Love and hypocrisy in Iran

In Iran, they say, there are two books in every household  – the Koran and Hafez. One is read, the other is not. To understand this joke you need do no more than join the millions who regularly throng the tomb of Hafez, 14th century poet of Shiraz and Iran’s national hero, as I did […]


No day without a line

Back to it.  Been ridiculously busy at work (eek, for two years!), but I need to do my daily writing katas.

Random thoughts on the death of a dog

Some friends of ours just lost their dog. I think back to what it was like when our dogs died when I was young, and feel the pain again.

Goodbye, Chai. You were most definitely a Good Dog, and I’m sorry you never got to meet our dog Strider.  He’s getting older, and I don’t look forward to the day he dies, hopefully a long, long time from now.  Goodbye again to Gigi, Terry and Sniffer, my old companions.

Recommended reading:  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  I read this almost by accident, as I ordered it on my Kindle when I’d intended only to read a sample…and then couldn’t put it down.  Sad and joyous, all at once.

High Art: The Beautiful Writing of Anton Ego in Ratatouille (via Men Like Trees Walking)

I loved the ‘defense of the new’ monologue. It was…refreshing.

Well, it certainly ain’t James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, but Ratatouille, Pixar’s stellar computer animated film about a Rat’s quest to cook, has some great language capping the end of the film. The writer behind the food critic, Anton Ego, uses a turn of phrase and some self-analysis of a critic’s role that is both touching and enlightening. Of course, if you are an intellectual gatekeeper who likes Finnegan’s Wake, feels the need to sprinkle in … Read More

via Men Like Trees Walking

Another day, another line

Is it still juvenalia when you do your writing warm ups well into a career spent elsewhere?  What should this be called?  Do I dare to eat a peach? I have heard the paper books calling each to each, but at this point in my career, they do not call to me.

What’s next?

No day without a line

All work and no play makes Dak a dull boy.

We went to see “How to Train Your Dragon” today.  Very refreshing, charming, even uplifting.  Our seats were terrible, and we saw it in 2D, but it was still great.  Very much looking forward to seeing it in 3D or 3D IMAX.  Might be too much for our daughter, though; she cried…and then wanted to see it again.

Making room, cleaning up, and moving on

I intended to write in THIS blog every day, but I’ve been busy looking for my next gig, and to that end, updating my business blog, talking to people, having meetings, etc. So I am doing “Nulla dies” but not here.

Today is a gorgeous day; sunny, temperate, mild. The birds are singing. Last night is expected to be the last night where the temperature drops below freezing for the season. I’ve taken several bins of paper recycling out of my office, vacuumed thoroughly, and have more to do. Set up a couple more meetings for this week.

This week’s goal for writing is to turn my office into a “writing machine” where my references are all handy, my computer properly placed, and an overall sense of calm and order is in place.

Making good progress.

I am reminded of a passage by one of my professorial undergraduate inspirations (Robert Grudin), when I moved from an engineering university (Washington University in St. Louis) to an arts and letters university (University of Oregon). I believe it was his book “The Grace of Great Things.” He sat down to write a chapter of his book, and noticed that his office was dingy with leftover cigar smoke. In cleaning up, and wiping away the grime, his mind cleared, and he was able to sit down and write without ceasing, refreshed and renewed.

Spring cleaning, airing the house, and clearing the mind are all wound tightly together for me now.

Best wishes from Toronto,


Writing inspiration sources: The moving finger writes, and having written, moves on

Omar Khayyam was a poet. Almost everyone knows this. What is less known is that he was an outstanding mathematician, and as was fairly typical at the time for mathematicians, a noted astronomer. His ability to study mathematics was severely curtailed by the murder of his patron by the Assassins, nearly 1000 years ago. (Yes, the fanatic religious sect which gives us that name, were some of the earliest terrorists.)

The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

“I was unable to devote myself to the learning of this algebra and the continued concentration upon it, because of obstacles in the vagaries of time which hindered me; for we have been deprived of all the people of knowledge save for a group, small in number, with many troubles, whose concern in life is to snatch the opportunity, when time is asleep, to devote themselves meanwhile to the investigation and perfection of a science; for the majority of people who imitate philosophers confuse the true with the false, and they do nothing but deceive and pretend knowledge, and they do not use what they know of the sciences except for base and material purposes; and if they see a certain person seeking for the right and preferring the truth, doing his best to refute the false and untrue and leaving aside hypocrisy and deceit, they make a fool of him and mock him.”
Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra (1070)