I LOVE this.
I LOVE this.
"What do you want from me? I'm just an actor. Just an actor."
Does anyone (Tulsa?) strongly agree or disagree with my choices? Or just think that all the posts are rubbish?? Do let me know what you think.
Pick of the Archive: Favourite Posts, Jan. - March '07 (Part 2)
1) Nothing ventured, nothing gained - 28th February
I recount a favourite anecdote (about the colourful Depression-era politician, Huey Long) which has - oddly (inappropriately?) enough - provided me with an inspiring motto in life.
"History would require Balboa."
I had been aiming to limit myself to something more like 20-25 recommendations for the first quarter of this year, but..... well, March was a bumper month (it was an especially fertile period for my 'Where in the world am I?' strand, which was about to be brought to an end by my revelation that I was indeed living in China). And once I'd put something down on the 'provisional' list, I just couldn't bring myself to discard it again. I fear I am just not ruthless enough for this.
I would hope that enthusiastic readers might find the stamina to work through most of my output eventually. I would particularly urge you to read through the 'Label' categories in the side-bar.
Naturally, Poetry (my own) is the section I would most wish to find an appreciative readership. And - whatever qualities my poems may lack - they do have the advantage of being short.
I am also quite proud of the 'Where in the world am I?' series. Although I used to give this label also to my occasional routinely diaristic pieces (that almost invariably allude to the difficulties of life in China for a foreigner), I should perhaps more properly have confined the category to the posts on China that I wrote in a deliberately 'anonymized' style (usually beginning with the cryptic formula "I live in a country where...."). There were only 44 of these, and I think they represent some of the best writing on this blog.
Anyway, I will try to render this next list of 'top picks' a bit more manageable by dividing it into two batches. Enjoy.
Pick of the Archive: Favourite Posts, Jan. - March '07 (Part 1)
Some observations on Chinese musical tastes - or the lack thereof.
A favourite passage from the determinedly 'poetic' Irish novelist, John Banville, reminds me of a Great Lost Love.
3) Yes, but WHO are you? (Where in the world am I? ) - 28th March
Shortcomings of Chinese telephone technique - illustrated with a transcription of an actual call.
4) On a lighter note - 28th March
One of my favourite, silly 'love poems' - and it was classically inspired, to boot.
5) Death to the trees! (Where in the world am I? ) - 27th March
I am not by any means a "tree-hater" (as some of my detractors unfairly suggest), but there is a powerful - I would say overwhelming - argument that Beijing has too many trees, and this is it.
6) Everything returns.... - 26th March
One of my older poems, this; but one that I feel has stood the test of time well.
7) 101 Uses of a Sidewalk (Where in the world am I? ) - 24th March
If I had to choose only one 'Where in the world am I?' post for inclusion in a 'time capsule', I think this would be it.
8) First fruit - 23rd March
Multiple treasures here: a photograph, a thumbnail eulogy, links to several other worthwhile websites, and an excerpt from the wonderful Scots writer, Ivor Cutler.
9) A romantic haiku - 23rd March
This was a tribute to Great Lost Love, The Poet (hell, I wooed her with it!) - probably the most romantic thing I have ever written.
10) Supplement: Where queue-jumping really rankles (Where in the world am I? ) - 22nd March
This is the one 'China rant' that is obligatory for all foreigners living here; I hope that I have done a better job of it than most other 'China-bloggers' (a group I mostly disdain).
11) A long suppressed Roger Hargreaves title? (Where in the world am I? ) - 20th March
'Found humour' - I share some serendipitous silliness from my sessions in the recording studio.
12) More on The Evil One - 15th March
I indulge in more "painfully frank" autobiography about The Great Lost Love of my life, as a preamble to another of my older poems.
13) It doesn't ***** work! (Where in the world am I? ) - 13th March
A can-opener that doesn't open cans? Only in China!
14) The School for Henchmen - 13th March
One of my funniest, one of my weirdest posts - it all came to me in a dream, honestly.
15) The Good Cabbie (Where in the world am I? ) - 7th March
I celebrate an unexpected 'positive taxi experience', to reaffirm that the WITWAI? series isn't all 'rants'.
16) My kitchen is CRAP (Where in the world am I? ) - 6th March
Long, self-indulgent catharsis - one of my most tedious posts, I think, but still funny in parts.
17) Thought (motto?) of the week - 5th March
This, I think, is the best (so far) of my self-composed bon mots.
18) A happy discovery - 4th March
I happen upon a previously unknown and heart-breakingly marvellous piece of E.E. Cummings - and immediately feel compelled to share it with the world.
"Faciunt solitudinem; pacem appellunt."
("They make a desert; they call it 'Peace'.")
I'm not sure if this is meant to evoke the eternal existential dilemma of humankind, or if it's just satirizing the insidious power of advertising, or.......
But I know that I like it.
My earlier posts today were uncharacteristically heavy, so I thought I'd toss in something a little more frivolous.
PS Since I am unable to access Yee's 'comment' pages (I can only view him via Anonymouse now), I wonder if one of my overseas readers would be kind enough to say 'hi' to him on my behalf, and leave a link to this post there for him. Thanks.
Anyway, the joke: