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What It Means To Live in Berkeley Parade.
December 8th, 1999

Sredni Vashtar
I hear the soft whisper of self suggesting I spend my time getting ready for the trip to Seattle tomorrow rather than writing something exciting about what didn't happen at work today, what didn't happen on the walk back home (although I got the heart pumping pretty good without getting winded walking up the hill) and what won't happen this evening as I'm puttering around the apartment. I said I wasn't going to update this journal as often as I have in the past, so why not get on with not doing it? Hard to tell. Certainly I'll miss tomorrow and Friday, although I will probably write them on the train and post them from the laptop sometime on Saturday.

I received an email some time back with a reference in it to Sredni Vashtar. Sredni Vashtar. Who in Saki (H. H. Munro) the hell is Sredni Vashtar? I did a search and found a copy of Saki's (H. H. Munro's) short story on the web. I remembered reading it long ago and, in fact, found others in a short story collection I have in my library. The images were still as precise and fresh as I once remembered them without, at the time, having a sense of Saki: who he was, when he lived, how he died, so I ordered a copy of Saki's collected works which arrived today. Something to read on the train. Nice short sharp little pieces that even I with my current lack of attention span can read in a few minutes. Saki, born in 1870, dead of a sniper's bullet in 1916. The two stories I read after receiving that email had an odd combination of flippant humor and curious dread, a cool intelligence watching at a distance. Be curious to see how my judgement changes after I've read his entire body of work. Sredni Vastar. Who in the hell is Sredni Vashtar?

A note on the photograph: I received an email in June, 2007 from the owner of a self portrait by the painter Adrian Allinson and the photograph taken from the Penguin paperback is Allinson and not Munro (Saki). This has been confirmed by descendants of Allinson now living in California. My mistake. Interesting that Penguin didn't mention this, although if I had been asked to choose a stylized image that made me think “Saki”, I might have chosen this one.

The banner photograph was taken at the What It Means To Live in Berkeley Parade. The photograph of Saki (H. H. Munro) was taken from the cover of the Penguin paperback Saki - The Complete Saki.