Posts Tagged ‘cats’


Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Youthful readers! I am proud to announce that today I finally broke into the Istanbul high-school circuit, with a reading/ workshop at the British International School—many thanks to Russell Gunnell and loyal super-reader Ebru Kesen for making it happen!

Here is what I learned about the British International students of Istanbul: they are really astute judges of human character. In the Q/A, right between “What’s harder, fiction or nonfiction?” and “Do you ever have writer’s block?”, one young person proved that she had me all figured out by asking, “Do you have a cat?” When I asked how she was able to tell, she tactfully replied: “I know that cats sometimes help people write books.”



Monday, May 23rd, 2011

In keeping with a recent resolution, this post is devoted to a writer who is still living… or should I say, already living?  I was delighted but bemused to receive the following request for career advice, on behalf of a family friend whose “youngest son has a liking to write”:

Enis apparently started writing a book (?) when he was 6 and after many redo’s has finalized the 300+ pages recently. It’s in English, he attends a British primary school in Ankara. He has written poetry which has been published in some sort of publication in England through his school. He is very outgoing, active in all theatrical plays & enjoys being the master of ceremony in events. He has contacted someone in the US to publish his book but the deal was so confusing he let go.

His family is seeking some sort of advice on the possibilities of publishing such a book, but more importantly on defining a path to develop his abilities. I thought you may be able to suggest a way or someone who could usher this young fellow.

Needless to say, despite various differences in our characters (I don’t care for being the master of ceremonies, myself), I felt a great sympathy for little Enis. How vividly one can picture the situation sketched in the 8 words: “the deal was so confusing he let go”! Alas, despite my status as the writer of the family, I have little if any idea how a 6-year-old would go about getting a 300-pp novel published in the US or anywhere else.

My response was that the most important thing for such a very young writer is the love and support of his parents; and also that one nice English-language publication venue for children under 13 is the literary magazine Stone Soup. Those interested in the latest American literary trends will find much of interest in the archive of “embryo lit” (if I may coin a term) on themes ranging from Holocaust to Native American.  Personally I recommend the Kafkaesque “They’re Pigs!”, by Adam Jacobs (age 11), and “A Girl With Red Hair Is Nice To Know!”, by Annika Thomas (also 11).

Thanks to the talented living writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus for this amazing image by Nat Farbman: Dutch billiards prodigy Renske Quax feeding cream to his cat.



Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Fans of Kafka and kittens may (must?) enjoy the following:

My intern was particularly impressed by the artistic use made of the hairball: clearly something “in the air” at the current historical moment.  See, for example, the recent excellent article in Modern Cat on how to Celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day in Style:



Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Stylish readers!  I’m London bound for a series of really promising events.  Tomorrow evening I will be heading straight from the airport to the Auburn & Wills clothing store in Notting Hill, for a double-booking with the visibly fabulous Molly Parkin:


“the queen of bohemia resplendent in her urban turban”

This event must not be missed by anyone who (a) is in London, (b) loves literature, and (c) needs to pick up some light yachting wear.

Seriously when we were going over the schedule, my publicist mentioned that I should pack something elegant for a photo shoot.  I immediately got demoralized, because all two of my pairs of leggings now have holes in them – and then I was like, “Wait – if I’m reading in a clothing store, can I just buy something there?”

“Oh, yes – I believe you get a discount,” my publicist said, a shade hesitantly.  “It’s just, the clothes might be a bit preppy.”

stonyfold cardigan


Clearly Ms. Parks and I are gonna fit right in.  I actually have my eye on this rather attractive duvet cover to wear to my next engagement:

duvet cover


This will be at the British Museum on February 21, where I will talk about Cervantes, Balzac, and Double-Entry Bookkeeping, as part of the LRB Winter Lecture Series, the other two speakers in which series being, hilariously, Judith Butler (who spoke on the Kafka papers controversy) and TJ Clark (who spoke on Picasso).  A huge honor and I plan to dress accordingly.

Apropos of all my hard work researching Kafka and kittens last year, I was delighted to note that Quirk Classics, the visionaries who brought us Android Karenina, are finally putting out a Kafka-kitten mash-up:


Looking sharp, little guy!


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Last year, I enrolled this site in the Amazon Associates program.  This means I get a 4% kickback on any purchase that anyone ever makes on Amazon after following a link from my blog.  E.g. if, after toying with the idea of buying my book, you realize that what you really wanted was a hand-signed item of Packers Patriots memorabilia, that’s still like 3 oz. of tartar-fighting dental snacks for my intern right there!1

Having received my January 2011 earnings report, I wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who, over the past month, found occasion to take care of any small shopping needs through these pages.  Your support is greatly appreciated! I’d also like to both thank and wish a speedy recovery to the nameless reader who, having entered Amazon from one of my links, proceeded to purchase a set of lightweight aluminum crutches.

Lumex 3611lf-8 Universal Aluminum Lightweight Adult Tall Crutches

  1. The Amazon report does not, of course, identify the purchasers – just whatever they bought.