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******** By Ara Baliozian BODY LANGUAGE Ideas too have a body language - the vocabulary they employ, the choice of clichés or their avoidance, their tempo and tonality... in short: to a skilled reader an idea can be as transparent as the confession of a guilty butler in an English mystery. * MEAN WOMEN A mean woman can teach a man more about his vulnerabilities and limitations than a thousand yataghan-wielding Turks. If you survive such a specimen you can survive anything! * PROBLEMS A problem is like an illness. The first step is to diagnose it correctly. But if you pretend it doesn't exist, you guarantee its deterioration from a minor nuisance to a terminal disease. * SOCRATES When asked where he came from, Socrates is said to have replied: "Not from Athens but from the world." And yet, when he was condemned to death by the Athenians and given an opportunity to escape, he said he'd rather die in Athens than live anywhere else. * ON LIMITATIONS We all go through a period in our lives when the sky is the limit. But sooner or later the painful realization sinks in: we can't even reach the ceiling of our solitary confinement. * CRITICS It makes no difference whether you are a failure or a success, the number of critics will remain constant. What may change is their caliber. As a failure you will be trashed by trash. As a success you will be trashed by a better class of trash. * SAROYAN AND MAILER In one of his books Saroyan mentions Norman Mailer ("Norman who?") only to dismiss him as an upstart. In his latest book, THE SPOOKY ART: SOME THOUGHTS ON WRITING (2003) Mailer discusses many minor and major American writers but doesn't even mention Saroyan. But in an isolated paragraph and in reference to no one in particular, he writes: "It's the guys who pen wonderfully sweet books, who are the real monsters. You know - they kick the wife, cuff the kids, and have the dog shrinking in horror. Then their books come out: `X once again delights the reader with his sense of joy.'" -- Ara Baliozian was born in Athens, Greece and received his education in Venice, Italy. He lives in Ontario, Canada and writes in Armenian and English and has published over 20 books of his works. He has translated works from Armenian writers, such as Grigor Zohrab, Zabel Yessayan, and Kostan Zarian into English.