Letters to the Editor

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Fame as an author is coming more slowly than I expected, so yesterday I decided to take a short-cut: I wrote a letter to the Adelaide Advertiser.  And it was published this morning!

It wasn’t anything momentous. I was just expressing agreement with an article by Tory Shepherd in the same paper, reinforcing the point that race, culture and religion are distinct things.  I suggested that the three are often mischievously conflated so as to pin the label ‘Racist’ on people who object to some religious beliefs or cultural practices.

But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the reasons why people write to newspapers – why I write to newspapers.  I’m honestly not sure whether I do it because a) I sincerely believe that my small voice, added to a swell of others, may lead to some incalculable but significant improvement in the condition of humanity; or b) I’m an egotistical attention-seeker frustrated by my own impotence.

Do you write to newspapers? If so, why?

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The Bomb

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Remember when we were all afraid of being annihilated in a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR (aka ‘the Russians’)? At least, that’s what historians tell us; I don’t remember being afraid of that personally.

Well now there are so many people with their fingers on so many buttons that nuclear annihilation is just part of the scenery. If Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have nuclear bombs – whether of the atomic or the hydrogen variety – it’s a matter of when and how big, not if.  It’s like the next mega-volcanic eruption or the next really big asteroid strike or the next Global Financial Crisis.  Why waste emotional energy worrying about it?

This post was inspired by Kim Jong Un’s latest test, of course.  Nuclear bomb test, I mean, not psychiatric.  And also by a cool animation I saw in the Washington Post showing the size, location and perpetrator of every test since 1946.  Do have a look.

Self-Publishing

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My sci-fi trilogy is now for sale at Amazon/Kindle.  That was possible only now because Amazon does not sell books at a price of zero, so I couldn’t upload it to them while the 1st book (‘Eeks’) was free.

I’ve changed the covers too. Now they’re more like standard sci-fi book covers, in accordance with the advice from Smashwords: “Your cover is a promise to the reader.”  There’s a language of book covers that we all subconsciously know.  An unknown author struggling to be seen cannot afford to be too original.

You can see the new covers on the ‘Books – The Eeks Trilogy’ page of this blog.

Writing the books was taxing but fun. Following the white rabbit (symbolising Fame and Fortune?) into the world of self-e-publishing has been a bizarre experience.  To get through the door Alice had to drink the potion that made her smaller.  So did I.  I drank the potion and found myself in a world teeming with best-sellers, block-busters and authors that people had heard of.  I was and remain a pygmy.  My poor little books jostle with 24 million others at Amazon alone, each one jumping up and down, waving it’s virtual hands in the air and shouting, “Me! Me! Click on me!”

Then I discovered that writing the books and publishing the books were the easy bits. Publicising the books – that’s the hard bit.  Watch this space for updates about my experiences down the rabbit hole.

Good Advice for Good Health

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My friend Ron Allan forwards a lot of interesting material to me, and I acknowledge him as the source of the following two slivers of good advice:
     Dietary:  “Eat what grandma used to eat.”
     Life style: “Exertion and exercise, like grandpa used to do.”

That’s not an either/or thing, by the way.  If you eat dripping sandwiches and treacle pudding, as many grandmas did not so long ago, you need to do 10 hours of hard physical labour six days a week.

Vacancies at the Midland Bank

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The other day I came across this advertisement in a British newspaper, dated 1960.

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I think it’s an interesting capsule of social history. Single ladies could apply for permanent employment, with pension rights and the promise of a gratuity on marriage.  Married ladies were restricted to temporary employment, but at the same rates of pay.

You may, like me, be intrigued by the bank’s address. Poultry is still a road in the commercial heart of London.  It runs for 100 metres between Cheapside and Cornhill, immediately to the south-west of the Bank of England and close to Grocers’ Hall Court, Old Jewry and Ironmonger Lane.  It was where chickens were sold 500 years ago.

I love places that retain their history in their names – and in their monuments (see my earlier post ‘Cecil Rhodes and Other Reminders’). There was a call to change the name of Liverpool’s Penny Lane, made famous by The Beatles, because it was named after the slave-trader James Penny.  I’m glad to say that the good Councillors decided against a change.