Friday, November 7, 2008

chutzpah: a definition

here's an illustration of a mouse demonstrating "chutzpah" (from William Steig's Doctor De Soto):

chutzpah is not a word you meet much in the UK.
At least last time I checked.

I like it. It's perfect. I may adopt it as my own. and even start using it on my Friends and Relations next time I'm back and see if I can't introduce it to England.

Plus it's really nice to say.
Except, of course, CAUTION: you do need to know how to say it or you sound like a ninny and the very opposite of the word you're using.

(clue for any chutzpah beginners: it's not "ch" as in church; it's "ch" as in more like you're having a coughing fit)

Anyway, it was Leo Rosten (b. 1908 in Poland) who first put in writing the famous and best definition of chutzpah as "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

worrying and writing

"When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God's business."
Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964)

Hmm. I wonder what she'd have said to those people who say (I once heard a whole panel of them say it to a whole bunch of authors) it's an authors job to worry about what happens to the book once it leaves your hands and it doesn't matter these days so much about the content of the book it's all about the platform of the author and whether he or she looks great on camera and is presentable and good at interviews.

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's Time to Sleep, My Love

my dear dear friend has a magnificent talent and a glorious new book out to prove it. Stunningly illustrated by Uber NYT Bestseller Nancy Tillman. Eric's poem is heart-stoppingly beautiful. There's even an incredible tune (composed by Sally Taylor, the daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon no less!) that's available on CD. what company he keeps! (CAUTION: before listening be sure to be ready for bed. it will send you straight to sleep.) (Better buy it first.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

happy nyc marathon day!

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the matriarch of American distance running, winner of the first Olympic marathon for women in 1984 and pioneer in bringing acceptance to women’s distance running said: “Marathoning is a metaphor for life, so there are a lot of parallels you can draw. I tell people to follow your dream, follow your heart, follow your passion, run your own race and believe in yourself. I think anybody who wants to succeed has to have passion.” above: exhaustion gives way to elation as runners round the bottom of the park and head towards the finish check out the course and run it in three and a half minutes flat here.

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