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The Diary
Anne Ku

7 November 2000 Tuesday

dry, cold

From my father 7 Nov:
If you have read noted writers such as Beerbolm, Thurber (also cartoonist), Chesterton, white, whose short essays or literary ramblings are delightful, witty and even provocative on human beings and the world around them, you will know what you write in diary form is actually the very sort of so-called "fang kuai wen zhang" (or square article) in daily Chinese-language newspapers in all Chinese societies--Taiwan, Mainland China, Hongkong, Macao, Singapore. Readers love to read short essays, some of which can last long if their theme or subject matter is of everlasting significance.


The storms took a break today. So did I. After being cooped up inside for three days and getting a frightful stir crazy, I chanced upon the outdoors.

The Chinese word for taking a walk is SAN BU - which translates to "spreading out the steps." I learned that the Germans also have a word for it - spaziergehen - something my German friend taught me years ago in the cold North.

It's only early November, but it feels like the middle of winter, if not for the autumn leaves that covered the mud and puddles. Few people are about during the day - mothers and their little children mainly. The parks in England are beautiful, even in winter. I took some deep breaths and wondered how I could face the shorter days ahead.

At four thirty, the sun went down. I must get back before it gets dark, I thought. The walk did me good. I must remember to do go out every once in awhile, even if it's cold.

In the four books I translated into Chinese, many are such short essays (Chinese: hsiao pin wen or little article) and more are only a few best paragraphs of them. Your diary has been improving greatly. If you publish it yourself, you face the difficulties: money to print and proofread, marketing, etc. I don't know much about how to find a publisher willing to publish it for you and pay you royalties each year. In Taiwan the publishers who published my books are all retired, their bookstores closed. The one who published Frances' two books may have the interest to publish a book with your diary as content, though it is imperative to seriously select only those parts of diary that are delightful, witty, creative, bold but never immoral or amoral, exotic, interesting. Some that concern Londoners only have to be left out unless you publish it in England only. to tell you the truth, I love translating, particularly translating your diary.