Nude and erect

In the interest of good physical condition I like to write while standing up. Those several daily hours spent on my feet (instead of on the couch) make the difference: I'm in pretty good shape, as my neighbors can attest to since I write in the nude. My ideal workplace is the veranda, overlooking the lake, exposed to that gently massaging north-west wind.

Friends usually spin their noses when I share the secrets of my writing. So, I did some research and turns out that I am not the only author who writes in the nude and on his feet. Other writers also chose the vertical position, and without the mask that are the clothes:

Victor Hugo was lazy and did not like to write. In order to force himself to work he directed his valet to take away his clothes and not give them back until he finished his daily dose, writing naked, and often on his feet.

Edmond Rostand was bothered by frequent visitors. He did not like to be disturbed, and to free himself from guests he wrote in a bathtub.

Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up, naked, with the typewriter set at a height of his waist.

D.H. Lawrence liked to climb the mulberry tree outside his window, wearing nothing but his skin, and took to writing after the descent.

The poet James Riley Withcomb enjoyed alcohol. Too much. To reduce the consumption he used to shut himself up in a hotel room, naked, in order not go to the bar.



Passions of the youth of the heart

"There is, in sooth, a boundless enjoyment in the possession of a young, scarce-budded soul! It is like a floweret which exhales its best perfume at the kiss of the first ray of the sun. You should pluck the flower at that moment, and, breathing its fragrance to the full, cast it upon the road: perchance someone will pick it up! I feel within me that insatiate hunger which devours everything it meets upon the way; I look upon the sufferings and joys of others only from the point of view of their relation to myself, regarding them as the nutriment which sustains my spiritual forces. I myself am no longer capable of committing follies under the influence of passion; with me, ambition has been repressed by circumstances, but it has emerged in another form, because ambition is nothing more nor less than a thirst for power, and my chief pleasure is to make everything that surrounds me subject to my will. To arouse the feeling of love, devotion and awe towards oneself—is not that the first sign, and the greatest triumph, of power? To be the cause of suffering and joy to another—without in the least possessing any definite right to be so—is not that the sweetest food for our pride? And what is happiness?--Satisfied pride. Were I to consider myself the best, the most powerful man in the world, I should be happy; were all to love me, I should find within me inexhaustible springs of love. Evil begets evil; the first suffering gives us the conception of the satisfaction of torturing another. The idea of evil cannot enter the mind without arousing a desire to put it actually into practice. "Ideas are organic entities," someone has said. The very fact of their birth endows them with form, and that form is action. He in whose brain the most ideas are born accomplishes the most. From that cause a genius, chained to an official desk, must die or go mad, just as it often happens that a man of powerful constitution, and at the same time of sedentary life and simple habits, dies of an apoplectic stroke.

Passions are naught but ideas in their first development; they are an attribute of the youth of the heart, and foolish is he who thinks that he will be agitated by them all his life. Many quiet rivers begin their course as noisy waterfalls, and there is not a single stream which will leap or foam throughout its way to the sea. That quietness, however, is frequently the sign of great, though latent, strength. The fulness and depth of feelings and thoughts do not admit of frenzied outbursts. In suffering and in enjoyment the soul renders itself a strict account of all it experiences and convinces itself that such things must be. It knows that, but for storms, the constant heat of the sun would dry it up! It imbues itself with its own life—pets and punishes itself like a favourite child. It is only in that highest state of self-knowledge that a man can appreciate the divine justice."

Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of our Time (DOWNLOAD free ebook)


Why writers need matches

That's why I keep matches and some lighter fluid next to my manuscripts:

"A literary friendship in which one writer is ‘more equal’ than the other,  Franz Kafka (1883-1924) and Max Brod (1884-1968) met at Charles University in Prague, and remained lifelong friends. Brod was a successful author, composer and journalist.  Now, however, he tends to be remembered mainly as Kafka’s friend, biographer, and literary executor. Perhaps he wouldn’t have minded. He is said to have “unselfishly promoted other writers and musicians.”

Franz Kafka was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century
Kafka asked Brod to burn his manuscripts after his death.  According to Brod’s account, he didn’t promise, and he didn’t burn them. When the Nazis arrived in 1939, Brod and his wife fled to what was then called Palestine, and they took Kafka’s manuscripts with them. Brod settled in Tel Aviv, and edited and published some of Kafka’s work."



Nose for the truth

calculated risk
cautiously optimistic
controlled chaos
defensive strike
detailed summary
educated guess
extended deadline
free trade
minor crisis
negative growth
resident alien
sharp curve
unbiased opinion

There is a reason why I do not read or watch corporate media, this dinosaur of oxymoron and opinion. Here are some examples of what lies at the core of today's mass corporate media: the assumption that recipients of this gibberish are idiots.

Perhaps behind it all is fear, after all if you publish the truth you may face assassination


Food for the mind

"LITERATURE is the food of the mind. It is an integral aspect of our food for thought menu and a vital ingredient in the diet of all free, democratic and open societies worldwide.

Writers are the foremost custodians of our historical and cultural heritage, and serve as an almost bottomless well of inspiration, information and knowledge from which both the young and old should drink deeply, imbibing untold wisdom.

Our society is poorer in soul and mind if works worthy of merit remain unacclaimed, and when the beauty of the written words of wisdom are not duly and deservedly appreciated and recognised."



Some things never change

"It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man's disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes. It has always been so and always will be. Governments change yet they remain all alike."
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo (DOWNLOAD e-book NOW)


Hollywood and war propaganda

"Propaganda soon became the industry rallying cry. As the US laid battle plans, Variety reported that film companies “dealing entirely with Uncle Sam’s preparations for war” were elated over the fact that the government was planning to review films “suitable to promoting the proper propaganda” for army and navy recruiting.

Political film censorship was rampant during this time.

This intense censorship climate was exacerbated by Wilson’s signing of the Espionage Act in June 1917, which attacked any forms of speech construed as critical of the war. Under such conditions, several film figures were arrested.

The most infamous and telling World War I film censorship case was the banning of the independent Revolutionary War picture The Spirit of ’76. Produced by Robert Goldstein (an original investor in Griffith’s 1915 pro-slavery blockbuster The Birth of a Nation), the feature became the center of government attacks after being suppressed by Chicago censors in May 1917, just a month prior to the signing of the Espionage Act. Although Goldstein regained control of the film for Los Angeles, Spirit of ’76 was soon confiscated by the Department of Justice and its producer charged with espionage."



Our Lady, as beautiful as a model

"Our Lady of Lourdes is the most beautiful of all [...] elegant as a model from a fashion house, with a silk scarf highlighting her waist, its trailing wrapped around her thighs. Despite the ethereal exterior the Immaculate Lady conceals under her tunic a body full of charm, and one can discover it by starting from bare feet, which protrude from under the hem of her dress; then creep up her slender legs, narrow hips, flat chest (Our Lady does not breast-feed), and touch the swan neck, ending with her radiant eyes, so expressive of pure love in ecstasy."

Jean Rouard, in Fields of Glory (my translation). This enjoyable novel won the author (a newspaper kiosk operator at the time) the prestigious Prix Goncourt.