Thursday, October 11, 2007

another Paulo Coehlo

Melbourne, Australia

I step out on to the stage with the usual apprehension. A local writer, introduces me and starts asking me questions. Before I can conclude my reasoning, he interrupts me and asks another question. When I answer, he says something like “that answer wasn’t very clear.” Five minutes later, I feel a certain restlessness in the audience. I remember Confucius, and do the only thing possible:

“Do you like what I write?” I ask.

“That doesn’t matter,” he answers. “I’m doing the interviewing, not you.”

“But it does matter. You don’t let me finish a sentence. Confucius said: ‘whenever possible, be clear.’ Let’s follow that advice and make things quite clear: do you like what I write?”

“No, I don’t. I have read only two books, and I hated them.”

“OK, so now we can continue.”

The camps were now defined. The audience relaxes, the environment fills with electricity, the interview turns into a true debate, and everyone – including the writer – is satisfied with the result.

Just for today
I will be agreeable.
I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly,
keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit.
I won't find fault with anything,
nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.

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