Monday, February 27, 2012


My novels are to me like masquerade balls where, disguised as my various characters, I can express thoughts I otherwise hide from the world.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Editing, editing, editing

After finally finishing the second draft of my book, I am now editing its very first pages.  Interestingly, it is not merely a matter of tightening and polishing the language.  The whole setup  has to be altered considerably.  I'm not surprised by this because I pretty much expected that I had to finish writing the entire novel, and especially its ending, before I truly knew what needed to be said in the first chapter.  In fact, it seems like a good idea to write a complex story in a sort of zig-zag pattern—somehow the mark of Zorro comes to mind—with the first draft going from beginning to end, the second draft from end to beginning and the final draft again from beginning to end.
I started out with a fairly good idea of what the story was going to be and how it would end, and I wrote the first chapter in accordance with that vision.  But then my characters took over and led me down paths that I didn't anticipate, caused all sorts of trouble I never saw coming, and twisted my story into something I hardly recognized.  Before I knew it, my first chapter did no longer do a decent job at setting the reader up for what was to follow.
So now I am back at the beginning to make the necessary changes—thus knocking over the first domino block in a long row of heaven knows how many more blocks, because, alas, one change always leads to another.  And as I thus work my way through my manuscript, I only pray that this ever changing story will not need yet another new beginning once I reach the end, setting off another—ahh, perish the thought!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A truly random thought

I was just wondering whether anybody ever told Dracula that he sucked. Because he did. Literally.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Good Advice

"If you don't like your glass half empty, just transfer the liquid to a smaller one. Ah, the magic of lowered expectations!" — Tobiel, the carpenter

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I got a hug!!!  Yesterday I got a hug from a lovely Ethiopian lady.  No, nothing improper, nothing sensual, nothing her boyfriend, standing right next to us, would have had reasons to be jealous about.  So what made this so special, you ask, that it had to be announced on the internet?  It was just a hug, wasn't it?

Ah, my friend, if only you knew how greatly it blessed me, you would not even have thought of using the word 'just' in that connection.  I have such a deep love for the Ethiopian People (please see my post from October 9th, 2011 on this blog) but have never managed to get truly close to them.  This hug gave me hope.

Don't get me wrong.  Not ever did any of them treat me disrespectfully, nor were they ever lacking in good manners.  Indeed, I received courteous smiles and firm handshakes whenever we ran into each other, and generous help every time I inquired about their language, which I am studying.  But never before, not even in those whom I have known for many years and certainly much longer than her, had I ever sensed the kind of warmth that now shone so beautifully through this precious hug.

In my mind there were two possible reasons for this:  either I was simply not loveable enough to be treated more affectionately, or else, their culture or native temperament just caused them to keep foreigners at a safe distance.

This hug proved me wrong on both counts.

It was not just a quick embrace, but lasted long enough to convey the sincerity behind it.  It was genuine and heartfelt, and I would travel to the ends of the earth to get just one more.  Hopefully I won't have to go to such lengths.

And would you do me a favor?  Today, if you run into some acquaintences of yours, please hug them for me.  To most of them it will be, well, just a hug.  But who knows, to one or two among them it may very well be pure magic. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


A proselytizing atheist is like a blind man trying to convince the whole world that there were no light.