Submarine garrets for starving writers

Writers look for budget accommodation  (Bangkok, 2027)

Here are some things that didn’t fit on the graph in my “Things fall apart redux” post.

The price of fish in Villa Supermarket is soaring, the Gulf of Thailand is getting fished out, China is behaving more aggressively as the superpower-in-waiting, I’ve lost my mother’s copy of Ben’s secret recipe for Montreal smoked meat and I now learn Ben’s deli closed two years ago. It’s as likely I’ll get to … Read more

Digital bedlam

Yesterday I was riding the BTS here in Bangkok, when I noticed a guy standing in the corner of the car. What first caught my attention was his face, which was bathed in an unholy glow. Short of sleep as I was, my first thought was, yow, this is some kind of divine messenger, maybe sent by my dear, departed mother to have another go at finally setting me straight.

Then I realized the light came from the iPad he … Read more

Paper books rool, OK!

One more advantage of paper books. Once upon a time before e-book readers, on an upcountry excursion in Burma, I was smitten with acute diarrhea in a land without toilet paper. But I was equipped with a fat paperback on Chinese history and politics. Over the next few days an assortment of conveyances jounced me along back-country roads as I attempted to learn about China fast enough to stay ahead of immediate needs for paper. I never did get to … Read more

Pretty good sandwiches. Questions of relativity and quantum theory

The other day I went to meet the charming Ms. Weow at the new Dean & Deluca coffeeshop, a glitzy branch of the New York deli in what’s to be the ground floor of the Ritz Carleton Residences, still under construction.

On my way over, I phoned her to check that I had the correct location.

“Right at the Chong Nongsri BTS Station,” she said.

“West side or east?”

“Which way are you facing now?” she asked me.

“What do … Read more

Terminating terminal preposition bloggers

And another stereotype bites the dust. The language mavens are getting feistier, siccing hit squads on people who annoy them, in this case those who post items saying how ending a sentence with a preposition is okay, pace gangs of tsking grammarians from another age roaming our streets. The problem is, say the Language Log hosts, they get the same darned thing, again and again, and they’re sick of it. From now on, in fact, offenders will themselves be … Read more

Rx for rejected writers

Steve Van Beek, prominent local writer, film-maker and river specialist has just sent me the following encouragement to get off my lazy butt (interview with Philip K. Dick’s daughter) and do more to promote my series of darkly comic futuristic novels (underway) that will clarify most important features of reality in rippingly entertaining fashion. (Some opinion has it that I  write better novels than I do blurbs.) Certainly, Philip K. Dick is one of the most successful

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Crack-crazed butterflies in rampant botanical garden

The future of the book

“Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?”

1. Alice. To say I resemble a Ludditic old fart is … Read more

Things fall apart redux

I sit in my office sweating.

The 27-inch iMac gazes blankly at me from inside its raincoat, the pair of us waiting for the air-conditioner repairmen to arrive. It all started when my old PC laptop clapped out, exposing me to attack by the consumerist virus waiting in ambush. Next thing I knew, I was the proudish owner of a nearly-new iMac super doodah. And now look. The world is disintegrating.

Long-slumbering volcano erupts in Sumatra. Floods in Pakistan, India … Read more

“Sky gravid with precipitate disaster”: Finances and the freelancer

Sky gravid with precipitate disaster.” My, my. Our man Collin certainly has a way with words, hasn’t he? Nevertheless, he’s still starving right along with the rest of us wordsmiths, though not as successfully as some.

But he does understand the kind of lifestyle where the sky is always falling and so what? That’s just the way things are.

We have a buddy, a felllow scrivener, who shall remain nameless, who fled Bangkok’s gravid skies to earn actual money Read more