Writing 38


I am sorry that writing a book (at least the way I do it) requires periods when all else is blotted out and you only come out of that immersion as though for a gasp of air. I am still mostly researching Alexander Burnes, though I have just started jotting down the odd phrase and papragraph that will probably feature in the final version. I can’t get the phraseology on this right:

The clash of Burnes and Vitkevich, pushing the respective British and Russian interests in Kabul, is the moment which, more than many other, encapsulates the entire romance and intrigue of the Great Game. Within four years, the events now unfolding would result in the violent deaths of both of them.

Should that last phrase rather be “in the violent death of each of them?”.

I am sorry this preoccupation has precluded me blogging about the appalling marketisation of univerisites, with students seen as consumers and education as a commodity, rather than a university being an academic community in pursuit of knowledge.

The physical sabotage of the propellor shaft of the Swedish Gaza peace flotilla ship is only the start. I would strongly advise all the convoy ships in harbour to run their props in very short bursts at random but not infrequent intervals. That might deter other Israeli Buster Crabbes.


38 thoughts on “Writing

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  • JimmyGiro

    “That might deter other Israeli Buster Crabbes.”
    .
    They should rap bacon around the props.
    .
    As for your book writing, my advice is to remind yourself that it isn’t going to be published for some time; therefore there is plenty of opportunity to go back to those ‘sticky’ points later, without interrupting the flow of the present.
    .
    Use coloured fonts for those parts that are only temporary ‘phrase holders’.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    ‘both of them’ sounds better, I think, at least to a contemporary reader. It’s also more effective and final – ‘both’ of them died’, while ‘each’ sounds a bit less powerful, as though they’d lost a shoe or something: ‘they each lost a shoe in the Great Game’. But ‘They both died in the Great game’. Whatever the correct technical syntax, in my view, ‘both’ is better.

  • Michael Andersen

    Hi Craig, instead of your two versions, I would write “would result in the violent death of both men”.

  • Alaric

    I would imagine this is an option, my chosen one… I have very similar problems whilst writing.

    “would result in the violent death of them both.”

  • KingofWelshNoir

    I think the ‘violent deaths of both of them’ is fine. But the opening sentence ‘The clash of Burnes and Vitkevich…is the moment which…’ sounds clumsy because a clash can’t be described as a moment. Instead of ‘moment’ choose incident or episode perhaps?

  • tony_opmoc

    Is the real reason why Johann Hari is being so viciously attacked in a frenzy of journalistic cannibalism because he has, or has shown signs that he is about to “come out”

    I write this in the knowledge of reading a great deal of Johann Hari in the last 6 months of last year.

    I personally rated him at No 1 in the League of The Journalists who have not yet come out – which is Nearly All Of Them.

    He’s not been reading and copying and pasting Paul Craig Roberts into his brain has he?

    Surely not.

    My Telegraph comment was rather strong so I won’t post it here. Amazingly enough they haven’t even edited it yet after 2 hours.

    They must be asleep on the job or down the pub.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8605603/Johann-Hari-faces-more-plagiarism-claims.html

    Tony

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, I thought that you could just use ‘both’, though ‘of them’ can add emphasis, not seem such a sudden cut-off, a more symmetrical sentence as one reads it and be more conversational. Best not to worry too much at this stage about such relatively small matters, successive self-edits, etc. and later, the copy editor, will look at that type of thing – but in general ‘cut it down’ is a good principle in such narratives.

  • Anonymous literary type

    “The clash of Burnes and Vitkevich, pushing the respective British and Russian interests in Kabul, is the moment which, more than many other, encapsulates the entire romance and intrigue of the Great Game. Within four years, the events now unfolding would result in the violent deaths of both of them.”

    I would submit that it’s actually the first part of that extract which is carrying too much fat. I prefer:

    “The clash of Burnes and Vitkevich in Kabul encapsulates the entire romance and intrigue of the Great Game. Within four years, the events now unfolding would result in the violent deaths of both of them.”

    I can’t really comment on the second sentence without reading it in situ, but it certainly isn’t as flabby as the first. Might be perfectly fine.

    Sounds like a cracking subject though, and a good choice for you. Have you got a publisher yet?

  • Ed Davies

    Funny, it was the first sentence I found awkward: “The clash of Burnes and Vitkevich, …, is the moment which, …”. A clash isn’t a moment, even if it happens in or at a moment.

    Canspeccy: “Three words less” -> “Three words fewer”. Sorry, once I start looking at the words too closely I can’t stop, and you were quoting Strunk and White.

  • tony_opmoc

    Suhayl,

    Of course, but I am very naive. I honestly didn’t know Freddy Mercury was gay until after he was dead.

    Sure I know the boy is gay – he’s been writing about it since he wrote about how all the Iraqi’s were just dying to be bombed…

    But he apologised for that too..

    It was not sexuality I was talking about. I do not have a problem with gay people.

    I was talking about TRUTH

    Amazingly enough you can get pretty close to it if you are taught science and maths to a high level and spend most of your life as an Analyst

    Your job is to anayse every possible variable you observe and think might occur in order to keep the company you are working for alive and functional and still providing essential services in a disaster.

    Its just basically Disaster Planning and having Multiple Different Independent, Geographically Dispersed, Tested, Working, in Production, Deployed, Tested Again and Backed Up such that it is just normal.

    Most people don’t think so hard.

    Tony

  • dreoilin

    Me being off-topic as usual …
    .
    In the Independent on June 24, Patrick Cockburn reported a vital development countering official propaganda on Libya:
    .
    ‘Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato’s war in Libya.
    .
    ‘Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.’
    .
    Amnesty and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have checked the claims and found flat zero evidence.
    .
    From Medialens here:
    http://medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=635:rape-mercenaries-and-bloodbaths-on-the-scale-of-yemen-media-blank-amnestys-failure-to-find-evidence-in-libya

    • mary

      Yes Dreoilin I noticed that too. Good links. One today about Albright of ‘The price is worth it’ notoriety. She is an abominable example of the female of the human species. Gabriele Zamparini is back posting on medialens. He used to have a marvellous blog called The Cat’s Dream, in exiatence during the horrors of the Iraq war.
      .
      Madeleine the-price-is-worth-it Albright is back, hungry for more
      Posted by gabriele on June 30, 2011, 9:35 am
      .
      Assad deserves a swift trip to The Hague
      .
      By Madeleine Albright and Marwan Muasher
      .
      It is time for the international community to take a stand against Syria’s use of violence against its citizens. On Monday the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for Muammer Gaddafi and two of his closest lieutenants for alleged crimes against humanity. The United Nations Security Council should now direct the ICC to investigate whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is guilty of crimes against humanity. The charge: using lethal violence to repress peaceful demonstrations in support of democratic rule. The Arab League should also assume the same principled position on Syria that it took on Libya.
      .
      Link: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e591a260-a1bb-11e0-b9f9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1QecLH5mI

      Re: Madeleine the-price-is-worth-it Albright is back, hungry for more
      Posted by Gerald on June 30, 2011, 9:56 am, in reply.
      .
      Seems like a case of projection. Accusing others of something you have done yourself. I am wondering how many deaths she is responsible for during the embargo of Iraq? At least 500,000 excess deaths?
      .
      {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_sanctions#Estimates_of_deaths_during_sanctions}

  • tony_opmoc

    dreoilin,

    Give us a Kiss.

    I have written about Libya in detail all over the net. I was aware of what happenned right from the start and initially believed the official propaganda like most of the “Liberal Left”. It took me a few days to realise that my initial view was completely wrong largely as a result of what people from and in Libya actually wrote and said + lots of reading the actual history and views of experts far more qualified than me. They were mainly Academics and not political

    I actually got a response from Susan Lindauer within a couple of hours on the US Veteran’s Today Website

    I was basically saying well if this is true – what you are saying – as reported from American women on the Ground in Libya – The Witness Evidence Needs To Be Recorded in Detail – because The World is Changing and if what you are saying is true – in The Future – This Evidence May Be Crucial

    At The Truly Objective Independent War Crimes trial

    I have not seen the evidence, because I have been told it is too horrific to view – and may not have come from Libya.

    I can’t take such horror. I am not a strong enough person.

    I would be horrified if I thought my lovely wife knew anything about what is really going on in this world.

    But I remain an optimist

    Tony

  • tony_opmoc

    Yes Mark,

    I Don’t Know What To Say

    Gilad Atzmon Puts some strong stuff out

    But I am Speechless

    I Don’t Know What To Say

    You are a Good Guy

    Thank You For Having The Courage To Devote Your Life To This

    Tony

  • jon

    Thanks Mark for that link – eye-opening stuff. I am glad no-one appears to have been hurt. As I’ve long maintained, the persistent and open racism in Israeli society now has reached atrocious levels, and I’d wager most of the Western world don’t know how awful it is.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yep, both Asad and Albright (oh, and Netanyahu, Livni and the Kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia et al, Blair, Bush, etc.) all deserve “swift trips to the Hague”. They could all share a (padded) cell. Lock ’em up forever and throw away the key. Ha-ha, hee-hee! I’d love to be fly on the wall… a buzzin’ fly… now there would be a ‘Big Brother’ series that would indeed be ‘worth it’!

  • mary

    Special announcement from the Gove/Henry Jackson Society news agency on BBC website –
    Cabinet Office: ‘Early signs suggest less than half PCS Union’s members are striking’ !!
    .
    He’s having a laugh because the BBC go on to say that the majority of schools are closed and that 90% of the police staff who answer calls are out.

  • dreoilin

    This just in from the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
    .
    “Terrible news has reached us in the early hours of Thursday — the Irish Ship To Gaza, MV Saoirse, has been SABOTAGED, presumably by agents of Israel. The damage is extensive, and indeed, if it had gone undetected apparently may have been life-threatening if the ship had been at sea.”
    .
    They’re organising a demonstration in Dublin 6pm this evening, from O’Connell Street to the Israeli Embassy, and are planning to stay overnight – shut the embassy down if possible via a sit in outside.
    http://irishshiptogaza.org/
    .
    I’ll be back later to say Hi, and reply to Mary and Tony and all. In a bit of a rush. I’m furious about the ships! Just as well I’m not the violent type, because this makes me feel murderous … See you shortly.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Is this not international terrorism – an potentially life-threatening act of sabotage likely to have been committed by the State of Israel in a foreign country? Oh, I forgot. Israel can do anything it wants, anywhere it wants, to whomever it wants and all that will happen is that the USA will increase its billions of dollars of annual subsidy. I agree with Kenneth Clark wrt burglars – and so, if an Israeli intruder appears around any of the ships, it would be reasonable to take necessary action to protect the ship – as a first step, drop a tonne of sewage on them.

  • Andrew

    As a matter of information/sabotage in Piraeus… There is an important “Sayanim” network in Greece, especially in the Saronikos Gulf area.

  • dreoilin

    Mary,
    You’ve been posting some great links … I’ve been reading but not commenting. I’m supposed to be taking time out from the net, for the sake of my spirit/soul/heart. But I’m not very good at it. Too much happening and I want to keep up. Yes, projection, double standards, how do these people live with themselves?
    .
    Tony,
    I was like you. I thought they might be planning to do some good for a change, with their rush to “save civilian lives”. But I changed my mind pretty quickly. Gaddafi may be no angel, but this latest NATO shindig is surely a case of cynical opportunism. Sick-making.
    .
    I was reading about the Great Man-Made River project (Gaddafi’s) here
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4814988.stm
    and then how education and health care in Libya are both free. I don’t know how accurate the latter is, but it’s been mentioned a lot.
    .
    Suhayl
    (I keep writing ‘Suyahl’ first by accident, I wonder what reflex that is …) Sewage, or maybe a tonne of fire ants.
    .
    Libya is also supposed to be holding large gold reserves.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12824137
    .
    “Invasion of Libya was About Gaddafi’s Plan to Introduce Gold Dinar”
    http://www.goldstockbull.com/articles/libya-invasion-gaddafi-plan-gold-dinar/

  • dreoilin

    Mary,
    You’ve been posting some great links … I’ve been reading but not commenting. I’m supposed to be taking time out from the net, for the sake of my spirit/soul/heart. But I’m not very good at it. Too much happening and I want to keep up. Yes, projection, double standards, how do these people live with themselves?
    .
    Tony,
    I was like you. I thought they might be planning to do some good for a change, with their rush to “save civilian lives”. But I changed my mind pretty quickly. Gaddafi may be no angel, but this latest NATO shindig is surely a case of cynical opportunism. Sick-making.
    .
    I was reading about the Great Man-Made River project (Gaddafi’s) here
    news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4814988.stm
    and then how education and health care in Libya are both free. I don’t know how accurate the latter is, but it’s been mentioned a lot.
    .
    Suhayl
    (I keep writing ‘Suyahl’ first by accident, I wonder what reflex that is …) Sewage, or maybe a tonne of fire ants.
    .
    Libya is also supposed to be holding large gold reserves.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12824137
    .
    “Invasion of Libya was About Gaddafi’s Plan to Introduce Gold Dinar”
    http://www.goldstockbull.com/articles/libya-invasion-gaddafi-plan-gold-dinar/

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Dreoilin, don’t worry, I sometimes do the same! I think it’s to do with the way the keyboard’s laid-out, it is not contiguous with the spatial processing units of our brains (I almost typed, ‘our brians’, but that would be somewhat Monty P or perhaps ‘The Goodies’). Same thing with ‘from’ and ‘form’. Re. the Israeli fish-terrorists, fire ants sound good to me! Or perhaps, a great white shark…

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