that otherwise only comes from obsession and a sort of rage against the people who don’t understand why you are working so hard to produce a composition or poem or story, however minor.”

Potsoc: “I moderate a group called “Imaginations”, each week we meet around a theme, different each week, and we write a short piece on the week’s theme that we will read to the group the following week. It’s much fun…and work but we all enjoy it and it has been going for most of ten years with a core of 5 steady participants and another 5 or 6 that come and go.”

MoR: “Sledpress, Paul, you two imply that creating for someone ‘waiting’ for your production can release the pressure?

I agree, an act of communication, then, almost always good. When I was writing the Manius so-to-say novel my motivation were you, the bloggers of my circle, ‘waiting’ (so I felt) for each new installment and the resulting fun, as Paul says, the jokes that we shared etc.

When a publisher told me one day that he was interested, the magic vanished. I tried to continue, but felt only the obsession (plus depression for my failure, lack of discipline.) I quit writing.

Potsoc: “Being approached by a publisher is an altogether other proposition, I agree. Sharing with friends is just plain fun.”

Sledpress: “Yes! You are touching on something that I meant.
If a publisher dangled money in front of me I might still be motivated. Because money is something squeezed out of one’s bloodstream (unless one is one of the one-per-cent who wallow in it), so it is like enthusiasm.

However the biggest fun was an experience like yours, of people hanging on for the next installment to find out what happened!!!

Stephen King writes of something like this in his classic novella “The Body” which became the film Stand By Me.

The pathetically young kid with the gun in this clip — earlier the film shows him telling stories around a kids’ camp fire with everyone asking him what comes next, what comes next. King later called this “the *gotta.*” “I gotta find out what happens.”
I miss having people who cared about that, which happened to me for five minutes.”

MoR: “You’ve said, Sled:

“the biggest fun was an experience like yours, of people hanging on for the next installment to find out what happened!!!
I miss having people who cared about that, which happened to me for five minutes.”

When was that and where? Can we reach it?”

Sledpress: “Oh, that was my silly detective novel, an inner circle read every chapter as I wrote it — the way Dickens used to work, releasing installments before the story was all set down. Then as I wrote, with caricatures of everyone who is politically active around here, I looked forward to the public consternation it would cause, another incentive.

And oh yes, I made it look as if the author was a local newspaper editor who had been a real jerk to me a couple of times — it was easy to lift little quirks of style from his editorials. People pestered him about it for years.

It got one good review even. A lot of it is free.

Along the way it let me say and even discover a lot about my outlook on the whole “res publica”, the “public thing” that constitutes local political life, which both attracts and repels me — so many people trying to be important, yet actually doing important things despite their flaws. It is really the only thing I ever finished.

Everything else I ever did disappointed me and I threw it over or put it in the drawer, but I had people asking for this, so I had to finish it, amateurish as it may be. I wrote like hell for two months and was burned-out for two more but I wish I could do it again. Only I’m afraid to yell GO AWAY at the few friends I really have.”

MoR: “Wow. Quite a good review. I’ll read the book as soon as I can, or rather buy it (I also missed your poems over at your blog: my next comment)
In the meanwhile, a portion of the review, to the benefit of readers:

“Is this story (MURDER ACROSS THE BOARD by *******) of local interest? Sure. But the writing here is so good it is irrelevant. This is just as good a murder mystery as you will find anywhere, with a compelling story and clever writing to match. The story is truly twisted [...] and the murder-mystery here is fun and energetic. No one is who they seem in this fast read, and as the story unfolds, the plot rolls along like a freight-train. What may have started as a goof on some friends or a dig at local politics has turned into a clever, engaging page-turner.”

Sledpress: “Mind you, another reader said it was cliched and awful. Then again, the point was to throw every trope of gritty detective stories into a story about local politics. Looking back I thought it needed tightening, but I’ve always hugged that one rave review to my heart.
I’m editing the pseudonym in your comment just because it really did piss off a number of people, one of whom is a habitual troll, and I’d prefer they didn’t find this blog too easily.”

Sledpress: “Oops, I was on a dashboard when I wrote the above reply and thought we were talking on my page. Oh well — if you wouldn’t mind “asterisking” the author name. Trolls shouldn’t find you either. ”

MoR: “Well, there are good and there are bad reviews, always. Who the hell cares?
I have ‘asterisked’ the author’s name, as you asked me.
And, tell this troll I am ready here waiting.”

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