Sunday, October 17, 2010

Have courage

One author withdrew his manuscript from Vestal Review for the following reason:

"The reason for withdrawal is: It's going to be rejected anyway."

Have courage, fellow writers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A politically incorrect way of teaching English

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to come up with a politically incorrect limerick that involves the typical conundrum of a technology project manager, presents a geography lesson and teaches ESL students the usage of the interrogative pronoun “what,”

continue reading

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Life at First Try in CompLit

Recently, My life at First Try was introduced to a Comparative Literature class in one of the California universities. The following are the questions I got from the students and my answers to them.

1. Did you intend MY LIFE AT FIRST TRY for a younger audience? Is this connected
to your decision to make the book available on Kindle? What about the short chapters?

2. What was the flash-fiction chapter decision all about?

3. Is Alex ever happy?

4. What is up with Alex’s obsession with Annie?

5. How did you pick the chapter titles, and did you have anything to do with the fact that the titles are separated by quite a lot of space on the page?

6. Do you consider yourself a postmodernist?

A comment from a student in the back row in the undergraduate class:

Alex is the most baddass Russian engineer I’ve ever read about!

1. No, I intended MLAFT for the kids of all ages. As a matter of fact, I had one chapter (later removed) where Alex turned 80, finally become an adult and met space aliens. As for Kindle, that’s my publisher’s decision. The short paragraphs are intended for modern people with short attention spans who want more for less
(be that money or time).
2. See above. Also, I love flash. I love it so much that I publish a magazine of flash fiction, Vestal Review,
3. Yes, Alex is always happy. Unless he is not. Happiness is fragile and fleeting and sometimes you can’t tell if a person is happy or sad by observing him. More importantly, is Alex becoming a better, wiser person? What do you think?
4. Alex is an explorer. He wants something new, and the less attainable, the better.
5. The titles are to add to the action describes in each chapter. As for spaces, that’s the publisher’s decision.
6. I have never tried to classify myself. Classification means you have an assigned place on a bookshelf. I don’t want to remain in one place. Like Alex, I want to be the most badass Russian-American writer you’ve ever heard of.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Somali pirates attempt attack on Dutch warship (and no one gets hurt)

Today, Somali pirates foolishly attacked a Dutch worship. The heroic Dutchmen beat back the attack, flew over to the mothership “finding ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades on board… The two skiffs were destroyed and the pirates were set free on the mothership after it had been cleared of weapons.

Now, why did the big-hearted Dutch release the pirates? In olden times, they (the pirates and not the Dutchmen) would have been all hung on the gallows until dead. Right now, losing the weapons and skiffs is only the price of doing business for the pirates. They will use their multi-million dollar ransom to buy newer and better equipment. Of course, the pirates in the olden times were not poor fishermen deprived of their livelihood. Wait a minute? Who were they? Knights of the Garter? Prosperous bourgeois? Rich intellectuals who spent time writing for the Open Salon? The excuse of poverty will never justify robbery and mayhem.

Without an effective deterrent, the pirates will continue to multiply, no matter how many flying Dutchmen, armed to the teeth, would roam the seas.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Paradise hotel in the Bahamas

After reading some reviews at Tripadvisor, I didn't want to go to Atlantis, which is situated on Paradise Island in the city of Nassau, Bahamas, but it was much better than I thought it would be. We arrived on February 24 after a 12-hour trip (missed our connection in Philadelphia because of the weather). The hotel was overly expensive--$1500 for 4 nights in the cheapest room not counting food, transportation and entertainment--but otherwise enjoyable. The service was good, the staff helpful (except for the casino bar) and the water attractions amazing. I was worried about crime, but I haven’t seen any signs of trouble. I stayed at the Beach Towers, so the view wasn’t great, but still I saw palm trees from the balcony while they were having a snowstorm in New York. And of course, I couldn’t get into the water back home unless I used a bathtub. Aquatic life was a must-see. Some of the water attractions, such as the Dolphin Cove were expensive, $120/person, but most were free. Turtles, sharks, stingrays, all kinds of fishes. So, not quite paradise one earth, but a good destination for a short winter break.