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August 14, 2016


Sounds like a truly wonderful evening for all of you!

Curiously, just a few days ago, quite by accident I came across Teju's name in The Guardian : Teju Cole talks to Taiye Selasi: ‘Afropolitan, American, African. Whatever’

Great! I follow Cole closely and will read the book. Want to hear more about all this!

So much wish I'd been there, Beth. Congratulations!

For "boring" perhaps "non-exotic"? Or were you and and the other whites chosen for your ability to bore? I tease, of course. But it's almost an invitation for me to say, "Oh no, you're never boring." which, of course, I'm delighted to do. Especially when you arrange to be lit so persuasively by that electric tree and with that knowing look.

Teju's collection has been well reviewed here in the UK and suddenly I'm dissatisfied with being the age I am; to attend a happening in Brooklyn, ah, would that I could. But, alas, age is a bore and tends to be an excuse for being boring. At least, twenty years ago I recognised this might happen and I chose to mew myself up in rural Herefordshire in preparation for what was inevitable. Never mind, via The Cassandra Pages and other remote sources, I live vicariously. Thanks for the despatches from the front-line of activity.

Robbie, I don't feel on the front lines of the art or literature world and probably never was, even before leaving the U.S. for Montreal, but it's nice to occasionally enter that world and to be in close touch with people who live and breathe it every day. I'm not sure it would have made me happier; my kind of creativity requires quiet, solitude, and contact with nature rarely afforded by a metropolis as large or busy as New York, but on the other hand, I miss the inspiration, stimulation and - yes - competitiveness of that place. There's no doubt in my mind that both J. and I would have accomplished more as artists and writers if we had made different choices, but I doubt we would have been happier or had as good a marriage.
For music, though, the move to Montreal has allowed me to be right in the thick of it, in a way I doubt would be possible in a different city.

The internet has changed things for me too, erasing distance and isolation from colleagues and friends to a certain extent, and providing continual inspiration as well as distraction - I have to work to keep those two in balance! But there's no substitute for face-to-face friendships, concerts, visits to museums and exhibitions from time to time, so I'm glad I can do that and hope it will continue for a long while into the future. I agree that age and aging are a bore; so far I try to ignore them but it's not going to be possible forever!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.