Process Goals Achieved
In order to feel some forward motion, I have to progress in ways other than publishing the book. I have limited control with publishing, because I am waiting for others to act. I can edit and improve the manuscript, but the manuscript may be completely finished. I do not want to make changes until I get responses from the small houses.
So, how do I progress in the meantime? Well, I have set up other systems that allow progress. I have mentioned my country collection. That has led to some fun projects. I will report on them now.
By the way, everybody, I have noticed that you are not writing a book along with me and reporting on how the experience is going for you. I can tell, because you continue to be silent. One guy, Om.D., commented generously one day. Om.D. is now a sort of hero to me, even though I may not be spelling his avatar correctly--or hers.
Okay, more about me. I know. You are dying to hear about my supposed progress. First of all, I have two new countries since yesterday. I am going to list my country collection:
Armenia. Oh, part of the process goal project for me is to learn about the countries from which people have visited. Armenia, about which I knew little, and still know little, but more than before, was one of the first to appear in the blog data as audience. I finished reading a novel about the Armenian deaths during World War One. Was the war involving Armenia, Germany, and Turkey the War to End All Wars? If not, it fed into it. I read Sandcastle Girls. It is a novel with a love story and a story about family that tells a bit about the killing of 1.5 million Armenians. Set in Syria, Egypt, Palestine, and the United States, in 1915, the story is told from the perspective of an American woman whose Bostonian grandmother volunteered in a hospital in Syria as Armenians arrived by the truckload having endured starvation, rape, and exposure to murder, rape and other crimes when not directly victimized. The Turks were nationalizing. This,during the Ottoman Empire, shows a different side of that empire than what is described in Jerusalem, 1913. In that book, at least in the first chapters, the mixed community of religions lives peacefully together. They are not equally treated by the leadership or the government, but the minority is not murdered.
Here, the leadership's decision to kill the Christians--the Armenians--is not explained. What can the thinking of the Turks have been at the time? It seems like nationalism, but I will have to get back to you on that. I am a little bit in the habit of thinking of nationalism lately.
Okay, so Armenia is its own work in progress
Australia. I have to delve into Australia further. I have almost nothing to report on Australia. George Grey was a New Zealander from Great Britain, I think, so I cannot count his story. I do have a book list for Australia that I look forward to pursuing.
Brazil, Belgium, Barbados. Three B's about which I have nothing yet to report. Still, that makes five countries that I am going to research.
China, Cameroon, Canada. That makes eight. I have learned that Cameroon has many languages. The two official languages are English and French. French is more widely spoken. Many other languages are spoken in Cameroon. One of those is Beba. I have read a book that I enjoyed and that has been well-received critically. Your Madness, Not Mine by Makuchi was my introduction to Cameroon.
In Cameroon the community is somewhat broken by languages. It does not seem exactly like a rivalry, but there is something going on. Few enough people speak English as compared to the French speakers that there is a clear minority. Less speakers of English locally make less readers of English locally. It is an interesting problem. I used to live in a neighborhood where most of the people were Jewish. I was young enough to believe that most people in the world were Jewish. I felt so sorry for the Christian family whose kids went to my school. I wondered what life must be like for them to be so isolated.
With the world speaking English in so many countries, I wonder if the Anglophone people of Cameroon feel any solidarity or connection with other speakers of English. I think that such a feeling would have to be abstract or faith-based.
The Christian family may not have known that the neighborhood where they moved was Jewish. It may have only affected the children. The parents went to work in the world of Christians. The village was mixed, so the businesses in the town were not Jewish. The school was public, so the parents might not have known right away about the neighborhood. The kids would not have noticed until a holiday arose. Jewish holidays were not celebrated in school, so it may not have come up for them until seventh grade.
Still, I knew. If I knew, someone must have told me. "They are Christian." "Oh," I would have answered, "I thought that was just for television shows and movies. Is Christianity a real thing?"
Okay, enough about that for now.
Armenia, Australia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Denmark. The woman who wrote Out of Africa was Danish. I am reading a book by a Dane right now in which a man returned to earth from Heaven because of his boots. That must been a hell of a pair of boots.
Finland, France. Oh, I thought that the Faroe Islands had something to do with Finland, but my more recent reading connects them to Denmark. It could be like the West Indies and other groups of islands that are governed by various entities.
Greece, Germany, Honduras, Haiti. Nothing to report there, yet. India, Indonesia, Israel. I increased by Rosenzweig, Benjamim, and Scholem reading with the hope of readership from Israel, but one never knows. Schopenhauer got me thinking about Hawaii 5-0 in a new way. I watched an episode last night. A man in prison who was attacked by other inmates grabs a gun and shoots the leader of the prisoners that led the attack. He takes control of the situation and takes hostages including McGarrett.
I know. Exciting. McGarrett bravely offers himself in exchange for the other hostages. He wants to get inside. He wants to find out what is really going on--and he does. Oh, that Steve McGarrett. He does it all in a fabulous blue suit to jazzy music that sometimes sounds like the Doors--but not quite.
Anyhow, the prisoner has demands. That is what I thought of during my reading of Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption bit about Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer concerned himself with what we can get out of life. As human beings, what can we get? We die and take nothing with us, so what is it that we can gain? The prisoner is unhappy. At first he just wants to get out of jail. He might have been fine, but the attack makes him want to leave. It is like suicide in that some people do not want to continue to live on earth after a bad experience. Prison is his world and he wants out. He has the assumption that life on the outside will be better for him.
Suicidal people have some belief that death will be better than life. Otherwise, they could not choose it.
The prisoner discovers that he will not have the option of getting out of jail. McGarrett talks to the prisoner about this as an opportunity. It is a spiritual episode. Well, in my head it is. This man can make a difference. The prison has problems that have led to the violence that started the day.
The man begins to list his demands. The old-timers who are gay should be kept separate from the young men who come in fresh. The people who handle and prepare the food are next door to the infirmary. Contagious illnesses should be better contained than they are, and food should be separate from the diseases that can penetrate the prison walls. The hobby building that burned down was never replaced. The list continues. This man will not get out for many years, but he can do things that make the world better.
There is almost nothing that we can do for ourselves in life. All that we can hope to do is make the world as good as possible for our children or for other people or for ourselves. Can that be it? I have to read some Schopenhauer for myself.
Okay, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Barbados, Brazil, China, Cameroon, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Moldova (new today!), Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Romania, South Korea, Saudia Arabia (new today!) Switzerland, Sweden, Serbia, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Ukraine. How many? Thirty-eight!
So, I had some progress with new countries. Also, I have finally signed up for a writers conference. I am going in May. What else? I finished Sandcastle Girls.
And I wrote this post.
P.S. Here is what I have picked up regarding Bessarabian prose, literature in Moldova or from Moldova. Iulian Ciocan recommends work by Aureliu Busuioc, Vasile Gârneţ, and Grigore Chiper. Dalkey Archive Press consistently publishes the best European fiction. The link has an interview with a writer from Moldova, Ciocan, whose "Auntie Frosea" appears in the 2011 anthology. (That is a facebook link, but there are probably other ways to find it. I do not use facebook, yet, and have no idea how I happened onto that link.) By the way, "Auntie Frosea" sounds great. The protagonist learns about the outside world from a soap opera that she watches. I can totally relate, except for the soap opera part and the not otherwise knowing about the outside world. Still, I understand the way that people like to control the way that new information about the world comes into their existences. I have to feel brave to see a movie, but I can be tired and in a bad mood to watch a program that has a formula with which I am familiar. I wish Peter Falk had made more episodes of Columbo and traveled more as Columbo. Was his visit to the bullfighting world an authentic portrayal of the culture in that episode? I am not sure whether he went to Mexico or Spain or somewhere else. I have seen so much Ricardo Montalban lately that I am not sure whether he was the villain in that episode. Lately, Montalban has appeared in my daily dosage of Hawaii 5-0 quite often. I wonder how many different ethnicities he has portrayed. That may be something that I look at next. I am quite busy with my Schopenhauer 5-0 issue as it is. That is something to save for my old age, perhaps.