16th January 2018
In a past career I used to submit articles to newspapers. I was lucky to have some published in The Times, The Telegraph, the Financial Times and a paper which only exists as a free sheet now, The Evening Standard.
At that time (nearly thirty years ago) it was hard to catch an editor’s eye; specially if they already had their own cookery columnists. That didn’t stop me thinking up an endless stream of ideas and sending them off. Here is an idea for a book that I found recently, illustrated by my own drawings (which you can see above):
It was to be called ‘Just another glossy cookbook’ . With the designs I sent a note saying:
“Would you like to discuss it with me? I will happily bombard you with glowing criticisms of my past work, more details of the layout with recipe suggestions and some other articles I have been writing which I hope to have published shortly in Taste Magazine.”
Since this never made it to print, I must assume that my cheeky request was ignored or refused.
Now I spend my time writing a blog, which has no need to be submitted to an editor. So those of you who follow it here will know that I can choose what to write about and to give my own opinions, without being told ‘Not for us, thank you.’
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When to keep quiet
These comments are from John Le Carre, famous author of espionage novels (of which he wrote more than 20).
On his personal life:
“I hate the telephone. I can’t type. I ply my trade by hand. I live on a Cornish cliff and hate cities. Three days and nights in a city are about my maximum. I don’t see many people. I write and walk and swim and drink.”
Advice for other writers:
“A good writer is an expert on nothing except himself. And on that subject, if he is wise, he holds his tongue”
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Comments about relationships are not new; it isn’t just social media that makes us evaluate who our friends are. Here are two thoughts from very different periods: James Baldwin (1924 – 1987) and Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662).
“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”
(American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America.
“I lay it down as a fact that if all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.”
(French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. In 1642, while still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines. After three years of effort and 50 prototypes, he built 20 finished machines (called Pascal’s calculators) over the following 10 years, establishing him as one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator. Pascal had poor health, especially after the age of 18, and he died just two months after his 39th birthday.)
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Some quotes on memory
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. Abraham Lincoln
Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us. Oscar Wilde
Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all. Kurt Cobain
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. Albert Schweitzer
Nothing fixed a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. Michel de Montaigne
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. Steven Wright
There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory and I forget the third. Timothy Leary