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Thursday, March 29, 2007

TODAY I BOUGHT HYACINTHS

"If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth." Persian saying.

Spring is here, at last, after more than 20 days straight of rain. The sun is shining and it's finally warming up. And today, I bought hyacinths.

I love the fragrance and the colour of these flowers. To me, along with daffodils and tulips, they are a real sign of Spring and new life. I love their name, and the story that tells how the flower originated.

Each year the ancient Greeks celebrated the festival of Hyacinthus, which lasted throughout the tranquil night. In a contest with Apollo Hyacinthus was slain. They had been competing in discus throwing, and the god's swift cast sped beyond the goal and struck Hyacinthus full in the forehead. He had been Apollo's dearest companion. There was no rivalry between them when they tried to see who could throw the discus the farthest; they were only playing a game. The god was horror struck to see the blood gush forth from the terrible wound and Hyacinthus fall to the ground. Hyacinthus was dead and Apollo knelt beside him weeping. "Oh, if only I could give my life for yours or die with you!"

As Hyacinthus' blood stained the grass there blossomed a wondrous flower that was to make the boy's name known forever. Apollo himself inscribed the petals with Hyacinthus' intial -- or as others say, the two letters of the Greek word that means "Alas" -- a memorial to the god's great sorrow.

When I was living in Greece, and tutoring English to the children of a dentist's family, I wanted to bring the mother a gift. So I bought a pot of beautiful purple hyacinths. I was quite suprised and puzzled to find that instead of keeping them on her window sill so she could enjoy their sweet fragrance and lovely blooms, she had stuck them outside on the porch. It wasn't until later that I found out that Greeks consider hyacinths a funeral flower -- ( I guess the way we think of lilies as funeral flowers).

Hyacinths do remind of Greece in other ways too. When I lived in Plaka, I was talked into co-writing a mystery novel for a fellow in our group who we called Gary Hollywood, a wanna-be writer/painter. He handed me an 80 page badly written outline of a story and thought he could publish it as is. I needed some money, so I offered to co-write it for him and in fact developed it into a 400 page pretty good first draft. One of the eccentric characters in the story, a gay guy on the island of Mykonos, was named Hyacinthos. I was just thinking about this book the other day when I saw some hyacinths that reminded me of it. Mr. Hollywood asked to see the manuscript, then he refused to return it but sent it off to a publishers. Naturally it wasn't accepted because it was only a first draft. Little did he know, I had the copy (and still do). And I was thinking the other day, if I ever find the time, perhaps I should drag it out of the archives and see what I can do with it.

Ah...so many stories...so little time to work on everything!
I've been sticking really well to my schedule lately of writing. I've finished marketing most of the travel stories. Still have to write the Chile story. But now I'm mainly working on my novel as I want to try and finish as much as possible before I leave on my trip mid May.

The travel marketing has been rather discouraging and the other night I was out having beers with some travel writing peers and began to feel really like a 'failure' when it comes to selling stuff. One of the writers present started out in one of my travel writing classes and has since become very successful with loads of publications and free trips thrown in. The other woman present also has numerous publications and is good at pitching ideas. I'm just plugging along hoping for the best but finding out that most of the markets don't want to pay a coin for all your hard work and nowadays the newspapers are taking very little freelance. To get into any of the top travel writer's organizations, you have to have at least 10 paid publications a year. For me, at this rate, that ain't gonna happen. And sometimes I have to wonder if it's all worth it.

But...like so many others...I write because I have to write, and want to write, and for that reason won't stop. Now here I am going off to Greece again (and Venice) with a list of story ideas to research while I'm there. So I guess I'll just keep on trying and hope that I find another editor who likes my works and keeps the door open. (It's been awhile, but it has happened to me in the past.) And as for the novel...If I don't quite wind it up by mid May at least I know it's closer to the finish and what I am writing is good. I'm satisfied it's going to be a success, something I can really be proud of. And then...maybe I'll have another look at that old Icon novel and see if I can resurrect Hyacinthos.

"On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome."
Edgar Allan Poe 18009- 1848 "To Helen" (1831) st.2


Thursday, March 22, 2007

AN ODYSSEY IN THE IONIAN ISLANDS

Note: this was intended for my travel blog but wouldn't post there.
Two months from now my friend and I will be aboard a ferry sailing down the Dalmation Coast from Venice to Igoumenitsa, Greece. From there we stop at the pretty little port of Parga and then head for Lefkada for a return visit to lovely Egremeni Beach, at the foot of the high cliffs where the poet Sappho lept to her death (6th c. B.C.) It was there that I conceived the idea for my w.i.p. play "House of the Muses" and I hope this return visit will inspire me to finish writing it. I've visted the Ionian islands several times in the past, and the following is an article I wrote about one of those visits.

SWIMMING WITH THE RICH AND FAMOUS
The Ionian Islands of Greece’s west coast, have inspired poets like Homer, Sappho, Cavafy and Lord Byron. The sea here is so transparent you can see straight into the depths. The wind has eroded the shoreline to form sheer cliffs and extraordinary caves where once pirates lurked and often hid their treasures. The pale, platinum clear water, still as enamel one moment, can turn into a raging tempest when the wind shifts.

Kefalonia is the largest and most mountainous of the islands. Its coast forms steep cliffs and small bays with magnificent, wind-protected beaches. Pretty villages of pastel stone houses cluster around the curves of sandy bays. Little coves that used to shelter pirate galleons and Venetian merchant ships are harbours for yachts from all over the world. Resort hotels dot the shoreline, especially near the gold sand beaches of Platia Gialos and Poros.
Kefalonia has often been visited by famous people, most notably the poet Lord Byron, who often came here to enjoy the scenery. In the village of Metaxata, there’s a plaque on the house where he stayed just before he went off to Messolonghi to fight the Turks, and later died of pneumonia.

More recently, British author Louis de Bernieres, made the island of Kefalonia famous with his best selling novel “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, about a young Italian officer posted to the island as one of the occupying forces during W.W.II.
As I watched the glorious sunset from the Venetian-style lighthouse, Fenari, I contemplated the many tragedies that have befallen this beautiful island.

In 1953 Kefalonia was devastated by an earthquake, which ruined most of its villages. Almost all the architecture on the island is post-earthquake. The elegant opera house and Venetian-style mansions of Argostoli and Lixouri no longer exist. Here and there on the island lie ruins of destroyed houses, a reminder of the disaster.

From Kefalonia, it’s only a short cruise by ferry over to Ithaka, the small island featured in Homer’s “Odyssey” as the kingdom of the extreme adventurer Odysseus.
A brisk breeze ruffled the water as I watched the dark mountains of Ithaka draw near across the narrows. The boat pulled into one of Ithaka’s secret coves. The port is shaped like a horseshoe. In the centre is a tiny island where a charming seaman’s chapel is surrounded by cypresses. Lord Byron, who often visited Ithaka, used to row out to it each morning to swim.
The harbour of Vathi is surrounded by houses with red-tiled roofs. Cafes animate the waterfront. The summer evening is scented with the smoke of grilling kebabs and fresh-caught fish grilling over charcoal coals.

There is a curious atmosphere here. Ithaka’s hillsides are scented with wild sage and oregano, dotted with vibrant wild-flowers and silvery olive groves. Surrounding the tranquil orchards and vineyards are the high menacing mountains.
The mayor of Vathi invited me to visit the Cave of the Nymphs where a team of American archaeologists and students are busy sifting and sorting through rubble brought up from a ten-meter pit. This cave is believed to be the one where Odysseus hid the gifts given to him by the Phaecians when he returned home after his long, arduous voyage. Later, on our way to the town of Stavros, he drives past the rock-strewn remains of what is believed to be the Bronze Age city.

It’s an Odyssey in itself just getting off Ithaka. The taxi picked me up as scheduled in order to make the sailing to Lefkada. I enjoyed the scenic drive and arrive in plenty of time, but fifteen minutes before the ferry was due to arrive, I discovered that the ferry that had broken down, and we must leave from a different port. After a hair-raising wild race by taxi on a twisting road with hairpin curves and precipices, I arrived at the port just minutes before the ferry sailed.

A school of dolphins frolicked in the surf alongside the ferry as we sailed toward the high sandstone cliffs of Lefkada’s south coast. I disembarked at the pleasant little port
of Vassiliki, a popular centre for wind-surfers. Hundreds of brightly coloured sails skimmed like butterflies over the surface of the Bay. Wind surfers come here from all over Europe.
The next day, I went on a boat cruise around the Cape known as “Sappho’s Leap” where the poet Sappho committed suicide back in 600 BC.

Sailing past Cape Doukas, the towering white cliffs rise from a sea that is as blue as a robin’s egg. The Cape looks like a gigantic wedge of cake with a lighthouse on top for a candle.
The boat anchored at idyllic Egremeni Beach and we scrambled down steep ladders to the shore. I had brought a picnic lunch and a book of Sappho’s love poems and lay on the beach listening to the waves crackle on the pebble shore. As I looked up at those high cliffs from where she plunged, I read her haunting words: “About the cool water, the wind sounds through sprays...”

I extended my visit to Lefkada when I saw an advertisement for another excursion. “Islands Panorama” promised to include Onassis’ island, Skorpios, the island of Madouri, home of Greek national poet Valaortes, and Meganissi, an island famous for its sea caves.
Our first stop was the Cave of Papanikolis. The boat navigated carefully around submerged rocks and entered the mysterious blue cavern. I was surprised to see that there was already another boat inside. I imagined the cave as a pirate’s hideaway.

On the way to the next island stop, we chased a school of dolphins around in circles in the Bay. Dolphins are a rare sight because the fishers, who claim they damage their nets, are killing them. But here in the Ionian Sea there seems to be an abundance, and they are a joy to watch as they splash and dive through the boat’s wake.

The boat circled the island of Skorpios, a small island, densely wooded with cypress and pine trees. The red-tiled roofs of the Onassis’ villas are half-hidden behind the trees. In each little cover there are piers, each with a palm tree planted at the end. Around the dock areas, the grounds are landscaped and showers of magenta bougainvillea spill over the stone fences. One of these villas was a gift to opera singer Maria Callas in the days before Onassis abandoned her in favour of Jacqueline Kennedy.

We were allowed to disembark to swim at a small pebble beach secluded by a thick stand of myrtle bushes. Cicadas trill in the pine trees. As I paddled in the clear, turquoise water, I thought of how not long ago, Jackie O and her children had swam there. So did Maria Callas. And once Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Fayez cruised and frolicked in those same waters.
Skorpios is a symbol of the Rich and Famous, Onassis’ private Garden of Eden. Yet it’s a strange, tragic paradise, with nobody left to enjoy it but Onassis’ granddaughter, Athena, said to be the richest girl in the world.

We cruised away from Skorpios and skirted around the smaller islands, with a stop for a swim at Agiofili Beach. The whole day was a delightful island experience. I even went swimming where the rich and famous once swam.
THE END

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SOME HOT STUFF ON A COLD, WET DAY

"Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end;
Not wedlock-treachery." John Milton 1608-1674 "Paradise Lost" l 1008

It's cold and wet out there again today. Is there no end to this winter? In spite of Spring flowers in bloom and the lovely cherry blossoms budding on the trees, it's still so bleak and wintry. I can only dream, that just two months from now I'll be in Venice, and soon after that heading for sunny Greece.

To break the tedium of the ghastly weather, I thought I'd post some 'hot stuff' to warm things up a little. So here's a chapter segment from my novel Shadow of the Lion. This novel is mainly concerned with the squabbles between the Successors in the years following Alexander the Great's death which will utlimately end in disaster for the dynasty. There's not many parts of the novel where I can include tender love scenes, sex and desire, so I make the most of it when the opportunity arises.

In this scene, someone has attempted to poison Alexander's young son. Iskander and his mother Roxana have been staying in seclusion at the old palace of Aigai in the mountains where the Regent, Polyperchon, thought they'd be safe while he was away dealing with uprisings in Athens. Macedon is on the brink of civil war. Now this has happened, and Polyperchon realizes he must send the boy and his mother away to Epiros for safe-keeping in the care of Alexander's mother Olympias. He and Roxana have been carrying on a clandestine affair, both for their own self-satisfying reasons. Here is a scene between them culminating a series of events that almost ended in the murder of the child.

It was late by the time Polyerchon went to Roxana’s chamber. He knew she would be waiting for him and he steeled himself against the scene he imagined would take place when he told her he was sending her away again. He expected resistance, tears to which she had always been prone.

The guard at her door admitted him without hesitation and he entered into the lamp-lit room. She was waiting for him, pacing the room. Hands on hips she turned to face him. Under the thin fabric of her sleeping robe her naked breasts rose and fell as she caught her breath. He saw the fear in her eyes more clearly than before.

“What news do you bring, my Lord? Have you caught the murderous wretch?” She scanned his face anxiously for an answer.

“He was dead before they got a confession out of him. They’d slit his throat, cut out his tongue.”

She let out a gasp. “Who? Tell me his name so I can put a curse on his grave.”

“His name is Drakon. He was one of the King‘s bodyguards.”

She stiffened and drew back. “Drakon? The one who is Lanike’s grandson?” Her face contorted with rage. “I was certain that horrid old woman had a hand in this!”

“I have questioned Lanike,“ Polyperchon said. “She swore an oath she did not do it. She begged me for clemency.” He spoke quietly trying to calm her. “Lanike is not capable of murder. She has always been a trusted member of the royal households. I believe that the orders came from Kassandros.”

“Isn’t it customary to put to death those family members who’s kinfolk are guilty of murder and treason? This was an act of treason. They clearly meant to kill my child!”

“The sentence of death for the kinfolk is only when it is proven without a doubt and decreed by the Assembly. I believe that Lanike is innocent. I have banished her. She has already left Aigai,”

Roxana blinked, obviously astonished. “You let her go?"

“Undoubtedly the boy was an agent sent by Kassandros. We must be cautious because there may be others.”

“When you find these evil-doers let me be the one to mete out the punishment.”

“You? Such things are not your concern,” he rebuked her. “Leave Macedon’s affairs to me.”

She turned to him with a defiant look on her face. “This is my affair! Someone tried to kill my child! I will avenge this. I am quite capable of seeing to an execution. I have done it before.”

He peered at her through narrowed eyes. “Murder, my Lady?” Her knew her passion for control, recalled the tales that had gone round the camps of her angry tirades and verbal battles with Alexander but he had not, until then, thought she was capable of killing.

“We Soghdians are taught the art of revenge while we are young,” she
responded bluntly

Taking her chin, he forced her to look at him. “Who were your victims?”

Her expression was sullen, her eyes veiled. She turned away imperiously. “There have been several,” she stated bluntly.

His heart chilled at her words. He thought of Medea, the murderous queen of the old legends. Like Medea, Roxana was a foreigner, and just as Jason had been smitten
by Medea, he had loved Roxana since he’d first laid eyes on her on the Soghdian Rock. Now,
for the first time he saw how dangerous she could be.
She stood before him, implacable and splendidly daunting, her face a stony mask.
He saw the cold glimmer in her eyes. Her intensity appalled him.

“You must promise me that you will not meddle in the affairs of the country. Do not exact revenge on Lanike or anyone else you might suppose was responsible for attempting to harm your child. It is my concern, as Regent, and I will see that those who are guilty are brought to justice.
I am sending you to Epiros straightaway,” he said quietly. “Olympias refuses to come to us, so we will go to her. I have sent a dispatch to Commander Kronos. His men will meet you in the mountain pass. You and the child will leave in the morning with an escort of my most trusted guards.”

She stared at him with a look of cold suspicion. “You’re sending me away again? For how long? What if...gods forbid...you don’t come back?” She clung to him fiercely. “My Lord, I have waited in vain for you every day. And now you are here -- only to leave again.” Her voice was husky, thickened by the tears that had welled in her eyes.

He brushed her cheek with his finger. “You will be safe in Epiros. None of your enemies will dare trespass in Olympia’s realm. It is to our benefit to have an ally such as Alexander’s mother. It will only be for a little while, then I’ll be home again. Fear not. I will win this war with Kassandros and settle the disputes with Athens. Then all will be well again.” He took her hand and squeezed it. “Let us enjoy one last private night together,” he suggested, hoping to appease her.

Her face softened as he reached out to her. “May the Gods grant you a victory, my Lord, so that you may return soon.”

He took her face in his hands. “You and the child are precious to me, Little Star. I promise I will not forsake you.”

“Your continuous loyalty to me and my son will not be forgotten,” she said.
She touched her fingers to his lips. “When we both return to Pella, promise we
will be united forever.”

He broke away from her. “I have spent much time pondering this,” he said. “We
must keep this affair secret. Olympias did not take another consort after Philip. She dedicated her life to her son and to denouncing his rivals and enemies. She will expect the same from you.”

She spun to face him, her cheeks flushed. “I am not Olympias!”

“True. But she is. And it will be best for both of us that she does not know of this. Not yet...At least, not until little Alexander ascends the throne. Then we will be able to live together freely.“ He knew, even as he spoke, that his words had a hollow ring to them. He saw how she was stabbed with disappointment. He had promised her marriage vows. Now she would see it was all a guise, designed to satisfy his own lust and ambition.

She whirled away from him, trembling with indignant rage. “I will be no man’s concubine, languishing the long hours away waiting for someone who might never return. Am I no more to you than a campaign prize, easily cast off and just as inconsequential?” she demanded.

He felt regret for himself as well as for her. “It would be foolish for us to wed now,” he said. “We must wait.”

She spun to face him. Her voice was deadly cold. “With or without you I will see my son on the throne of Macedon.”

“For now, I can only promise my loyalty to you and your son -- that I will do my utmost to protect you.”

She shot him a dark glance and opened her mouth to protest. He caught her by the wrist and stopped her words with a kiss. She struggled to free herself from his embrace
but his arms tightened around her pulling her body close against his own. He yearned to possess her. How long had it been since he had last touched her? Weeks? Months?

“Leave me!” The flat of her hand struck his cheek in a sudden stinging blow. “I
won’t lay with you again unless you promise me more than that.”

He stood swaying, shocked by the suddenness of her attack,
but her irrational anger, her wildness, excited him as much as when he faced an adversary in battle. His body ached for her, unleashing a fierce torrent of lust. He felt
intoxicated , as though he had drunk an aphrodisiac. He dug his fingers into her shoulders, felt the searing warmth of her flesh.

Like a rabid vixen, she fought him violently with teeth and nails. He could feel her body convulse with rage as she thrashed about and tried to free herself from his grasp.
“How dare you!” she panted, her voice rising to a shriek.

“Be silent!” he growled. “You‘ll alert the guards.”
He flung her over the bed and mounted her and with one quick movement ripped away the gauzy fabric of her gown. He tasted blood, aware that he was bruising her lips with his teeth as he brought his mouth down on hers. Her breath came in gasps and she let out a ragged cry as he kneaded her breasts and fought him more, her nails grazing his flesh. He straddled her and grasped her wrists, pinning both her arms down. She cursed and spat at him. Her fury only excited him more. He forced his tongue into her mouth until finally with a muffled cry, she surrendered, returning his kiss with equal fervour, pressing against him in an urgency that only excited him more. He took her as he would take any barracks whore -- rough and savage, thrusting into her, his breath coming hard. A stab of pleasure pierced him and he groaned and collapsed on her trembling as his seed exploded into her.

When he came to his senses he was lying beside her, panting. They lay side by side in a tangle of sheets, bathed in sweat. She neither spoke nor moved. Her flesh felt hot against his though the room had grown cold. He drew the covers up over her naked body. Lying on his back in the dimness, he felt her warm breath against his neck.

It was growing light when he got up, belted on his tunic, and started across the room. At the door he lingered, and glanced back at her as she lay sleeping. He watched the slow rise and fall of her breathing. In repose, her face was serene. She looked as young as a maiden, and just as vulnerable. His battle with her had been an easy one to win. That which lay ahead would be more difficult. ““Farewell, my Little Star,” he whispered, “May the gods grant us a victory.” Then he went out.

"Who lives without folly is not so wise as he thinks."
Francois, Duc de La Rouchefoucauld 1613 - 1680 "Reflections: or, Sentences and Moral Maxims" 1678 (l 209)

"As the ancients
Say wisely, have a care o' th' main chance,
And look before you ere you leap,
For as you sow, ye are like to reap."
Samuel Butler 1612- 1680 "Hudibras" 1663 pt 1, l 501

Monday, March 12, 2007

WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS?

"Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and molars."
Walter Bagehot 1826-1877 "Estimates of Some Englishmen and Scotchemn" 1858 (The First Edinburgh Review)

Every once in a while one needs to sit down and take stock of the progress in whatever it is your goals are and if you are achieving any of them. This not only goes for writing, but in other aspects of life as well. For me I'm not only checking myself to see if I'm wasting time when I should be writing, but also if I'm fooling around and not paying attention to my diet. So far, after nearly a year on the Weight Watchers program I am a serious failure. Sure, I'm trying to tally 'points' and watch what I eat, but not watching carefully enough. And I certainly try to get enough exercise, and for awhile I even got into the routine of doing daily stretches at home, but once I get off track that's it. And here I am again back at Square One, sitting around too much and not getting the cardio and stretching exercise I need to do in order to tone up and lose weight.

So this weekend I gave myself a serious talking-to about my diet/exercise program. I had an appointment with the trainer at the gym yesterday and found out how to use the big machines (still have to go back to set up a new regime of exercises for toning). And in making out my weekly menus I was a lot more careful to try and choose W.W. recipes and low calorie foods so that I won't over-do it. (I am careful not to keep 'forbidden' foods in my fridge or cupboards and have to remind myself to buy appropriate snacks.) I haven't been going out to party with my friends so much but when I do I need to keep it in mind that over-doing it isn't good.

I decided to assess my writing goals as well. Am I staying on track? So far, in the last two months I've done a lot of writing -- completed 7 travel stories and started a new chapter of my novel. But since I got my new scanner last week I've spent far too many hours trying to scan photos the proper resolution for publications. Now I've got that figured out, this week I have to start marketing the new writing and then I still have the Chile stories to write. What I really want to do though, is get back to the novel because I had h oped to get it finished before the middle of May and at the rate I'm going that's highly unlikely. One good thing, my night school classes end this week so that will allow me more time to relax and get more work done. (What's been in my in my favour is the non-stop rainy weather which made it easier for me to stay home -- also to avoid going out to the gym.)

I noticed a Meme on Marie's blog the other day and thought I'd try it just to see if it helps me focus on what I really want to accomplish in the short/long term. (This includes not only my physical fitness regime but my writing aims.) So here goes...

What are your short term AIMS (6 - 8 wks)
Writing: Send out all the new travel articles to paying publishers. Write Chile stories. Finish another chapter of Shadow.
Physical fitness/diet: Count points BEFORE eating. Get to the gym at least twice a week and waterfit twice a week. Start doing stretches and sit-ups at home every day!

Medium term Aims ( 6 - 8 months)
Writing: Finish "Shadow of the Lion" up to final draft ; rework Sappho play; do more travel stories (and market them) (Travel plans include Venice and Greece and I have already planned what I want to write about.)
Physical fitness/diet: Lose at least 10 pounds and keep active (more swimming and cardio)

Long term aims (6 - 8 years)
Writing: Have my novel out to market and rework my other w.i.p. "Dragons in the Sky". Complete it and the Sappho play and start a new novel (one already planned) Keep travelling so I have lots of travel article material to work from.
Physical Fitness: Stay active and keep on target with the diet!

What do you need to do to realize these aims?
Short term:
Writing: Don't waste time with unimportant tasks and procrastinations.
Physical Fitness: plan menus carefully. Don't make excuses for not exercising.

Medium term:
Writing: Revamp my writing class program, get more editing jobs, keep writing every day no matter what.
Physical fitness: Increase exercise reps at gym, walk every day, do more swimming. Be aware of what I'm eating and try to keep it healthy.

Long term:
Writing: No matter what, don't give up til you get your book published. Try to get more travel articles published and aim for more of those FAM trips. (I deserve it!)
Physical Fitness: Keep my weight down to a comfortable size and stay healthy and active.

WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS?

"The road to resolution lies by doubt:
The next way home's the farthest way about."
Francis Quarles 1592- 1644 "Epigrams"

"The longest way round is the shortest way home." Proverb.

YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU REALLY TRY!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

ARE YOU ADDICTED TO THE INTERNET?

ADDICTION (n 1599) 1. the quality or state of being addicted (tor reading) 2. compulsive psychological need for a habit-forming drug (as heroin)
JUNKIE (1940) "One that derives inordinate pleaasure from or that is dependant on something."

I was reading some articles and saw some discussions on TV recently about people who are addicted to the internet, in particular, addicted to their email and text-message contacts.
The other morning I had to unplug my old printer to make ready for installing my new one. Because of my cramped work space I had to guess which plugs to unplug from the power bar so I had to try all 3 before I got the right one for the printer. But afterwards, when I turned on my PC, it wouldn't boot up to open and kept on beeping like an alarm clock. I checked and rechecked all the plugs and still it wouldn't work.

I went off to have breakfast with my friend but was in a bit of a stew all morning wondering what was wrong with my hard-drive. Why couldn't I open my computer? I was having withdrawals like a junkie who can't find drugs!!

On my way up the Drive I stopped in to the computer shop and asked what to do. He said it was likely a loose plug for the video connection. ( Are computer techies like pushers?) Afterwards I stopped in at the library to kill a few minute before my gym appointment. I found myself loitering around the computers wondering if I could get a space to check my emails. But all the computers were occupied. I began to feel anxious, desperate for my fix.

I went for my gym appointment but someone had erased my name from the book and put someone else's so I couldn't get to meet with the trainer. So I walked up the Drive on my way home. Came to a web cafe. And absolutely couldn't resist going in to use one of their computers. What a waste of $1. as there weren't any emails for me. And how crazy was that? Couldn't I go a day without my internet connection. Am I addicted?

I know that I can't be far away from home (as when I'm travelling) without immediately wanting to locate the local web cafes. I'm good at it too and I have to admit they are a bit of a life-saver when you're traveling -- that connection with home, a chance to post blogs about all your daily adventures or just to email friends. But what about all those years they didn't have web cafes? (It's only been the last few years that Greece, for instance, got caught up with the cyber world. Before that I can recall spending long hours waiting at the phone company to make calls home. Now everyone there has a cell glued to their ear. I even noticed that in Chile. (No, I am not addicted to text-messaging as I don't have a mobile phone. Thank god for that. One addiction is hard enough to deal with! )

I notice in the paper the other day that China refuses to open any more new cybercafes. This is an attempt for the communist government to restrict the rising influence of the Internet. They are also cracking down on gambling and on-line games. There are currently about 113,000 Internet bars in China. Analysts expect the number of Chinese web surfers could overtake taht of the U.S. which now stands at around 210 million. The curbs on new cyber-cafes was part of the government's campaign to combat the rising problem of Internet addiction.

When I got home that day I took out all the handbooks, fiddled around, and eventually found the problem. The keyboard connection was loose. Duh! I was all upset by now because what if my hard-drive was broken? What if I couldn't use my computer? What if...???? But I switched it on and the darling thing perked up immediately and co-operated. So in no time I was back on line. Phew! I had my 'fix' for the morning. I could enjoy the rest of the day.

I wrote this little essay first on my rememory.com journal and this is the reply I got from one of the readers:
I'm coming to Van to start 6mo mandatory (locked doors) seminar on authors getting back to their roots.: Plenty of pens and notebooks...PERIOD....no phones, typewriters, computers, palm pilots ......maybe alphabet soup after few months., its the only way to save yourselves.Attendance is free and MANDATORY

I like the idea of the alphabet soup. Any other ideas for rehabilitating computer junkies?

"How use doth breed a habit in a man..."
William Shakespeare 1564- 1616 "The Two Gentlemen of Verona"

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR FIX TODAY?