Towse: views from the hill

July 23, 2012

A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It

Filed under: causes,commentary,writers — Towse @ 3:16 pm

John Scalzi posted today about the people/community/society/world that helped make him the self-made success that he is.

“There is a flip side to this as well. I have helped others too. I am financially successful now; I pay a lot of taxes. I don’t mind because I know how taxes helped me to get to the fortunate position I am in today. I hope the taxes I pay will help some military wife give birth, a mother who needs help feed her child, help another child learn and fall in love with the written word, and help still another get through college. Likewise, I am in a socially advantageous position now, where I can help promote the work of others here and in other places. I do it because I can, because I think I should and because I remember those who helped me. It honors them and it sets the example for those I help to help those who follow them.

I know what I have been given and what I have taken. I know to whom I owe. I know that what work I have done and what I have achieved doesn’t exist in a vacuum or outside of a larger context, or without the work and investment of other people, both within the immediate scope of my life and outside of it. I like the idea that I pay it forward, both with the people I can help personally and with those who will never know that some small portion of their own hopefully good fortune is made possible by me.”

May 4, 2009

Anna Quindlen Steps Aside

Filed under: news,writers,writing — Towse @ 12:32 am

AnnaQ is a month and four days older than I am, another water dragon. The 18 May 2009 issue of Newsweek Magazine contains her resignation from her gig writing LAST WORD, which she’s had for the last nine years.

THE LAST WORD – Anna Quindlen (18 May 2009 issue of Newsweek)

This page, this place, is an invaluable opportunity to shed some light. But if I had any lingering doubts about giving it up after almost nine years, they were quelled by those binders on my desk, full of exemplary work by reporters young enough to be my children. Flipping through their pages, reading such essential and beautifully rendered accounts of life in America and around the world, I felt certain of the future of the news business in some form or another. But between the lines I read another message, delivered without rancor or contempt, the same one I once heard from my own son: It’s our turn. Step aside. And now I will.

Boy, am I feeling like a dinosaur.

April 30, 2009

[URL] Dickensurl.com

Filed under: app,URL,writers,writing — Towse @ 4:41 pm

Dickensurl.com

Convert your URL to a Dickensian quote.

Mine?

Under an accumulation of staggerers, no man can be considered a free agent. No man knocks himself down; if his destiny knocks him down, his destiny must pick him up again.

From The Old Curiosity Shop

Above quote has been attributed to
http://www.towse.com/blogger/blog.htm

[via Bella Stander's twitterfeed]

April 23, 2009

The classic Alice B. Toklas recipe

Filed under: books,food,history,recipes,writers,writing — Towse @ 9:46 pm

I found a good home for my softcover edition of The ALICE B. TOKLAS COOKBOOK. I have an older, hardcover, first edition that I intend to keep but, really, there aren’t many differences ‘twixt these two.

One difference, the newer edition has a foreword by MFK Fisher.

One other crucial difference, for those of us who spent our young adult years in the sixties and seventies, this edition contains the recipe that (for legal reasons) the publisher could not include in the first edition. Yes, the recipe for Haschich Fudge — no, not brownies … fudge, even though the talk was always of Alice B. Toklas brownies.

The Haschich Fudge recipe is not a Toklas original, but rather came to Toklas from painter and film-maker Brion Gysin, according to the notes.

————-
Haschich Fudge (which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)

This is the food of Paradise — of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by ‘un évanouissement reveillé.’

Take 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of coriander. These should be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of canibus sativa [sic] can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.

Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as canibus sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognised, everywhere in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope. In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called canibus indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.
————-

Now that I’ve saved the recipe (although for what reason I don’t know), I can pass the copy of the later edition on to someone who will give it a good home.

April 17, 2009

New book trailer from Mary Jane Maffini

Filed under: books,writers — Towse @ 6:07 pm

Mary Jane Maffini and I met over dinner at Left Coast Crime. She’d arrived in Hawaii from Canada and was hungry. I’d arrived from California and was hungry. Why not share a table?

We exchanged names and stories. I told her that I’d almost been named “Mary Jane” by my parents after a distant ancestress. Turns out one of her sleuths is named MacPhee. A name in my family tree too. Zounds. Who couldn’t like someone as nice as Maffini, who is also probably a cousin if we go back far enough?

MJM just posted a link on Facebook to her new book trailer.

April 14, 2009

Robert J Sawyer @ Borderlands Books

Filed under: books,bookstores,photographs,writers,writing — Towse @ 6:41 am

 

Posted by Picasa

No, actually. That’s Ripley, Borderlands Books‘ hairless cat.

Ripley sat in my lap purring and snoozing during Sawyer’s talk and was reluctant to leave it when the presentation was over.

We hied off to Foreign Cinema afterwards for a late dinner, Sawyer having signed my copy of WAKE before the event kicked off.

Check out the book and the other seventeen books and zillions of short fiction items Sawyer has written.

The pilot for a FLASH FORWARD series is up for consideration in the next few days. Good luck to Sawyer on that.

After dinner at Foreign Cinema it was home again home again via the #14 Mission and the #30 Stockton, and a quarter mile walk up Telegraph Hill and home. The transit connections, though, were perfect. Maybe a four minute wait for the #14 and another four minute wait for the #30. Can’t get much better than that. Thanks, Muni.

April 9, 2009

Alexander McCall Smith (Lost in Fiction – WSJ.com)

Filed under: writers,writing — Towse @ 5:04 pm

Lost in Fiction – WSJ.com: Alexander McCall Smith on the intense personal relationships readers form with characters and the ways that complicates the lives of authors.

[...]

It can be very inhibiting for an author if he or she knows that what happens in fiction is going to be taken so seriously. I write serial novels in newspapers and have learned the hard way that people will readily attribute the views expressed by characters to their authors. In one of my “Scotland Street” novels a character called Bruce, a rather narcissistic young man, made disparaging remarks about his hometown. Although these were not the views I hold about that particular town, I was roundly taken to task, with the local member of the Scottish Parliament suggesting that I should be forced to apologize to the offended citizens. I pointed out that these were the views of a fictional character, who was just the type to make such remarks. That did not help.

In another novel, I had Isabel Dalhousie give up breastfeeding rather too quickly for the liking of the leader of a pro-breastfeeding organization. Again I was told that I should make a public apology to those who believed in persisting with breastfeeding. That sort of thing is quite alarming, and it is such people who need to be told, politely but firmly, that it is just a story.

[...]

Book Promotion Tips from the Pros: Featured Author: Marc Acito

Filed under: book promotion,writers — Towse @ 12:30 am

Book Promotion Tips from the Pros: Featured Author: Marc Acito

Some interesting insights.

April 8, 2009

Read-it-First with Suzanne Beecher

Filed under: books,mystery,writers — Towse @ 1:48 am

Read-it-First with Suzanne Beecher

Join St. Martin’s Read-it-First e-mail book club and sample a hot NEW release each week. Each weekday morning, we’ll send you a taste of the week’s featured title right to your inbox. By the end of the week, you’ll have read approximately a few chapters, enough to decide whether it is the right book for you…sometimes just before it even hits the stores!

And it’s all completely FREE!

I signed up just in time. Next week (April 13th) is featuring Louise Ure’s latest: LIARS ANONYMOUS.

    Click cover image for more info.

Simon Wood on writing with dyslexia

Filed under: books,mystery,video,writers,writing — Towse @ 12:41 am

TV interview on ABC News 10′s Sacramento and Co.

Simon talks about dyslexia and his writing and the back doors you learn to use to do what you want to do when the dyslexia is holding you back. Simon, for those who don’t know him, writes thrillers (as Simon Wood) and horror (as Simon Janus) and (under yet another pseudonym, Simon Oaks) has a nonfiction book out last month, WILL MARRY FOR FOOD SEX AND LAUNDRY.

Simon’s Web site

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