Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 693
This I believe
10th December 2008




My father once said something to me that I have attempted to live my whole life: "When you do something for someone, forget it immediately; when someone does something nice for you, never forget it."

This, when it touches Mark Twain's "white washing fences" syndrome can combine to make people power a very important force. People often forget that people doing things together for a common goal generates energy.

My bookshop in Edinburgh was a product of many individuals combining their skills and energies; the same with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. This formula continued in London in the sixties. Then in Amsterdam. And in Paris. Thirty years ago, a houseguest volunteered to cook a feast for me and my friends. This evolved into a Sunday Salon that continues to this day. Every week a different friend prepares a meal. People, including total strangers, call or email to book. And more or less 60 people from all corners of the world come to break bread together, meet, talk and whatever else comes out of people meeting one another. All ages, nationalities, races, professions, etc spend three hours in my atelier. I introduce them all to each other. I enjoy the random factor. This creates a fission, an excitement. I like introducing people to people. If I had my way, I would introduce the whole world to each other.

In the late 80s, I edited a series of "guide books" to nine Eastern European countries and Russia. The books contain approximately 1000 short biographies of people who would be willing to meet travelers in their cities. Out of this developed many friendships, marriages, and babies. The same can be said for the Sunday salon. It is totally democratic.

I try never to say the word "no". "Yes" means that one is open to people, adventure and new ideas. I really love people. They are the most important thing in my life. Most people travel to see things (the Tower of London, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, etc.); I travel to see friends, known and unknown to me. Dialogue over a meal can settle most conflicts. In a strange kind of way, everyone is right. Let us move beyond self-righteous to a position of "live and let live".

Like Tom Paine, I am a World Citizen. All human history is mine. My roots cover the earth. Now, more then ever, our lives are all connected. Nature demands we must learn to live with each other in mutual acceptance and respect.

OK, come and dine!






Jim Haynes
December 2008

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France




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