Thursday, January 8, 2009


Now that Orthodox Christmas is over, and Muharram (which this year started December 28) is done, we're really into January.  The coming full moon is a bright spot, but the chill here in Toronto is a reminder of how long it is until spring.  

Lots to get done before I leave for Thailand on the 15th.  

Had a long conversation with our editor Ann Bramson yesterday about our Burma proposal.  It's a scary world out there in bookland, with the failing economy and everyone running for cover.  Somewhere deep in their souls the book world people fear that customers will stop buying books.  I think it's understandable given the "the sky is falling"  language in the media and the very real meltdown in world markets, but come on people!!!  Eventually, we figure, there will be recovery, and so meantime books and other projects need to get started so that we all have work and something to look forward to too.  

We'll keep you posted on the proposal.  Ann would like us to widen our field of view to include the surrounding area, kind of Burma as the missing link.  We're happy to think about that - after all country borders are such imprecise delineators of cultural boundaries.  And western Yunnan, the Thai border areas, northeastern India, and Bangladesh, are all places we're pleased to explore further.

Meantime none of this economic panic bodes well in the short term for our contract.  But we plan to press on with the Burma project.  It's a great idea and needs to be done, and we are hungry to be out there poking around.

Now to another place:  I can't even talk about Gaza.  It's so sickening, shutting human beings in behind a fence and a wall, then shooting these trapped human beings who have no choice about being there, families who are just trying to live and survive and come through for each other. We are watching war crimes, hideous war crimes.   Nothing excuses them.  Not saying there aren't bad moves and destructive behaviours on the other side, but NOTHING EXCUSES THIS. 

And where is the clear unambiguous leadership from Obama and other leaders condemning this horror?


naomi said...

This came in from Miles;
trying to solve my comments problem, I'm posting it manually.

Can't tell you how delighted I am to find that you are doing this. Your books have been a major influence and by far the best food and travel writing I have ever seen published. This will keep me going until the next one!
Best wishes to you and your family for 2009.
Kind regards

Anonymous said...

A publisher would have to be a fool to worry about publishing your incredible books. They are the only must have cookbooks I own. Stunnigly beautiful and wonderfully fascinating.

I agree with you about Gaza. Horrible.

Sharon in Wpg

Anonymous said...

I've long enjoyed your books - congratulations on your new projects.

With regards to Gaza - perhaps had Hamas decided not to hide its rockets launchers and bomb making infrastructure within residential buildings, hospitals, schools and mosques many of the civilian casualties would have been avoided.

So indeed you are correct that war crimes are being committed - by the Palestinians on their own people.